Credentials Display

Morgan Nelson, OTD, OTR/L; Lisa Jaegers PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Quinn Tyminski OTD, OTR/L, BCMH; Niki Kiepek, PhD, MSc(OT), OT Reg(NS); Crystal Dieleman, PhD, BSc(OT), OT Reg(NS)


This study was designed to answer the question, “Does student recognition of the assumptions underlying occupational therapy practice increase after participation in guided exercises of critical reflection?” The project is grounded in critical occupational therapy (as first named by Whiteford and Townsend) to promote students to reflect actively on dominant disciplinary ideologies and self-reflect on how one’s social positionality impacts understandings of occupational participation. The concept of non-sanctioned occupations was drawn on as a means to facilitate changes in student recognition. A one group, quantitative pre/post design with six open-ended responses was undertaken with master’s-level students (N = 53) at two private universities. A learning module involving an interactive 90-min lecture with a pre-assigned reading and associated reflection guide was used to facilitate questioning of disciplinary ideologies. Even when introduced in small amounts, the use of critical occupational therapy in education shows benefits. Wilcoxon signed rank tests indicated the learning model increased student recognition of underlying personal assumptions. Thematic qualitative analysis confirmed these results and described patterns of change between pre/post surveys. This study demonstrates the potential for occupational therapy curricula to embed methods that instill critical self-reflection in emerging practitioners, with the promise of transforming clinical assessment and practice.