Title

Affirming the Ethos of Occupational Therapy: A Community's Perspective From an Occupational Therapy Service Learning Experience

Presenter Information

Karen Atler
Amanda Chestnut

Start Time

7-10-2006 10:15 AM

End Time

7-10-2006 12:00 PM

Abstract

Occupational therapy education has undergone many recent changes with the infusion of more "occupation" into the content and methods of graduate level learning. (Hooper & Mitcham 2004; Palmadottir, 2003). To date there is little research that has examined the effectiveness of occupation-centered education methods (Lysaght & Bent, 2005; Reeves, Mann, Caunce, Beecraft, Living, * Conway; 2004; Greene, 1998). In this presentation, qualitative data is discussed for the study of an occupation-based service learning project. This discussion explores the extended themes from the participant and student experiences, which in turn reveals the ethos, or belief system, that brings "occupation" into Occupational Therapy (Peloquin, 2005). Service learning is "a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development” (Jacoby, 1996 p.5). In this project, paired 2nd year master's students collaborated with an adult with a neurological condition to identify and work towards a small goal to enhance daily life engagement. Students' written reflections and participants responses to semi-structured interviews were analyzed. To ensure rigor, students written assignments were used to triangulate data with the participant interviews. Results revealed that engagement in the service learning project produced a variety of outcomes for the adults, both tangible (i.e. cooking with less fatigue) and intangible (i.e. enjoying helping others). Possibly more revealing were themes related to the process of how these outcomes came about. Caring about the person and establishing a relationship was as important as the actual engagement of the activity. The findings will stimulate discussion about: 1) how participant's perspectives provide evidence for the ethos of our profession (i.e. "time, place and circumstance open paths to occupation" and "occupation fosters dignity, competence and health" (Peloquin, 2005, p 613); 2) the importance of occupation-centered learning for students preparing to become occupational therapists, and 3) the need for preventative occupational therapy services focusing on occupation.

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Oct 7th, 10:15 AM Oct 7th, 12:00 PM

Affirming the Ethos of Occupational Therapy: A Community's Perspective From an Occupational Therapy Service Learning Experience

Occupational therapy education has undergone many recent changes with the infusion of more "occupation" into the content and methods of graduate level learning. (Hooper & Mitcham 2004; Palmadottir, 2003). To date there is little research that has examined the effectiveness of occupation-centered education methods (Lysaght & Bent, 2005; Reeves, Mann, Caunce, Beecraft, Living, * Conway; 2004; Greene, 1998). In this presentation, qualitative data is discussed for the study of an occupation-based service learning project. This discussion explores the extended themes from the participant and student experiences, which in turn reveals the ethos, or belief system, that brings "occupation" into Occupational Therapy (Peloquin, 2005). Service learning is "a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development” (Jacoby, 1996 p.5). In this project, paired 2nd year master's students collaborated with an adult with a neurological condition to identify and work towards a small goal to enhance daily life engagement. Students' written reflections and participants responses to semi-structured interviews were analyzed. To ensure rigor, students written assignments were used to triangulate data with the participant interviews. Results revealed that engagement in the service learning project produced a variety of outcomes for the adults, both tangible (i.e. cooking with less fatigue) and intangible (i.e. enjoying helping others). Possibly more revealing were themes related to the process of how these outcomes came about. Caring about the person and establishing a relationship was as important as the actual engagement of the activity. The findings will stimulate discussion about: 1) how participant's perspectives provide evidence for the ethos of our profession (i.e. "time, place and circumstance open paths to occupation" and "occupation fosters dignity, competence and health" (Peloquin, 2005, p 613); 2) the importance of occupation-centered learning for students preparing to become occupational therapists, and 3) the need for preventative occupational therapy services focusing on occupation.