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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, Anisa Bayagon, Linda Lapenga, Darmoye McCorley, Julie Uptmore, Elizabeth Olowookere.

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.

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Recruitment poster

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Jou Yin Teoh
Jou Yin Teoh - I use co-production and participatory methologies including the Kawa Model to scrutinise, challenge, resist and repair systemic injustices impacting occupational therapy workforce learning and development in the UK. My work in this regard has received the University's highest accolades for ‘exceptional contribution to teaching and student experience’ - winning the Brunel Student-Led Awards and Ken Darby-Dowman prize. Additionally, my research on co-producing inclusive learning was shortlisted for the BUL Research Impact Awards in the Educational Impact category; as well as the NHS England Chief Allied Health Officers' Award for Leadership in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. I am the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for the Occupational Therapy Division with primary responsibilities for Racial and Cultural Equity, Digital Accessibility, as well as Support for International / Migrant Students and Staff. My PhD exploring the Hidden Curriculum of Occupational Therapy Education is pending completion, supported by the supervisory committee of of Dr Sofia Barbosa Bouças (Division of Psychology), Dr Geeta Ludhra (Dept of Education) Dr Terry Roberts (Division of Bioscienes) and Dr Michael Iwama (Duke University, USA). Some of my career highlights include: Chair of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Learning and Development Board (2023-2025) Fellow with the Council of Deans of Health, first occupational therapist to be appointed as part of the inaugural cohort (2022-2023). Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy at Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College (2016-2017), first woman of minoritized ethnoreligious background to be appointed in this position in the history of Malaysian Higher Education Pre-academia: 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-centered approaches to build and run systems that contribute towards addressing disparities that affect health and well-being. I also contribute towards the wider academic and professional community via the following: Editorial Board member for peer-reviewed journals: the Phillipine Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Neuroscience Research Notes. Mentoring with Academic Intersectionality Mentoring in Medical Schools and BAMEOTUK Network

Partnering with confidence

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 30/10/2023