Title

Student Poster Session - Occupational Science and Experiential Service Learning: A Strong Educational Foundation for Examining Unemployment-Related Occupational Injustices

Start Time

18-10-2013 12:40 PM

End Time

18-10-2013 1:30 PM

Abstract

This poster demonstrates how a combined lens of occupational science, social justice and urban analysis helps foreground occupational injustice in analyses of unemployment. A project was developed to fulfill requirements of a research-based independent study class for a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Science, as well as to fulfill a minor in social justice and urban analysis through the Micah Program of Saint Louis University. The Micah Program educates students through coursework, social minded service, and an intentional living community. In supporting and encouraging students to reach outside their comfort zones and into the urban core of St. Louis, Missouri, the Micah Program enables students to build relationships with the greater urban community and apply concepts from their education and learning community. Based on this dual foundation in occupational science and the Micah Program, the first author created a project to examine unemployment and potentials for occupational injustice in the day-to-day lives of people who are unemployed.

Data for this project include a literature review as well as observations and interviews collected within a larger study on occupation and unemployment. The larger study looks to deconstruct the influences of social services, social and political discourses, and politics on daily activities and occupations as experienced by individuals who are unemployed. The related student project aimed 1) To identify how unemployment is associated with occupational injustice and occupational deprivation, and 2) To synthesize concepts of social justice, urban analysis, occupational injustice and occupational deprivation. Preliminary findings from this project focus on connections between concepts of occupational injustice (Durocher, Gibson, & Rappolt, 2013), social justice (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 2007) and urban analysis (Wilson, 2011) relative to unemployment. Discussion of this poster will stimulate a dialogue about the educational benefits of merging occupational science, social justice learning communities, and experiential learning in urban university communities.

Occupational science education with a focus on social justice and urban welfare provides an empathetic, well-rounded understanding of the social factors, contexts and discourses surrounding an urban culture. By developing an understanding of urban analysis, students and educators in occupational science can develop a deeper understanding of how social norms, sociopolitical practices, and urban stigmas affect people’s roles, contextual factors, and performance capacities (Roley et al., 2008). These perspectives are critical to understanding the relationships between occupational injustice, unemployment, and social justice. Bridging occupational science coursework with student life experiences like the Micah Program also allows students to translate coursework outside of the classroom and build intentional relationships within their urban community. Increasing experiential learning opportunities in occupational science curricula will allow students to become well-rounded professionals, and it will also broaden educational boundaries to help facilitate growth and discovery in the field of occupational science.

Key Words: Occupational Science, urban education, social in/justice

References

  1. Durocher, E., Gibson, B. E., & Rappolt, S. (2013). Occupational justice: A conceptual review. Journal of Occupational Science, (ahead-of-print), 1-13.
  2. Bell, L.A. (2007). Theoretical foundations for social justice education. In M. Adams, L. A. Bell, & P. Griffin (Eds.), Teaching for diversity and social justice (pp. 1-14). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
  3. Roley, S. S., DeLany, J. V., Barrows, C. J., Brownrigg, S., Honaker, D., Sava, D. I., Smith, E. (2008). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain & practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(6), 625.
  4. Wilson, W. J. (1997/2011). The meaning and significance of race: Employers and inner city workers. In When work disappears: The world of the new urban poor (pp. 111-148). New York: Random House.

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

Student Poster Session - Occupational Science and Experiential Service Learning: A Strong Educational Foundation for Examining Unemployment-Related Occupational Injustices

This poster demonstrates how a combined lens of occupational science, social justice and urban analysis helps foreground occupational injustice in analyses of unemployment. A project was developed to fulfill requirements of a research-based independent study class for a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Science, as well as to fulfill a minor in social justice and urban analysis through the Micah Program of Saint Louis University. The Micah Program educates students through coursework, social minded service, and an intentional living community. In supporting and encouraging students to reach outside their comfort zones and into the urban core of St. Louis, Missouri, the Micah Program enables students to build relationships with the greater urban community and apply concepts from their education and learning community. Based on this dual foundation in occupational science and the Micah Program, the first author created a project to examine unemployment and potentials for occupational injustice in the day-to-day lives of people who are unemployed.

Data for this project include a literature review as well as observations and interviews collected within a larger study on occupation and unemployment. The larger study looks to deconstruct the influences of social services, social and political discourses, and politics on daily activities and occupations as experienced by individuals who are unemployed. The related student project aimed 1) To identify how unemployment is associated with occupational injustice and occupational deprivation, and 2) To synthesize concepts of social justice, urban analysis, occupational injustice and occupational deprivation. Preliminary findings from this project focus on connections between concepts of occupational injustice (Durocher, Gibson, & Rappolt, 2013), social justice (Adams, Bell, & Griffin, 2007) and urban analysis (Wilson, 2011) relative to unemployment. Discussion of this poster will stimulate a dialogue about the educational benefits of merging occupational science, social justice learning communities, and experiential learning in urban university communities.

Occupational science education with a focus on social justice and urban welfare provides an empathetic, well-rounded understanding of the social factors, contexts and discourses surrounding an urban culture. By developing an understanding of urban analysis, students and educators in occupational science can develop a deeper understanding of how social norms, sociopolitical practices, and urban stigmas affect people’s roles, contextual factors, and performance capacities (Roley et al., 2008). These perspectives are critical to understanding the relationships between occupational injustice, unemployment, and social justice. Bridging occupational science coursework with student life experiences like the Micah Program also allows students to translate coursework outside of the classroom and build intentional relationships within their urban community. Increasing experiential learning opportunities in occupational science curricula will allow students to become well-rounded professionals, and it will also broaden educational boundaries to help facilitate growth and discovery in the field of occupational science.

Key Words: Occupational Science, urban education, social in/justice