Originally developed as an online learning tool, but now available in study book format, the Through Other Eyes (TOE) educational resource was developed by prof. Vanessa Andreotti and prof. Lynn Mario TM de Souza in a joint project of Global Education Derby, the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice at the University of Nottingham and the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Based on postcolonial and poststructuralist theories, TOE focuses on indigenous knowledge systems as epistemologies (or ways of knowing) that offer different ontological choices (ways of being in the world) to those of the so-called ‘Western’ mainstream cultures. TOE offers four learning units comparing indigenous and mainstream perspectives on education, development, poverty and equality.

By engaging with the resource, the participants “develop an understanding of how language and systems of belief, values and representation affect the way people interpret the world, and identify how different groups understand issues related to development and their implications for the development agenda.” TOE adopts a 4-step the methodology of learning to unlearn (deconstructing mainstream narratives); learning to listen (to ‘different logics’, taking in diverse perspectives and indigenous voices); learning to learn (through the examination of case studies examining the complexity of presented issues) and learning to reach out (drawing on self-reflection to note any shifts in thinking and the implications this may have for the learners in their contexts).

This resource has been originally developed for teacher students, but has since found a much broader use in secondary, undergraduate and non-formal education, both in the UK and in many other countries. 

Ten years after its original publication, TOE remains one of the very few examples of GCE learning resources that attempt to make the learners aware of the very possibility of imagining the world otherwise – that is, from a non-Western (modern, Enlightenment-based) perspective. As such it may be of value to those seeking to develop innovative (or not-yet-tried) approaches to GCE.

By offering examples of how very different our social constructions of the world can be, of what we consider desirable, progressive and sensible (in relation to notions of development, education, equality and poverty) this resource can help those working in partnerships with (indigenous and other) communities, organizations and individuals whose worldviews do not overlap with mainstream Western understandings. 

Although originally imagined as an educational resource for undergraduate students, TOE has potentially much broader use for those seeking to move debates within the GCE (and development) field to more complex discussions that are informed also by marginalized perspectives, and to those that seek to build partnerships globally.