Title

Student Poster Session - Classifying the levels which educators use to teach occupation

Start Time

October 2013

End Time

October 2013

Abstract

It seems fitting that the theme of the 2013 SSO: USA meeting is occupation and education because, since its inception, occupational scientists have emphasized education and have led many of the seminal calls for reform in occupational therapy education (Pierce, 1999; Yerxa, 1998; Whiteford & Wilcock, 2001; Wood, Nielson, Humphry, Coppola, Baranek & Rourk, 2000). For nearly two decades, occupational scientists have urged the profession to place occupation at the center of its curricular designs and educational activities in order to advance the occupational therapy profession. At the same time research in occupational science has proliferated the field’s collective understandings of occupation. However, conceptual and empirical work in how occupation is taught and learned in occupational therapy classrooms remains limited.

This study used classroom video data and a conceptual framework drawn from occupational therapy and subject-centered learning to identify levels of occupation as the central subject and explicate an initial grounded theory of how occupation is taught. The study’s questions are, What specific course topics are used to teach occupation? What levels of occupation are apparent in the topics used to teach it? How do educators navigate between various levels of occupation when teaching? Eighteen video recordings were collected as part of a multiphase study by Hooper, Krishnagiri, Bilics, Mitcham, Price, and Taff to answer the question “How is occupation addressed in occupational therapy education?” Participants were identified through a random sample of occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant programs, stratified by institutional type and geographical region. Participants submitted video data that represented how occupation is addressed in their classrooms. Data analysis methods were determined through a pilot study of two videos, and include event mapping, theoretical sampling of key events, and domain analysis (Spradley, 1979) for classifying a typology of levels of occupation addressed.

This study is a work in progress but the pilot analysis affirmed that instructors were teaching occupation on several levels, often in an improvisational and non-linear way. For example, in the process of addressing topics such as theories about occupation or analysis of personal occupations, instructors repeatedly inserted comments about the attributes and facets of occupation itself. Five domains related to educators’ explanations about why occupation is taught repeated across videos: to gain knowledge of the construct of occupation, occupation is central to professional identity, to apply occupation to practice, to develop client-centered perceptions of occupation, and to understand occupation in theory and frames of reference.

This paper will present the completed analysis of all videos included in the study. The study will help fill a gap in the literature regarding the subject of occupation and its position as the central subject of occupational therapy education. There is limited research on how occupation is taught, despite that teaching occupation is significant to the advancement of knowledge of occupation. Additionally, studying occupation within occupational therapy education is an underutilized method for studying occupation itself. That is, understanding occupation in an education context may illumine new facets of the construct, not only how it is taught.

References

Pierce, D. (1999). Putting occupation to work in occupational therapy curricula. AOTA Education Special Interest Newsletter, 9(3), 1-4.

Spradley, J. (1979). The ethnographic interview. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.

Whiteford, G.E. and Wilcock, A.A. (2001). Centralizing occupation in occupational therapy curricula: Imperative of the new millennium. Occupational Therapy International, 8(2), 81-85.

Wood, W., Nielson, C., Humphry, R., Coppola, S., Baranek, G. & Rourk, J. (2000). A curricular renaissance: Graduate education centered on occupation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 54, 586-597.

Yerxa, E.J. (1998). Occupation: The keystone of a curriculum for a self-defined profession. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 52(5), 365-372.

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Oct 18th, 12:40 PM Oct 18th, 1:30 PM

Student Poster Session - Classifying the levels which educators use to teach occupation

It seems fitting that the theme of the 2013 SSO: USA meeting is occupation and education because, since its inception, occupational scientists have emphasized education and have led many of the seminal calls for reform in occupational therapy education (Pierce, 1999; Yerxa, 1998; Whiteford & Wilcock, 2001; Wood, Nielson, Humphry, Coppola, Baranek & Rourk, 2000). For nearly two decades, occupational scientists have urged the profession to place occupation at the center of its curricular designs and educational activities in order to advance the occupational therapy profession. At the same time research in occupational science has proliferated the field’s collective understandings of occupation. However, conceptual and empirical work in how occupation is taught and learned in occupational therapy classrooms remains limited.

This study used classroom video data and a conceptual framework drawn from occupational therapy and subject-centered learning to identify levels of occupation as the central subject and explicate an initial grounded theory of how occupation is taught. The study’s questions are, What specific course topics are used to teach occupation? What levels of occupation are apparent in the topics used to teach it? How do educators navigate between various levels of occupation when teaching? Eighteen video recordings were collected as part of a multiphase study by Hooper, Krishnagiri, Bilics, Mitcham, Price, and Taff to answer the question “How is occupation addressed in occupational therapy education?” Participants were identified through a random sample of occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant programs, stratified by institutional type and geographical region. Participants submitted video data that represented how occupation is addressed in their classrooms. Data analysis methods were determined through a pilot study of two videos, and include event mapping, theoretical sampling of key events, and domain analysis (Spradley, 1979) for classifying a typology of levels of occupation addressed.

This study is a work in progress but the pilot analysis affirmed that instructors were teaching occupation on several levels, often in an improvisational and non-linear way. For example, in the process of addressing topics such as theories about occupation or analysis of personal occupations, instructors repeatedly inserted comments about the attributes and facets of occupation itself. Five domains related to educators’ explanations about why occupation is taught repeated across videos: to gain knowledge of the construct of occupation, occupation is central to professional identity, to apply occupation to practice, to develop client-centered perceptions of occupation, and to understand occupation in theory and frames of reference.

This paper will present the completed analysis of all videos included in the study. The study will help fill a gap in the literature regarding the subject of occupation and its position as the central subject of occupational therapy education. There is limited research on how occupation is taught, despite that teaching occupation is significant to the advancement of knowledge of occupation. Additionally, studying occupation within occupational therapy education is an underutilized method for studying occupation itself. That is, understanding occupation in an education context may illumine new facets of the construct, not only how it is taught.