Teaching Perspective Taking Skills
Perspective taking refers to a person's ability to consider a situation from a different point of view. Have you ever heard the saying, 'put yourself in someone else's shoes?' That's basically what perspective taking is! When we are able to do this, it allows for a better understanding of that person's thoughts and motives. It also helps us reflect on our own behavior so that we do not offend others.
Teaching this can be tricky. Where do we even start?
First you must identify what the child's current level is. Here are a few examples (not all) of developmental milestones to consider:
Does the child...
- understand theory of mind
- show concern when another child is upset or hurt
- identify emotions
- identify another person's feelings
- express why a person feels the way they do
- ability to make and keep friends
- understand the emotion behind someone's behavior
Then you can start at the child's current level and work your way up.
In my Perspective Taking: Teach and Practice tool, I teach these skills in a leveled, systematic approach. For each skill, it includes teaching handouts, leveled practice pages, leveled task cards, homework, and real pictures. I teach the following skills:
- Stating your own perspective
- Other's might think differently
- Flexible thinking
- Someone's else's shoes
- Considering others' emotions
- Thinking of similar experiences
- Respecting others' perspectives
- Comparing perspectives
I find that when you teach one skill (in this case, perspective taking), in a variety of ways, the child has a better understanding and longterm carryover increases. If you want more information about my systematic approach, click here.