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Perspectives, point of view, viewpoint, opinion, voice and voices.


From the glossary:


A position from which things may be viewed or considered. People may have different perspectives on events or issues due to (for example) their age, gender, social position and beliefs and values. A perspective is more than an opinion; it is a viewpoint informed by one or more contexts. While a pregnant woman, a homeless man and a police officer, for example, view the world from different perspectives, they may still share the same opinion about something. Texts through an embedded ideology can also present a particular perspective

Maybe not clear enough from the glossary but perspective is essentially about context. Depends who you are, where you are, where you're looking from and even what it is you're "looking" at. There is some position, some distance, some point of differentiation between how something is "looked at" in the concept of perspective.

Literally a perspective physical terms it may be the distance or way in whch something is viewed (and in a more complex sense the relationship of things relative to each other). One can be removed from an issue, be distanced from it, less involved and potentially more circumspect, less emotional, less subjective. One can see the world, an issue or concept from a different angle, that is in a different way, in a different light, from a different position (or viewpoint or point of view).

Of significance is perspective requiring some dimensional difference. To ask someone for their perspective who is the same age, height, weight, gender, common interests - well who is just the same as you - doesn't make sense. To ask for their opinion is to invite them to express their ideas, attitudes and views which may well differ from yours. If you asked them to explain or qualify something from their perspective however, some difference of position is required. (Having said all of that, two people may seem to have everything in common but they may for example have different temperaments eg one bull-at-a-gate and impulsive, the other laid-back, quiet and methodical. Difference however is 'where' they're looking at the world from.)

VIEWPOINT, POINT OF VIEW, OPINION: These can be used synonymously in common parlance where the terms viewpoint or point of view may be used in the place of 'opinion and commonly understood as such. However a more refined, closer look at language and the sense of position in viewpoint and point of view can be seen. In other words, what is your view, where you are looking from? Accordingly it's entirely valid for someone's viewpoint to be 'from the position' of a mother; 'from position' of being a grandparent etc. A viewpoint and point of view can be from a particular perspective. Because of this slippage in meaning it is important that each is used with precision when framing questions for students.

POINT OF VIEW and NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEW: Because of the above use of term point of view as viewpoint or opinion, when referring to narrative point of viewwith students it's important that the term NARRATIVE point of view is always used. This will be the case in the ATAR exam and EST's, that is where narrative point of view is meant, then narrative point of view will be used.

VOICE and VOICES: Voice is effectively narrative voice, it is the storyteller's voice, the person telling the tale. It is also authorial voice, the writer's voice, the person (or assumed persona) behind the writing. See also 'implied author". Personal voice in student essay writing is encouraged, that is a sense of someone behind the writing providing a connection for the reader. Voices (and also just voice) in texts is different to narrative voice. Voices in texts are those other narrative point of view "voices" which may be representatitive of social groups, marginalised groups etc. Think Huck Finn and the 'voices' in that text.For an excellent resource, see Voices in The Park right menu.



Links to resources

While the resources below can be used for a range of class activities in General and ATAR classrooms, the thrust is a focus on the terms dealt with on this page.

It is up to teachers how they use these links and what questions they frame to focus student understandings.

(Sorted alphabetically.)

An amazing viewpoint, or is that perspective, on life

Em Rusciano: The note that put things into perspective

ISIL is weak - Waleed Aly


NewYears Eve Manchester

Pearls of Hope Mumbai

Perspective image Libya

Running of the Bulls Pamplona

Visual Autobiography


Mark Latham, mothers and anti-depressants

Pale Blue Dot (excellent)


Prisoners Write Letters to Their Younger Selves

Servin' Up the Second Amendment

Shane Malony on Scotch College

Shooting an Elephant - Orwell

Snobs and whingers

Voices from Solitary

Voices in Texts (PDF)

Voices in the Park - Slideshare

Voices in the Park - YouTube

Voices in the Park - teaching voice

Wolfgang Kotzhan

JW email
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