Research Article  |   January 2017
Explicit or Hidden? Exploring How Occupation Is Taught in Occupational Therapy Curricula in the United States
Author Affiliations
  • Sheama Krishnagiri, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Occupational Therapist, Private Practice, Los Angeles, CA
  • Barb Hooper, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor and Academic Program Director, Occupational Therapy Department, and Director, Center for Occupational Therapy Education, Colorado State University, Fort Collins; barb.hooper@colostate.edu
  • Pollie Price, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Steven D. Taff, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Professional Education and Academic Affairs, Occupational Therapy Program, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • Andrea Bilics, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Emeritus Professor, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Education
Research Article   |   January 2017
Explicit or Hidden? Exploring How Occupation Is Taught in Occupational Therapy Curricula in the United States
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2017, Vol. 71, 7102230020p1-7102230020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.024174
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2017, Vol. 71, 7102230020p1-7102230020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.024174
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Occupation is considered core and threshold knowledge for occupational therapy, yet how it is conveyed through education is not well understood. This study examined how the concept of occupation was taught in occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant curricula in the United States.

METHOD. Using a qualitative descriptive research design, in-depth interviews, video recordings, and artifacts of teaching occupation were collected from 25 programs, chosen using stratified random sampling. Interview data were analyzed using an inductive, constant comparative approach; video and artifact data were analyzed deductively using findings from the interviews.

RESULTS. Instructional methods were innovative and ranged from didactic to experiential. The degree to which occupation was present in instruction ranged from explicit to implicit to absent.

CONCLUSION. Although educators valued teaching occupation, the concept was still elusive in some instructional methods and materials. Occupation knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge may have influenced how explicitly occupation was taught.