Lesson Plans



Grade 12 ENG4U: Jean Vanier

Spirit of Belonging – Jean Vanier's Philosophy Revisited


Lesson Summary

This lesson addresses curriculum expectations from The Ontario Curriculum – English, Grades 11 and 12, 2007(revised) for the course ENG 4U . Using Jean Vanier’s philosophy of being as a spring board for discussion, students will explore attitudinal barriers and their own sense of inclusion and belonging, and, then critically explore their environment and community.

The activities in these lessons will promote meta-cognition, critical peer evaluation, and the development of a personal philosophy around inclusion. Students will demonstrate skills in gathering information, evaluating information sources, critical listening, analyzing information and identifying and summarizing key points in learning. In the process of writing their biography, students will have an opportunity to compare Jean Vanier’s personal and moral vision with their own. Students will be challenged to critically examine attitudinal barriers in their class/school/community.

Connections to Accessibility Awareness – The Big Ideas

The following accessibility messages are addressed in the activities in this lesson:

  • Empathy for others and respect for the dignity of all persons are essential characteristics of an inclusive classroom, school and society.
  • The biggest barriers to accessibility are attitude and lack of awareness.
  • Students have an important voice and a valuable role to play in advocating for change in their classrooms, their schools and their community.

Important Considerations for Program Planning

In keeping with the inclusive nature of accessibility and best teaching practices, lessons and instruction must provide a continuum of supports for all students, including those with accessibility considerations and/or special education needs. The front matter of all revised curriculum policy documents highlights elements to consider in planning classroom lessons and instruction, including Universal Design, differentiated instruction, equity and inclusive education, the perspective of First Nation, Métis and Inuit people, meeting the needs of English language learners and of students with special education needs. See the Accessibility+hub for more information about these and related topics.

Community Connections

Connections with parents, members of the broader school community, agencies and institutions, social services, community organizations, corporations, and local businesses provide important opportunities for supporting accessibility awareness for students. Community partners can be an important resource in students’ learning as volunteers, mentors, guest speakers, participants in the school’s accessibility events or models of accessibility awareness in the life of the community.

Modelling and mentoring can enrich not only the educational experience of students but also the life of the community. Schools should ensure that partnerships are nurtured within the context of strong educational objectives. If the topic of a lesson is a disability and a student in the classroom has that disability, it is important to discuss that lesson with the student, if appropriate, and his or her parents so that planning can be respectful and strengths-based in perspective.


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