Threads of Learning

1. Enacting Professional Citizenship

As professional citizens, our students are attuned to and responsive to local and global issues relevant to the profession, occupation and society. As professional citizens, occupational therapists promote the profession and enact the transformative power of occupation with a variety of individuals and collectives. Professional citizenship encompasses being accountable to professional organizations, standards, guidelines, behaviours and the people with whom we work. This occurs in everyday practice where we work as leaders, advocates, educators and mentors.

2. Attending to Diversity

Diversity is defined as “those human differences that are noticed and deemed to matter within specific social structures, becoming matters of power inequalities” (Beagan, 2015, p.273). This means diversity is not ‘natural’ and given; it is produced through social relations and varies depending on one’s point of view. As occupational therapists, attending to diversity involves expanding beyond over-simplified notions of diversity in relation to ethnicity or culture toward recognizing a wide-range of intersecting differences that reflect taken-for-granted social hierarchies. These value-laden hierarchies contribute to inequities in relation to occupational opportunities and engagement, health & well-being, and life chances. Attending to diversity involves setting aside assumptions that locate the ‘problem’ of diversity at the level of individuals. Instead, occupation-focused practice, teaching and research should incorporate recognition of the ways that human difference is socially and politically organized in ways that benefit particular groups and marginalize or disadvantage others on the basis of difference.

3. Applying Critical Perspectives to Occupation

Critical perspectives on occupation refers to a range of theoretical perspectives and concepts that attend to occupation as shaped within, and contributing to the shaping of, social, cultural, political, economic and other contextual forces. Critical perspectives on occupation resist conceptualizing occupations as solely individually determined or as equitably distributed, and promote analysis of how contextual forces influence occupational engagement and possibilities for individuals and collectives. Critical perspectives raise awareness of how occupation, and occupational therapy, is situated in social relations of power that simultaneously produce privilege and marginalization, and inform practices that transform structures, systems and practices that produce and perpetuate occupational injustices.

4. Honouring Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Honouring Indigenous ways of knowing and doing are fundamental to how we understand human occupations. Connecting with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the person in harmony with their land, water, and air provides a deeper understanding of meaning and connection. Indigenous perspectives teach us the importance of Nation, community, family, and culture and how these elements shape how we understand our place in the world through our past, present and future. Through respect, relevancy, reciprocity and responsibility (Barnhart & Kirkness, 2001) we pledge our active commitment as both individual settlers and as a school to continue to grow as allies working toward a shared vision of Indigenous equity and inclusion.

5. Ethical Practice

Ethical practice involves the judicious and systematic use of ethical principles and ethical theory to deepen processes of reflective deliberation, to inform situated judgements, to engage in dialogue, and to discern how to act with others in ethically complex situations. Ethical practice involves the identification of ethical tensions and individual and collaborative deliberation about the best course of action (praxis), in ethically complex contexts. Ethical practice involves ethical relationships that are truthful, uphold the dignity and inclusion of others that respect privacy and confidentiality, and that are rooted in an ethic of care and respect for the vulnerability of persons. Ethical practice involves humility, listening, reflexivity, cultural sensitivity, integrity, respect for diversity, social inclusion, ethical use of power, courage, collaboration, dialogue, transparency and open communication.