Why are the videos wordless?
When asked why we create videos Beyond Words, students put it best:
- This is the first time in my life I feel like I'm not being told what to think.
- Everyone's always telling me what to believe and how things work. I feel like now I get to think for myself.
- I'm always wondering about stuff. This is so cool because I get to do it while learning about the world.
Instead of telling viewers what to think, we want to ask you to think critically -- to wonder!
Instead of accidentally prescribing a fixed narrative, we want to intentionally prescribe deep curiosity.
When we sit down at a meeting or walk into class, there is no voiceover telling us who other people are, what they're thinking, or what they're feeling. We have to wonder. We have to engage.
Yet too often we settle with a judgment — about self, other people, cultures, and ways of life — instead of remaining curious beyond that initial judgment. This judgment and prejudice starts by age 3, before most kids can even read.
Wordless videos can help kids value and act on their curiosity about other people, perspectives, and ways of life early in life and every day. And that's showing to matter for academic learning, too.
Wordless stories have been shown to boost curiosity and engagement, to improve reading comprehension and academic learning, and to help students explore topics that matter to them. These benefits are showing to be interconnected: fostering curiosity and a sense of purpose is fundamental for a student’s academic success, and early math and reading success is a strong predictor of long term success. New research is also showing that curiosity building can play a huge role in a student's overall academic learning.
We live in stories. We learn through stories. We wonder through stories. Telling us how to think or what to think or why just isn't exciting. Empathy doesn't stick if you tell somebody to be empathetic. It's pretty ineffective to say "be kinder to others" or "wonder about others!!!" like an instruction. Showing is key.
Plus, in a world of ads and messages screaming at us, taking out the words is just kinda refreshing.
Check out a story to see for yourself!