Mapping Your Frame of Reference

Your Frame of Reference is from your schema, your experiences, your growing up, your family and friends, your neighborhood and so forth. This makes up who you are and how you see things.

Also see the pages on:

Depth and Complexity
Thinking Maps®

It is important for students to have belief and belonging which includes their personal frames of reference being important and part of the classroom. It is important for educators to have belief in the students through hearing and knowing their student’s frame of reference, and how their personal frames of reference as educators impact the classroom experience for their students.

The following is an excellent way to begin a school year, and continue with throughout the school year. Prior to doing the frame of reference, a community building exercise that shares students backgrounds is an excellent manner to learn about one another. One suggestion is Commonalities:

Participants face the inside of the circle on their individual spots. One person (start with the lead facilitator modeling several times, then each person will do it once) will state something true about themselves. An example might be “I have taken guitar lessons.” Then everyone who has this “In Common” with the person who stated “I have…” will leave their spots and trade with someone else. This is followed by another person sharing something true about themselves. Then everyone who has this “In Common” with the person who stated “I have…” will leave their spots and trade with someone else.
More on Building Community Together

Yvette Jackson: Personal Frame of Reference.
Yvette Jackson: Personal Frame of Reference and schema.
Frame of Reference: Emotions and Personal Experiences

Two Ways to Begin
1. Begin by taking a piece of paper and tearing a hole in the middle to represent yourself. In the paper you will be writing and drawing significant experiences in your life that make you who you are. The whole in the middle provides a manner for the person / student to see that they are the face in the middle of their frame of reference. This is both symbolically, and later can connect with visual mapping (frame of reference), schema, and depth and complexity.

2. Begin by having the students draw an image of themselves along with their name. To assist you could ask students to identify several key features of themselves (e.g. curly hair, long nose, oval face). This can be done initially separate from doing the frame (for practice) and those can be put on the classroom walls as well. Then on a piece of paper, each student draws an image of themselves in the middle of the paper. 

The frame of reference is a lesson and experience in itself, and it also connects with visual tools and having a frame of reference around the different maps and their respective cognitive processes (e.g. brainstorming, classification, cause/effect, compare/contrast, relationships and so forth). The steps for the frame of reference lesson:

The teacher models creating a paper like the one above modeling how to tear the paper (teacher, then teacher with a student together modeling ‘think-pair-share’. Then two students followed by the whole class.

Experiences – Schema, Places, Events, People You Know, People Who Inspire, Books, Music, Movies, Travel, Values, Dispositions
Other Factors and Experiences That Affect Our  Cultural Frame  of Reference



Cultural Frame of Reference

The photo to the right is from Tigray, Ethiopia in 2015 with a wall of participants frame of references at the Mekelle University Medical College.
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