Audience

Students are able to consider topics or situations from different points of view. They use a wide range of strategies to express their understanding of different perspectives and provide differing insights through their writing.

When writing for children it is best to write for that audience from their perspective or point of view. If writing for a scientific audience one would use more technical language and complex concepts.

Audience: Exploring perspectives

Strategy

Explicit teaching

Perspective is the way that people look at a situation. It can be seen as their point of view. There are a number of factors that influence people’s perspective such as: previous experiences, beliefs, or knowledge of the situation.

Students can assume that everyone will see things the way that they do and can therefore struggle with understanding different perspectives. They need to see that different perspectives are not right or wrong and can be helpful in expanding each other’s thoughts and ideas on a topic.

Vocabulary development will include contrasting connectives such as: alternatively, on the other hand, in contrast to.

General strategies

Introduce the concept of different perspectives through simple contrasting examples such as visuals that can be interpreted different ways.

www.incrediblethings.com/art-design/optical-illusions-portraits beware of unsuitable images here in advertising on side as well as intended images.

A less interesting but safer url is wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubin_Vase.

Demonstrate the power of perspective by reading information from only one point of view; once students express their thoughts provide more information from a different perspective. Has this changed their thoughts?

Students to reconstruct narrative/persuasive texts from a different perspective.

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1: picture puzzle

  • Using a picture on your current topic cut it into jigsaw pieces (try to start with the picture on A3 if possible).
  • Distribute one puzzle piece to each student or in pairs.
  • Students are to predict what the picture is about and what is happening.
  • Discuss the different ideas and why they are different. How did their perspective influence their prediction? Would they have thought differently if they could see other people’s piece?
  • On the board try to reconstruct the picture.
  • Ask students prompting questions about what could be happening in the picture and record answers on the board. Encourage different ideas.
  • Now ask students what they can actually see. Redirect inferences/predictions by asking if they can actually see that. For example “She is sad”. Can you actually see she is sad? “She has her head in her hands”.
  • Discuss why people are coming up with different ideas if they are seeing the same thing. Highlight the impact of people’s experiences on their perspective.

Discussion on perspective

  • Ask students prompting questions about what could be happening in the picture and record answers on the board. Encourage different ideas.
  • Now ask students what they can actually see. Redirect inferences/predictions by asking if they can actually see that. For example “She is sad”. Can you actually see she is sad? “She has her head in her hands”.
  • Discuss why people are coming up with different ideas if they are seeing the same thing. Highlight the impact of people’s experiences on their perspective.

Activity 2: retell

This activity can be completed in small groups or individually and using different types of text that relate to your current topic.

  • Choose a text that can be used to show different perspectives. This may be a narrative that has a villain or a historical recount that can focus on a different groups view.
  • Students to identify the key sequences in the text.
  • List the original perspective next to each event.
  • Suggest a possible difference from the new perspective.
  • Rewrite the text or a section of the text from the new perspective.

Example from the children’s story ‘the three little pigs’.

Looking from a different perspective

  • Original text: the three little pigs.
  • Original perspective: the pigs.
  • New perspective: the wolf.
Event Original perspective New perspective
3 pigs are going to build a house from different materials. The pigs were building shelter from the 'bad wolf'. Experiment that the pigs were completing on the most durable houses during storms.
1st house of straw is blown down by the wolf. Wolf is trying to eat the pig by destroying the home. He is helping pig 1 by testing how well the house structure is but it doesn't hold.
2nd house of sticks is blown down by the wolf. Wolf is trying to eat the two pigs and destroy another home. He is helping pig 2 by testing how well the house structure is but it doesn't hold. He feels a little light headed but wants to keep helping his friends.
3rd house of bricks wolf can't blow it down. Wolf is trying to eat all three pigs and destroy their final home. Wolf is desperate to help his friends and they must have a large amount of wind to really test their experiment. As he continues huffing and puffing he eventually hyperventilates and passes out.
n/a n/a The pigs run out look after wolf and celebrate their experiment results. All houses that are being built in the village will be from brick from now on.

Other notes: the 'big bad wolf' was a typo, the wolf's name was Brad. They were all friends and he was helping them with an experiment because there wasn't enough wind around to test their theory.

Variation: If your subject does not lend itself to events, students can use personification to talk from the perspective of something that does not normally have a voice. For example in Mathematics, the topic could be related to Algebra/Division and the students could write from the perspective of a symbol and ‘how they wish kids would like them more because all they are trying to do is…’ This will allow them to share their understanding of a topic in an engaging and higher order activity.

References

Australian curriculum

ACELY1805.

NSW syllabus

EN4-6C: Outcome 6: identifies and explains connections between and among texts  (EN4-6C) - Respond to and compose texts: use an increasingly wide range of strategies to present information, opinions and perspectives across a range of different types of texts

NSW literacy continuum

WRIC14M4: Aspects of writing, Cluster 14, Marker 4: Identifies and explores different perspectives and points of view.

Teacher resources

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