Circle of Viewpoints

1 Sep

Recently, my school has offered a series of PD sessions on Visible Thinking.  In essence, the purpose of Visible Thinking is to encourage, and teach routines that promote, deeper thinking.   For more details, check out the website.

The repeated references to ‘Visible Thinking’ have prompted me to do some research and to explore some of the thinking routines.  One routine that interests me is the ‘Circle of Viewpoints’ routine.  As suggested by the name, this routine aims to have students explore a topic from different vantages.  While I imagine this is a particularly effective way of having students explore stakeholder interests in a Commerce, Business Studies or Economics class, it also has interesting application in English.  At a simple level, for example, students could use it to explore possible perspectives prior to planning and presenting a persuasive task.  Students could also use this routine to ascertain the relationships and conflicts within a text.’

The ‘Circle of Viewpoints’ could also be used in a more complex way.  Imagine, for example, that you are studying Macbeth with Year 10, that you have just read Macbeth’s famous soliloquy ‘Is this a dagger which I see before me’, and that you want students to consider the likely mood and atmosphere in this soliloquy.  You could ask students to pretend that they are going to create a film version of this and that each is responsible for an element of the production (sound, lighting, costuming etc).   Then, using the ‘Circle of Viewpoints’ activity, students could step into their roles and comment on the text.  An example is provided below:

I am thinking of Macbeth’s ‘Is this a dagger…’ soliloquy from the point of view of the lighting director.

I think that the soliloquy should open in darkness with a light flickering on and off as Macbeth delivers his opening lines (“Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand?”).  I think this will help to show that Macbeth is unsure whether or not the dagger is real.

A question I have from this viewpoint is: How can I engage with the repeated references to sight and vision while maintaining a sense of anticipation and confusion?

Once all students have contributed, you could follow with a discussion about why these choices were made/questions posed and what these choices/questions reveal about the mood or atmosphere of the text.


One Response to “Circle of Viewpoints”


  1. Panel discussions | Once uPUN a time... - December 30, 2015

    […] have blogged previously about the ‘Circle of Viewpoints‘ activity and the possibility of using this activity to help students to understand the […]


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