Curriculum-Level Strategies That U.S. Occupational Therapy Programs Use to Address Occupation: A Qualitative Study

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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.

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