Research Article  |   December 2017
Curriculum-Level Strategies That U.S. Occupational Therapy Programs Use to Address Occupation: A Qualitative Study
Author Affiliations
  • Barb Hooper, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Academic Program Director, and Director of Center for Occupational Therapy Education, Occupational Therapy Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins; barb.hooper@colostate.edu
  • Sheama Krishnagiri, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Occupational Therapist, Private Practice, Los Angeles, CA
  • Pollie Price, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Occupational and Recreational Therapies Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Stephen D. Taff, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy and Medicine; Director, Division of Professional Education, Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, MO
  • Andrea Bilics, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Emeritus Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 2017
Curriculum-Level Strategies That U.S. Occupational Therapy Programs Use to Address Occupation: A Qualitative Study
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2017, Vol. 72, 7201205050p1-7201205050p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.024190
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, December 2017, Vol. 72, 7201205050p1-7201205050p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.024190
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study’s objective was to describe curriculum-level strategies used to convey occupation to occupational therapy students.

METHOD. The study used a descriptive qualitative research design. Fifteen occupational therapy and 10 occupational therapy assistant programs participated in interviews, submitted curriculum artifacts such as syllabi and assignments, and recorded teaching sessions. Data were coded both inductively and deductively and then categorized into themes.

RESULTS. Occupational therapy programs designed strategies on two levels of the curriculum, infrastructure and implementation, to convey knowledge of occupation to students. The degree to which strategies explicitly highlighted occupation and steered instruction fluctuated depending on how differentiated occupation was from other concepts and skills.

CONCLUSION. Two arguments are presented about the degree to which occupation needs to be infused in all curricular elements. To guide curriculum design, it is critical for educators to discuss beliefs about how ubiquitous occupation is in a curriculum and whether curricular elements portray occupation to the extent preferred.