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Research Article  |   May 1994
Ethnographic Analysis: A Study of Classroom Environments
Author Affiliations
  • Lou Ann Sooy Griswold, MS, OTR, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824
Article Information
School-Based Practice / Research
Research Article   |   May 1994
Ethnographic Analysis: A Study of Classroom Environments
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1994, Vol. 48, 397-402. doi:10.5014/ajot.48.5.397
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, May 1994, Vol. 48, 397-402. doi:10.5014/ajot.48.5.397
Abstract

Objectives. Occupational therapists assess and adapt an environment to enhance clients’ abilities to function. Therapists working in schools may assess several classroom environments in a week. Identifying relevant information in an efficient manner is essential yet presents a challenge for school therapists.

Method. In this study, ethnographic research methodology was used to analyze the plethora of data gained from observations in eight classrooms.

Results. Three major categories were identified to structure observations: activities, people, and communication. These categories were used to compile a Classroom Observation Guide that gives therapists relevant questions to ask in each category.

Conclusion. Using the Classroom Observation Guide, occupational therapists can recommend classroom activities that suit a particular teacher’s style. For example, working with a teacher who prefers structured activities with clear time and space boundaries for one specific purpose, a therapist might suggest organized sensorimotor games with a distinct purpose to be carried out for a given time period.