Activities for Teaching Point of View

Hands playing with Rubik Cube on table
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Point of view refers to the way people see and understand an object, incident or the world around them. Realizing that people have different points of view and respecting those perspectives are preconditions for successful relationships. Teachers can help young students understand the concept and build better relationships with their friends and family through a series of classroom activities.

1 Puzzle Cube

Enter the classroom before students and place a puzzle cube -- featuring a different color on each side -- on a table in the middle of the room. Move around the room to find the four spots where you can only see one side of the cube. Place a chair on each of these spots and cover the cube with a handkerchief. When students enter the room, ask four of them to sit on the chairs facing the cube. Reveal the cube and ask these four students to tell you the color of the cube. Explain to the class that the students gave different answers because they saw the cube from a different angle; in other words, they had a different point of view.

2 Same Situation -- Different Points of View

Take pictures or make drawings of everyday situations from a different point of view, such as a line in the cinema ticket booth from a waiting customer's perspective and from inside the booth, as the cinema employee. Bring the photos, or drawings, to the class and show one photo of each pair at a time. Ask students to explain what they would feel if they were in that situation. For example, on the waiting-in-line photo, they might say they would feel tired or angry. Then, show the other picture, depicting the employee having a mountain to climb. Students can sympathize with employee and understand they are not the only ones -- as customers -- to be frustrated.

3 Interpretation of an Event

Describe to students a scene of children playing near a leaking water pipe in the street. Ask students what they would think of this event if they were these children. Students might say it's amusing or enjoyable. Then, ask what the mother of a child might think, as she has to clean his clothes, or what the mayor would say, as he must spend money to fix the problem. This activity can help children understand that a single event can have multiple interpretations, depending on each person's point of view.

4 Narrative Point of View

Explain to students that each text has a certain point of view, which can be either first person, with the narrator talking about herself, or third-person, with the narrator talking about others. Avoid the rare and difficult-to-understand second-person point of view for the time being. Give a series of short texts to students and ask them to find the point of view of each story. Instruct students to work alone during this task.

Tasos Vossos has been a professional journalist since 2008. He has previously worked as a staff writer for "Eleftheros Tipos," a leading newspaper of Greece, and is currently a London-based sports reporter for Perform Sports Media in the United Kingdom. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and media from the University of Athens.