Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Fieldwork (FW) plays a crucial role in occupational therapy (OT) education by fostering students to become competent entry-level practitioners. Reflective journaling promotes increased competence in OT FW students. The Kawa Model can be used as a journaling framework that uses metaphorical illustrations to self-reflect. It has been described as useful in multiple contexts. No study has yet investigated the use of the Kawa Model as a self-reflection tool with OT FW students. Video self-reflections of their Kawa Model drawings and audio recorded semi-structured interviews were used to explore Level II FW students’ perceptions of the usefulness of the Kawa Model. Seven themes emerged from the qualitative analysis, all pivoting around the concept of the usefulness of the Kawa model for self-reflection and the model’s ability to authentically represent the OT students’ Level II FW experience. Overall, the results suggest that Level II FW students find the Kawa Model useful for self-reflection. The students reported that the structure and metaphorical illustrations used in the Kawa model were true to their professional growth during their FW experience. The Kawa Model may be a unique way to foster OT students’ authentic view and appreciation of all relevant and meaningful aspects of their FW journey.


Terri Blakely, OTD, BScOT, OTR/L is a school-based occupational therapist with 24 years of clinical experience in school-based practice, rehabilitation, and acute care. She completed her Bachelors of Science at Ohio State University in 1996 and her post-professional occupational therapy doctorate at Thomas Jefferson University in 2021. She intends to continue to explore the value of the Kawa Model as a self-reflective tool in occupational therapy education as well as school-based practice.

Marie-Christine Potvin, PhD, MHS, BScOT, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist with 25 years of clinical and 16 years of academic experience. She is an associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University. She completed her PhD at McGill University and a postdoc at the University of Vermont. She is committed to supporting OT students is developing the competence to be accomplished clinicians, including their growth during fieldwork.

Michael Iwama, PhD, MSc, BScOT is the author of the Kawa Model. He is an occupational therapist and academician who served as Dean and Professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at MGH Institute of Health Professions. The Kawa Model is the newest substantial model in occupational therapy. It is now taught in more than 600 occupational therapy and health professions education programs internationally and used in practice across 6 continents.

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.