Since 1999, I have had the great privilege of being a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. Each year, I get to meet, learn from and teach inspiring educators. This term was an especially inspiring year. My graduate class was made up of students from around the world and from various academic disciplines.
We discussed many important concepts, but perhaps the most important one was a concept/term coined by Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella, "enabling perceptions."
An enabling perception is how a child comes to see the world, and this enabling perception influences this child's actions, choices and behaviours over time. This grouping of perceptions becomes the moral foundation of this child--and eventually for the adult into which this child develops.
An example: there are many buildings today that are not wheelchair accessible. The reason for this is that the architect never imagined a person in a wheelchair in their designed space. Why did the architect never imagine this? Because when the architect was growing up, people in wheelchairs were not often included in general society. The architect likely never interacted with people with mobility impairment. Professors of architecture never considered the need to teach accessibility.
Much has now changed when it comes to design.
We need to ensure that change occurs in other areas of our society so that our children grow up to be adults with healthy enabling perceptions.
Dr Jillian Roberts
ps Below, my very own inspiring graduate students :)