Social & Emotional Learning and the Power of Perspective

When we explore Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), there are many tools and strategies that are available for us to use and promote within our classroom. However, perspective-taking (or the ability to view a situation from different perspectives, and therefore make sense of others’ thoughts and feelings) is a hugely important step in developing empathy - a cornerstone of social and emotional learning.

In an article by educational psychologist, Hunter Gehlbach, social perspective-taking is described as the single-teachable capacity that anchors almost all of our social interaction:

“This capacity allows us to interpret the motivations and behaviors of our friends and neighbors, or to see situations from the point of view of strangers, or to understand and appreciate values and beliefs that diverge from our own. Without it, we cannot empathize, engage in moral reasoning, love, or even hold a normal conversation.”