Look at it from here!
To help children to recognize that people can see things from different points of view.
by Jill Fuller
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To help children recognize that people can see things from different points of view. To reflect on the importance of respecting different viewpoints.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a large picture, firmly propped up, preferably on a table. Place a chair in front of and behind the picture, for one child to sit either side of the table. One child will see only the back and the other only the front of the picture. Cover the picture completely with a cloth beforehand to prevent the children seeing either side as they come in. It would be best to have a picture with which the children are not familiar.
- It may be helpful to prepare two children by asking them to be ready to help the leader. You will need children who are at ease in describing what they see accurately.
- Explain that underneath the cloth is an object that you are going to ask two children to describe exactly. They will sit at opposite sides of the object and they are to describe only what they see from where they are sitting.
- Ask the two children to sit on either side of the table, before removing the cloth and asking each in turn to describe their view. Help to emphasize the contrasts. One pupil will be describing colour, action, etc. in the painting and maybe the frame, while the other will be looking at the blank back of the painting and its mount and perhaps a label or screws for hanging.
- Point out to the children that the descriptions are of the same object. How do the descriptions differ?
- Ask if both children taking part are describing what they see accurately. Discuss why it is that the two children's descriptions are so different. Draw out that it is because they are sitting in different places and so have completely different views of the same object.
- Talk with the children about times when what they believe happened was affected by where they were sitting or standing, e.g. was it a foul in a football game? Who started a quarrel? Did the cat knock the vase over or was it the wind blowing the curtain? Did the boy deliberately run across someone's garden or was he frightened by the gang on the other side of the road?
- Share occasions when they have disagreed with another person's view of events. Discuss why it is important to listen to what another person is seeing and saying.
- (Optional, for older children) Introduce a bit of TV and film jargon: PoV, which stands for Point of View. The camera presents the scene from an individual's viewpoint - we see with their eyes. Ask the children to look out for this in films and on TV - and to think about how it affects our understanding of what's going on in the scene.
Time for reflection
I saw a foul.
You saw a goal.
I saw what I saw
and I'm right I know.
You saw an argument
started by a girl.
I saw a boy,
he began it I could tell.
I saw this.
You saw that.
We both saw the same event,
but who saw the facts?
Invite the children to reflect on a time when there was a disagreement about what happened. Can they imagine how the other person/people viewed the event?
Help us to think about times when we believed
we were the only ones who knew the whole truth.
Help us to remember times when we felt our view was right
and everyone else was wrong.
Help us to recognize that all that we see
is affected by where we are seeing from - our point of view.
May we be ready to change places with others
and to respect their point of view.
'Lead me from death to life' (Come and Praise, 140)