A pedagogical investigation of an occupation focused teaching tool; teaching-learning the complex concept of occupation

Howarth, Joan (2020) A pedagogical investigation of an occupation focused teaching tool; teaching-learning the complex concept of occupation. Doctoral thesis, University of Cumbria.

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Background: The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (2019a) state that “… occupation must be the core of every occupational therapy pre-registration curriculum, into which all other subjects are integrated. The centrality of occupation in human life and in the occupational therapy curriculum must be made explicit for learners to experience the transformative potential of occupation” (p. 3). However, the concept of occupation is acknowledged as complex and multifaceted (Pierce, 2001), which makes it challenging for educators to develop students’ understanding of the concept (Hocking, 2009).
Aims: To investigate the pedagogic use of a newly developed occupation focused teaching tool. To critically explore the influence of the teaching tool on development of occupational therapy students’ knowledge and understanding of the concept of occupation.
Method: This study is informed by a grounded theory approach. The research consists of two distinct phases of investigation; Phase I and Phase II. Phase I consisted of twelve semi-structured teaching observations, used to investigate the pedagogical impact of the teaching tool on student learning. Phase II consisted of four peer-learning observations, in which students worked together, to investigate their use of the teaching tool; exploring a case scenario; the influence of the teaching tool on the development of understanding of the concept of occupation.
Eighty-two participants were involved in this research; fifty-seven student-participants in Phase I, twenty-four student-participants in Phase II, and one participant-researcher in each phase. In Phase I, six student-participant groups involved first year pre-registration
occupational therapy students, who had no prior learning regarding the concept of occupation. An additional six student-participant groups involved final year pre-registration occupational therapy students who had prior knowledge of the teaching tool. All Phase I student-participants were recruited from one U.K. University (Higher Education Institute - H.E.I. 1).
Four student-participant groups were recruited in Phase II. Two participant groups involved second year occupational therapy students studying at Bachelor level at H.E.I. 1. These student-participants had received teaching regarding the concept of occupation through use of the teaching tool in the first year of their education. The remaining two participant groups recruited occupational therapy students from a second U.K. based H.E.I. (H.E.I. 2). These student-participants were enrolled on a Master pre-registration occupational therapy programme. They had received initial education regarding the concept of occupation, though not through the use the teaching tool.
Phase I: Findings demonstrate student-participants gained knowledge of the concept of occupation, as understood by the profession of occupational therapy, through an academic’s use of the teaching tool. Provision of a dynamic, physical model of the concept afforded visual identification of the multitude of internal components of occupation, thus aiding student-participants’ knowledge development.
Phase II: Findings demonstrate student-participants developed understanding of occupation through their own use of the teaching tool in exploration of a client-based scenario. Hence, the teaching tool has capacity to be used by students in tutor-supported collaborative-
learning events. Furthermore, occupational therapy student-participants, with no prior knowledge of the teaching tool, recognised the tool as representative of the professional understandings of occupation as a concept.
The occupation focused teaching tool enhances the development of knowledge, and understanding, of the professional conceptualisation of occupation. The teaching tool enables the concept of occupation to be treated as a threshold concept. Use of the teaching tool through employment of an active learning approach, supports the use of pedagogic methods of analogies and storytelling, thus, enhancing student learning.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Doctoral)
Departments: Centre for Research in Health and Society (CRIHS)
Depositing User: Christian Stretton
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 09:32
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 10:46
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/5647


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