Document Type (Journals)



The concept of occupation-centered education has been used to describe what programs do when they infuse occupation throughout an occupational therapy curriculum. In describing occupation-centered education, educators often describe the strategies they use to help students learn occupation, including courses about occupation, direct experience with occupation, cases and questions that connect biomedical sciences and health conditions to occupation, assignments that require students to infuse occupation into therapy, curriculum threads related to occupation, and many others. While each of these strategies is important, no conceptual model exists that defines occupation-centered education, elaborates its concepts and principles, and guides the development of curriculum and instructional strategies, uniting them within a whole theoretical approach to teaching occupational therapy. Research has consequently demonstrated that occupation can remain hidden and implied in these and similar teaching and learning strategies. Further, the number of topics students must learn continues to explode and many are not profession-specific. Thus, students and educators alike need a learning framework that helps them intentionally relate multi-disciplinary topics to the distinct value of occupational therapy. The Subject-centered Integrative Learning Model (SCIL-OT) is a conceptual model that outlines the theoretical foundations, elements, and principles of occupation-centered education. This model thus offers a roadmap for curriculum and instructional design that seeks to place the concept of occupation at the center of all aspects of education.


Barb Hooper, PhD, OTR, FAOTA is an education researcher who seeks to define, explain and guide occupation-centered education. From her research on how educators implement occupation-centered education, Dr. Hooper developed the Subject-centered Integrative Learning model, which has served as the basis for her research and faculty development workshops for over a decade.

Matthew Molineux, BOccThy, MSc, PhD, MBA is a broadly recognized scholar of occupation and education. He has developed curricula in the UK and Australia that challenge students to connect practice to the profession’s core knowledge and philosophy. Dr. Molineux has demonstrated how an occupational perspective can inform education at all levels. The MSc program he developed was commended by accrediting bodies for the centrality of occupation.

Wendy Wood, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people on the profession during its first 100 years. One aspect of Dr. Wood's scholarship has been designing occupation-centered education; indeed, she first introduced the phrase "occupation-centered education" in the late 1990's. Other aspects of Dr. Wood's scholarship address professional issues, theory building (e.g. the Lived Environment Life Quality Model), occupationally enriching environments, among others. She currently serves as the research director of the Temple Grandin Equine Center at Colorado State University.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.