Research Article  |   July 2019
A National Survey of Learning Activities and Instructional Strategies Used to Teach Occupation: Implications for Signature Pedagogies
Author Affiliations
  • Sheama Krishnagiri, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Occupational Therapist, Private Practice, Reseda, CA.
  • Barb Hooper, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor, Program Director, and Division Chief, Occupational Therapy Doctorate Division, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; barbara.hooper@duke.edu
  • Pollie Price, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Occupational and Recreational Therapies, University of Utah College of Health, Salt Lake City.
  • Steven D. Taff, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Professional Education, Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.
  • Andrea Bilics, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Emeritus Professor, Worcester State University, Millis, MA.
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 2019
A National Survey of Learning Activities and Instructional Strategies Used to Teach Occupation: Implications for Signature Pedagogies
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 07 2019, Vol. 73, 7305205080p1-7305205080p11. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.032789
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 07 2019, Vol. 73, 7305205080p1-7305205080p11. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.032789
Abstract

Importance: Occupational therapy practitioners’ professional identities and distinctive contributions to health care connect essentially to their knowledge of occupation. Thus, the strategies educators use to convey occupation to students and the perspectives embedded in those strategies are critical topics for researchers.

Objective: To generalize findings from a previous qualitative study of how educators in 25 U.S. occupational therapy assistant and occupational therapy programs addressed occupation to a national sample of educators.

Design: As part of an exploratory sequential design, a national survey of U.S. occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educators explored activities and strategies used to teach occupation. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Setting: An online survey about educators’ practices in the academic education setting.

Participants: Occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educators (N = 1,590) from all programs in the United States. Of these, 634 returned surveys, 315 of which were complete and included in the analysis, for an overall response rate of 19.8%.

Results: Respondents identified similar learning activities and instructional strategies as those identified in the qualitative phase of the design. Most instruction was active and experiential, requiring students to integrate various skills and content areas. Definitions of occupation, as a basis for teaching, varied.

Conclusions and Relevance: The combined survey and qualitative results offered initial empirical support for occupational therapy’s proposed signature pedagogies and the importance of attending to the deep and implicit structures within those pedagogies. Such structures are believed to support students’ formation of a professional identity and an occupational perspective.

What This Article Adds: This study provides evidence for the instructional strategies that educators use to convey knowledge of occupation to students. The predominant strategies support proposed signature pedagogies in occupational therapy: relational learning, affective learning, and highly contextualized active learning.