Title

The Occupation of City-Walking: Crossing the Invisible Line

Start Time

14-10-2009 7:00 PM

End Time

14-10-2009 9:00 PM

Abstract

Purpose: In this pilot study, occupational science students participated in a walk around a major Health Sciences Center Campus. The purpose of this action research project was to introduce students in occupational science to the inter-city community through the occupation of walking as an introductory method of being exposed to cultural variation. The overarching question was: In an inner-city setting, what are occupational science student’s reactions to the surroundings?” Methods: Nineteen students in the spring term of the junior (3rd) year of the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science program participated. They were told the title and the purpose of the study. They were told that they should be able to complete a one-mile path on a prescribed route in the area surrounding the Health Sciences Center, for 30 minutes to one hour, with the risks anticipated to be minimal. Following the walk, they would reflect on the experience verbally and in writing. They were informed that the results of the study might be published or presented; however, their anonymity would be maintained. Using guiding questions developed by the investigators, students reflected on their experience individually and as a group. These reflections were individually written responses and transcriptions and from two focus groups, all occurring within one month of their city walk. The data was analyzed using ATLAS.ti, a qualitative data analysis program. Results: Six themes emerged, addressing: (1) the students’ stereotypic views (2) the student’s observations of the area (3) the student’s perceived level of safety during the city walk (4) the students’ feelings after the experience (5) the students’ feelings during the walk, and (6) whether or not they would again walk in the setting. The results supported the notion that simple act of walking lessened stereotypes and educated students about the community surrounding campus. It is, therefore, suggested that teaching using occupational engagement like city walking should be considered for implementation into occupational science curricula as an introductory activity presenting the concept of culture and cultural variance. The experience should be offered in conjunction with relevant learning activities and specific didactic lessons in culture. Through these learning activities, occupational science students can cross the invisible line that separates their way of doing from how people different from them live.

References

Hodge S, Persighetti S, Smith P, et al. (2006) A Manifesto for a New Walking Culture ‘Dealing with the City’. Performance Research 11:115-122. DOI: 10.1080/13528160600812083 [Earlier Version]

Joseph A, Zimring C (2007) Where Active Older Adults Walk: Understanding the Factors Related to Path Choice for Walking Among Active Retirement Community Residents. Environment and Behavior 39:75-105. DOI: 10.1177/0013916506295572

Nicholson, G. (2008) The lost art of walking: The history, science, philosophy and literature of pedestrianism. New York: Riverhead books.

Richardson T (2005) Walking Streets, Talking History: The Making of Odessa. Ethnology 44:13-33. Article Access

Solnit, R. (2005). A field guide to getting lost. New York: Penguin Books.

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Oct 14th, 7:00 PM Oct 14th, 9:00 PM

The Occupation of City-Walking: Crossing the Invisible Line

Purpose: In this pilot study, occupational science students participated in a walk around a major Health Sciences Center Campus. The purpose of this action research project was to introduce students in occupational science to the inter-city community through the occupation of walking as an introductory method of being exposed to cultural variation. The overarching question was: In an inner-city setting, what are occupational science student’s reactions to the surroundings?” Methods: Nineteen students in the spring term of the junior (3rd) year of the Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science program participated. They were told the title and the purpose of the study. They were told that they should be able to complete a one-mile path on a prescribed route in the area surrounding the Health Sciences Center, for 30 minutes to one hour, with the risks anticipated to be minimal. Following the walk, they would reflect on the experience verbally and in writing. They were informed that the results of the study might be published or presented; however, their anonymity would be maintained. Using guiding questions developed by the investigators, students reflected on their experience individually and as a group. These reflections were individually written responses and transcriptions and from two focus groups, all occurring within one month of their city walk. The data was analyzed using ATLAS.ti, a qualitative data analysis program. Results: Six themes emerged, addressing: (1) the students’ stereotypic views (2) the student’s observations of the area (3) the student’s perceived level of safety during the city walk (4) the students’ feelings after the experience (5) the students’ feelings during the walk, and (6) whether or not they would again walk in the setting. The results supported the notion that simple act of walking lessened stereotypes and educated students about the community surrounding campus. It is, therefore, suggested that teaching using occupational engagement like city walking should be considered for implementation into occupational science curricula as an introductory activity presenting the concept of culture and cultural variance. The experience should be offered in conjunction with relevant learning activities and specific didactic lessons in culture. Through these learning activities, occupational science students can cross the invisible line that separates their way of doing from how people different from them live.