Permission to learn: Intentional use of art and object- mediated strategies to develop reflective professional skills.

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Journal of Occupational Therapy Education


Reflective practice is considered a highly valued graduate attribute in the field of occupational therapy. Occupational therapy educators influence and shape how students develop into reflective practitioners. Reflective practice requires a set of complex thinking skills that are typically focused on personal experiences and can be broken down into pre-requisite skills that aid in the teaching and learning process. This article introduces a six component Permissions model used with graduate level students during their first semester that combines experiential learning and pre-requisite skills of reflective practice. The model includes three broad domains: self-awareness, observation, and effective communication and six pre-requisite skills including: a) permission to slow down when necessary; b) permission for tolerating ambiguity; c) permission to notice, think, and ponder; d) permission to speak up; e) permission to listen with careful consideration of other’s thinking; and f) permission to respectfully build or challenge the ideas of others based on visual evidence. Using experiential learning methodologies of Lego Serious Play and Visual Thinking Strategies, faculty actively and explicitly teach the Permission model skills while simultaneously helping students to see the relevancy and transferability of the pre-skills to more advanced professional skills.