7. OPV lesson workcard

OPV = Other People's Views


Many thinking situations involve other people. What these other people think is just as much part of the situation as the factors, the consequences, the objectives, etc. These other people may have a very different viewpoint. Although they are in the same situation, they may look at things very differently. It is a very important part of thinking to be able to tell how other people are thinking; trying to see things from another person's viewpoint is what doing an OPV is about. Another person may consider different factors, see different consequences, have different objectives or priorities. All the thinking that you do for yourself, others may be doing for themselves - but differently.


A salesperson is trying to sell you a used sports car. The salesperson's point of view is to show how sharp it ls, how powerful the engine, the new tires, how it suits you, what a good buy it is. Your point of view is to see whether it has been in a crash, how much spare tires cost, how worn the parts are, how much gas it uses, how it compares to other cars you have seen.


1. A father forbids his daughter of 13 to smoke. What is his point of view and what is hers?

2. An inventor discovers a new way of making cloth. This invention means that only one person out of every twenty would still be employed in making cloth. Do an OPV for the inventor, the factory owner, the workers, and the general public.

3. A next-door neighbor opens her home as a refuge for sick people who have no one to care for them. Some neighbors object very strongly and some do not mind. What are the points of view of the refuge owner, the people using the refuge, those who object, and those who do not mind? 

4. There is a train strike and people find it difficult to get to work. How many different points of view are involved in this situation?

5. A boy refuses to obey his teacher in class. The teacher reports the boy to the principal who suspends him. The boy's parents object. What are the viewpoints of the boy, the teacher, the principal, the parents, his classmates?

6. Do an OPV on someone who has just realized he is on the wrong airplane, going to the wrong city.

7. There is a minor traffic accident. The drivers start shouting at each other and eventually start fighting. Do an OPV for each driver.

8. A lawyer is defending in court a man whom he believes to be guilty of stealing some money. What are the viewpoints of the lawyer, the judge, the accused man and the jury?

9. There is a plan to pull down some old houses and build modern apartments with wider roads in between them. What are the viewpoints of the planners, the architects, and the adults and children who live in the houses?

10. Many people talk about pollution, but cleaning up the environment costs money. What are the viewpoints of an ordinary citizen, an environmental group, industrialists, the government?


  • Is it easy to see other viewpoints?

  • Whose point of view is.right if two points of view differ?

  • If other people cannot see your point of view, should you bother about theirs?

  • Why ls it necessary to see someone else's viewpoint?

  • Should your action be based on your own viewpoint or someone else's as well?

Learning points

A. You ought to be able to see the other point of view whether you agree with it or not.

B. Every point of view may be right for the person holding it but not right enough to be imposed on others.

C. Different people have different positions, backgrounds, knowledge, interests, values, wants, etc., so it is not surprising that in the same situation viewpoints may differ greatly.

D. Try to see whether the other person can see your viewpoint.

E. Be able to articulate the differences and similarities between viewpoints.

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