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Introduction to Practice Scholars

Introduction to Practice Scholars

By: Yvonne Thomas, December 2011

Community of Practice

  • “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” (Lave & Wegner, 1998)

  • a collection of people who engage on an ongoing basis on a common endeavour” (Wegner 2000)

Two conditions required

  • Shared experiences over time – mutual engagement

  • A commitment to a shared understanding – mutual sense making

Process of Social Learning

  • Domain – curriculum development

  • Community – shared engagement, interaction and learning

  • Practice – A shared repertoire of Occupational Therapy practice; development of resources, stories and tools

JCU Curriculum

  • Occupation is central

  • Responsive to the growing body of knowledge

  • Reflective of application in practice

  • From universal truth to plurality of concepts

  • Prepare students for complex and multifaceted health care practice

  • Future thinking

What is a Curriculum?

  • Not the development of content

  • Curriculum is the basis for further learning

  • Focus on encouraging students to learn

  • Not fixed or closed but fluid and open to new ideas

  • Focus on the development of capacity

Aims of an OT Curriculum

  • Capacity building for students

  • Practice scholars as professional champions

  • Promotes development of thinking, behaviour and attitudes of graduates

  • Assist students to navigate and negotiate complexity of multiple healthcare practices and possible employment opportunities now and the in the future

The Way Forward

The Essence of OT

  • Exists in the spaces between the Occupational therapist and the client. In this space knowledge grows and the meaning of the profession becomes known

  • Practice scholars provide a window into that space

  • Its not what we know as academics, or what you know as clinicians, or even what our clients know.  The real theory is in the space between

Iwama, 2011

  • “we are educating the future leaders of our profession and they will use and create their wisdom based on the first platform provided by the curriculum and experience of their education”

Community Outcomes (CO’s)

Process Outcomes

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Compromise

  • Conflict

  • Connections

Knowledge Outcomes

  • Concepts

  • Constructions

  • Collections

  • Contingencies


  • Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity: Cambridge University Press

  • Wegner (2000)