~Perception~

 

1. Definition—Perception can be defined in either physical or social terms.

            According to Webster’s Dictionary, perception means:

 

  1. To become aware of through the senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.
  2. To gain understanding, or to make social interpretations of phenomena. 

 

2. Perceptual Differences—The nature of perceptual differences that occur in the physical

    and social realms:

 

A.     In the physical realm individual perceptional differences involve:

1)      The presence of or absence of a particular sense, e.g. being sighted or blind.

2)      The actual level of acuity of a particular sense, e.g. perfect or poor vision.  

 

B.     In the social realm of perception one’s personal interpretations of social and physical events are shaped by past individual or group experiences. These experiences in part grow out of one’s background as a cultural, racial, sexual or gendered being.    

 

1)      The foundation of an individual’s perceptions are established during the first five

or six years of life. As children interpret their early childhood experiences in the

family and amongst peers, they form their most fundamental beliefs about life, themselves and others. These fundamental beliefs influence their perception of the present and the future.

   

2)      Individual interactions and experiences in both primary and secondary groups of identification—race, socio/economic class, gender, culture, age, and sexual orientation—have a direct impact on the formation of personal perceptions.  

 

       3)   In addition, an individual’s professional and organizational experience as an

             elementary, secondary or special education teacher, and/or as a administrator, or

             counselor have a direct impact on how that individual perceives the process of

             education, students, teachers, administrators, and parents.        

 

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3. The Impact of Experience on Perception—Individuals draw upon past experiences

     to interpret and understand the present and project what will probably happen in the

     future. We know no more than we have experienced, directly or indirectly. People are

     in essence the sum total of  their  interpretation of their experience. Our experiences

     and the system of belief by which we interpret them form the framework through

     which we view the world. 

 

4. The Impact of Perception of Human Relations—In the realm of human relations

    perception has the most powerful impact on the quality of interpersonal relations at every

    level of human interaction. If you attack another person’s perception you have in essence

    attacked that person’s experience. It is important to realize that everyone’s perception

    is valid because it grows out of each individual’s experience, however, it is also equally 

    important to realize that no one’s  perception is totally accurate.

 

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