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Hidden curriculum of Occupational Therapy practice education

This research project is the first in the UK to examine the hidden curriculum of occupational therapy education.

This study seeks to generate descriptions and understandings of the hidden curriculum of occupational therapy practice education in London NHS settings through an intersectional lens, foregrounding the experiences of learners from multiply disadvantaged backgrounds. Study participants are required to be currently enrolled students OR recent graduates (one year or less) from full-time undergraduate Occupational Therapy education programmes in London who identify as multiply disadvantaged in terms of two or more of the following: migration status, race, ethnicity, language, disability / neurodivergence, religion, socio-economic status, age, gender, and sexuality.

The ‘hidden curriculum’ refers to ‘unintended learning gained through inconsistencies between the formal and informal or implicit and explicit curriculum’. It is not explicitly taught (e.g., in formal university-based learning, policies and training offered at the practice education setting, and by various people including practice placement educators) but learnt through experience, or knowledge gained from experiences that are inconsistent to that which have been taught.

A better understanding of the inconsistencies between practice and university learning, as viewed through the lens of multiple disadvantages, will help to advance knowledge around how to better facilitate inclusive practice education environments that support student occupational therapists of diverse backgrounds.

The following student researchers are involved in co-producing this project: Amy Middleton, Daniel Tointon, Matthew Chan, Joanne Chun, Chloe Casady.

Findings from this research project have the potential to be of benefit to occupational therapy educators involved in university-based and/or practice-based learning, as well as professional, statutory and regulatory bodies relevant to occupational therapy education.

Sign up to participate in this study

Share your practice placement experiences in a 60- to 90-minute online interview
Share your practice placement experiences in a 60- to 90-minute online interview

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Jou Yin Teoh - My teaching, research and graduate student supervision is focused on advancing social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in global healthcare workforce education and development. I am a recipient of the 2022 Council of Deans of Health Fellowship and was awarded BUL's highest accolades for exceptional contribution to teaching and student experience in 2020 / 2021: the Ken Darby-Dowman Memorial Prize as well as highest score for the Brunel Union of Students Student-Led Awards. Prior to my current appointment with the Occupational Therapy Division (also known as the London School of Occupational Therapy, est. 1934) at Brunel University London (BUL); I worked at Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College as a Lecturer and Professional Lead of Occupational Therapy - the first woman of minoritized ethnoreligious background to hold this position in the history of Malaysian Higher Education. Pre-academia, I was an occupational therapy entrepreneur with a special interest in social innovation for public health in the Global South; particularly in the integration of digital and community-centred approaches to build and run systems that contribute towards addressing disparities that affect health and well-being. I am an editorial board member for the following peer-reviewed academic journals: the Phillipine Journal of Allied Health Sciences, Neuroscience Research Notes and Sports & Health Research Notes. I am also a Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). My PhD titled The Hidden Curriculum of Occupational Therapy Education is pending completion, funded by BUL and the Elizabeth Casson Trust, and supported by the supervisory committee of Dr Sofia Barbosa Bouças (Division of Psychology), Dr Geeta Ludhra (Dept of Education), Dr Michael Iwama (Duke University, USA), and Dr Terry Roberts (Division of Bioscienes).

Partnering with confidence

UKRI Research England

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 14/04/2023