A Way of Seeing: How Occupation Is Portrayed to Students When Taught as a Concept Beyond Its Use in Therapy

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The concept of occupation is core to learning occupational therapy, yet how occupation is taught has not been widely studied. We explored how occupation is addressed in 25 U.S. occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant programs.


We used a basic qualitative research design, collecting data through interviews, artifacts, and video recordings of teaching. We secondarily analyzed 8 programs in which occupation was taught beyond its application in practice.


Educators portrayed occupation as (1) a way of seeing self (students learn about themselves as occupational beings), (2) a way of seeing others (students learn about others as occupational beings), and (3) a way of seeing the profession (students learn occupation as the central focus of occupational therapy). Varied learning experiences promoted these perspectives.


Three concepts—subject-centered learning, threshold concepts, and transformative learning—formed the theoretical foundation for teaching occupation as a way of seeing.


Price, P., Hooper, B., Krishnagiri, S., Taff, S. D., & Bilics, A. (2017). A way of seeing: How occupation is portrayed to students when taught as a concept beyond its use in therapy.

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