Title

Dynamics of Social Processes Contributing to Development of Occupations

Presenter Information

Ruth Humphry

Start Time

16-10-2002 12:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2002 12:00 AM

Abstract

This paper extends discussion of the intersection of development and occupational science (Lawlor, 20026) and examines the interpersonal processes that contribute to transformations in occupations. A key concept is the person's "situation definition" of the activity (Wertsch, 1999). This felt experience has both spatial and temporal qualities as it is shaped by the physical and social environments, personal interpretation of past memories, the sequence of happenings leading to the present circumstances, and anticipated future events. When engaged in an activity the situation definition changes from moment to moment, unfolding in reaction to actual or perceived changes in the environment and what is happening. It is hypothesized that alterations of the situation definition trigger adjustments in the form or quality of performance and occupational meaning. One developmental process, under investigation is how children observe and vicarious participation in other people's activities. It is thought that children gather information building their own situation definition even before engaging in the activity. In the model under investigation development of occupation is seen as coming from experiences that precede initial engagement in an activity. A second developmental process that is being studied is the collaborative, negotiation that takes place as children join together to do an activity. It is anticipated that to sustain engagement each person alters their respective situation definitions to achieve an inter-subjective understanding of what they are doing. This co-construction process of creating an activity, such as when children play together, leads to new way of doing things and illustrates the social nature of development. A micro-development perspective of change (Granott & Parliale, 2002) is employed to investigate the above propositions based on observations of young children learning to use different toys and found objects in their classroom. It is argued that to inform practice occupational science not only needs to consider changes in occupations over months or years but should also offer insight into developmental processes on the time scale that occurs when a therapist is interacting with a child or children are doing things together.

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Oct 16th, 12:00 AM Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

Dynamics of Social Processes Contributing to Development of Occupations

This paper extends discussion of the intersection of development and occupational science (Lawlor, 20026) and examines the interpersonal processes that contribute to transformations in occupations. A key concept is the person's "situation definition" of the activity (Wertsch, 1999). This felt experience has both spatial and temporal qualities as it is shaped by the physical and social environments, personal interpretation of past memories, the sequence of happenings leading to the present circumstances, and anticipated future events. When engaged in an activity the situation definition changes from moment to moment, unfolding in reaction to actual or perceived changes in the environment and what is happening. It is hypothesized that alterations of the situation definition trigger adjustments in the form or quality of performance and occupational meaning. One developmental process, under investigation is how children observe and vicarious participation in other people's activities. It is thought that children gather information building their own situation definition even before engaging in the activity. In the model under investigation development of occupation is seen as coming from experiences that precede initial engagement in an activity. A second developmental process that is being studied is the collaborative, negotiation that takes place as children join together to do an activity. It is anticipated that to sustain engagement each person alters their respective situation definitions to achieve an inter-subjective understanding of what they are doing. This co-construction process of creating an activity, such as when children play together, leads to new way of doing things and illustrates the social nature of development. A micro-development perspective of change (Granott & Parliale, 2002) is employed to investigate the above propositions based on observations of young children learning to use different toys and found objects in their classroom. It is argued that to inform practice occupational science not only needs to consider changes in occupations over months or years but should also offer insight into developmental processes on the time scale that occurs when a therapist is interacting with a child or children are doing things together.