Teaching young people life skills is one of the best things adults can do to prepare them to be successful. These capabilities enable kids to find their way while they’re young and in the future. The core life skills that everyone can begin to build capacity for in their youth are split into three categories:
- Thinking skills – Identifying that there are multiple pathways to understand information or address challenges.
- Social skills – Having the capacity to communicate, collaborate and interact with others effectively.
- Emotional skills – Building an awareness of and ability to recognize and manage feelings productively.
While there are so many components to each of the competencies, one building block that’s central to all three categories is perspective-taking. When kids recognize how they innately react and respond while forming an appreciation for the fact that others may do so differently, it becomes easier to expand their social and emotional awareness. They can evaluate their own worldview, gain greater patience and are often better at self-control and self-management.
When kids can consider other viewpoints, it supports empathy, inspiring stronger relationships. Exploring and understanding the concept of perspective is also at the heart of thinking skills, empowering youth to acknowledge that there are many ways to navigate what’s in front of them.
The Value of Perspective in Adolescence
Exploring distinct points of view is important at any age, and in adolescence, it’s especially relevant. In the preadolescence stage (9 – 12-year-olds), kids are starting to take a real interest in joining social groups. They tend to be more self-conscious and are striving to figure out how to engage with others.
Knowing to consider different perspectives helps them better interpret the social cues they’re receiving and start to appreciate the many ways that their peers may prefer to interact.
In early adolescence (13 – 15-year-olds), kids increasingly lean on their friends for their identity and are thinking more about who they are in context with the groups they connect with. At this stage, perspective-taking allows them to recognize and value differences between themselves and their classmates. They are better equipped to shape their own identity while having empathy for others.
In late adolescence (16 – 18-year-olds), individuals typically want to assert their independence and are thinking more seriously about their futures. Applying perspective-taking can help to build a greater appreciation for alternative approaches and inspire kids to reflect on and evaluate what they want out of life. Understanding different points of view can also support them in decision-making related to career or educational aspirations.
Strengths-based Tactics to Develop Perspective
It’s much easier to build new competencies by using a strengths-based approach. Applying the tips below, kids can use their inherent tendencies to embrace multiple points of view. If kids have their Emergenetics Youth Reports, they can lean into the tactics aligned with their preferences. If not, share the whole list and encourage them to try one or two practices that sound interesting!
Channel Innate Curiosity
Youth with an Analytical preference are often driven by the question “Why?” By tapping into their inquisitiveness and asking questions to learn about reasoning behind decisions, actions or reactions, they can begin building awareness of various approaches.
The Structural Attribute is driven by the question “How?” Kids who gravitate toward taking action can practice perspective-taking by seeking out models of multiple ways that a project, task or goal could be accomplished.
Step Into Someone’s Shoes
Youth with a Social preference often have an innate sense about those around them and are driven by the burning question of “Who?” Invite kids to tap into a people-centric mindset and imagine themselves in another person’s place to reflect on their experiences.
Embrace the Possibilities
Students who prefer Conceptual Thinking typically appreciate the question “What if?” This prompt inspires a host of ideation around what could be if different paths were chosen and can encourage youth to think in new ways.
To help kids process alternative points of view, invite them to lean into their Expressiveness preferences. Youth in the first-third might like to journal about their thoughts, while those in the third-third may prefer to talk through it with a friend.
The Assertiveness Attribute explains how people like to advance their thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Individuals in the first-third may apply their consensus-building preferences when they are met with various viewpoints to find win-win scenarios. Youth in the third-third can consider differences as though they were moderating a debate to assess the pros and cons of any methodology.
Assess All the Options
Everyone likes to have choices – at least at the beginning of a project or task. When plans are made, and change is imposed, that’s when we see the Flexibility Attribute in action. To help those in the first-third embrace alternatives, encourage them to identify the benefit of a different lens. For those in the third-third support their innate desire to see a new direction as an opportunity.
Perspective-taking requires intention and practice! In addition to using a strengths-based style to consider alternative viewpoints, I invite you to explore Moon Base Rescue™, our latest social awareness lesson kit. Using an interactive Minecraft Education game and 25 lessons, kids can learn about the many ways people prefer to think and behave firsthand and practice navigating these variances to support the development of important life skills.
Learn more about the lesson kit by clicking here or fill out the form below to speak with one of our team members today!
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