Development of a humanities-informed course on aging in occupational therapy
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Many health professions are exploring the unique qualities of humanities for insights about humanistic practices, however humanities-based pedagogy has particular relevance to occupational therapy. Given the pressures to standardize and rely on quantitative evidence in occupational therapy practice, it is particularly important to provide students with a strong foundation in humanistic principles that are at the core of the profession. This doctoral project used the pedagogy of John Dewey and evidence in health humanities to develop a humanities-informed course in occupational therapy titled, Perspectives on Disability and Health and Older Adults. The course design integrates physical and biological sciences, social sciences and humanities to offer multi-focal insights into the perspectives of others, and to foster self-awareness and reflexivity. Students will engage with interdisciplinary faculty and older adults in experiences with visual art, performance, and literature to explore human experiences relating to occupation. The course aims for students to advance their understanding of the artistry of practice, to foster client-centered practice, and to advance critical thinking. An evaluation using both formative and summative methods will be used to improve the course and assess its impact on students. The project provides an example for other faculty who are inspired to use humanities to teach client centeredness, artistry of practice and critical thinking. Deweyan informed humanities based learning may contribute to wise occupational therapy practices and growth of the profession.