Weekly Slides

Week 3 - Open-mindedness - 2018-19

By Jeff Bryan

Understanding the simple fact that morality differs around the world, and even within societies, is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind.

-Jonathan Haidt

For an in-depth overview of each weekly slide presentation, please skip below to your specific grade level.
  • To see the 1-page Open-mindedness Character Card and share it with your students’ families, click here.
  • For the P2 Reflection Journals, used by all elementary students at the end of the week, click here.

Starting Monday, Partner Schools nationwide will begin learning about open-mindedness. This is the willingness to actively search for evidence that goes against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals. Open-minded individuals are able to weigh all evidence fairly when it is available. They see the other side and fight the tendency to have a bias for their own views.

This week’s character strength example is Jonathan Haidt (pronounced “Height”). He is a Professor of Ethical Leadership at NYU’s Stern Business School, author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, and co-founder of the Heterodox Academy. Haidt actively works to understand why people have different moral foundations on which they base their lives — and is actively working to promote viewpoint diversity around the country.

As Haidt explains in the below video, we all use motivated reasoning and have confirmation bias. Therefore, as individuals, it’s difficult to uncover the truth of an issue. Haidt sums it up by stating that without challenging your assumptions, “you have no idea if it’s true. You’re gonna believe it if you like it and your friends will validate that view, but you’re probably wrong about a lot of the things you believe most fervently. And the only cure for that is viewpoint diversity.”

We believe his work is important in a nation that is increasingly polarized — which, as this recent Atlantic article illustrates, is a threat to our democracy.

So, why is open-mindedness important? Individuals with the character strength of open-mindedness are more likely to make accurate decisions – and decisions that they won’t regret. This is because they think through all sides of a problem and actively fight “myside bias,” which happens when people generate evidence, evaluate evidence, and test hypotheses in a manner biased toward their own prior opinions and attitudes.

Open-minded individuals are often good listeners and called upon to provide a balanced viewpoint. Both listening and the ability to deliver reasonable and practical advice are marks of good friends and confidantes.

This strength helps individuals form meaningful and lasting relationships. On a group level, open-mindedness is crucial in counteracting groupthink. Individuals with this strength help their group identify the correct goals, evidence, possible alternatives, and final decisions to a given problem.


And, as a reminder, you can find all of our weekly slide presentations on our website’s Resources page here. This page is the place that we recommend you go to access all of the resources — not via Google Drive folders.

To find your grade level’s presentation, you can simply type the word “teamwork” into the Resource Title search bar or sort by Character Strength and select Teamwork. Each of those options will provide you with 10 slide presentations and one 1-page character card. For a simple overview of the Resources page, with pictures and videos, click here.

Jeff Bryan
CEO and Co-Founder of The Positivity Project

Jeff Bryan is the CEO and Co-Founder of The Positivity Project. In this role, he leads the organization to support educators to empower their students to build positive relationships and become their best selves.