Document Type (Journals)

Educational Innovations


Teaching intervention planning is enhanced with an intentional course design that incorporates critical thinking in order to prepare the next generation of occupational therapy practitioners. The context for this study was a physical disabilities intervention course for an entry-level occupational therapy program that used Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning as a basis for learning outcomes. A novel formative intervention planning assignment required students to use the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System (RTSS) as a framework to guide their thinking. A qualitative retrospective content analysis of student reflections at the end of the course revealed that the RTSS added value to their learning. Two main themes emerged from the student reflections; Growth takes Practice to use this framework effectively and the RTSS was perceived as a Bridge from Classroom to Practice. These findings support the possible benefits of integrating this framework into occupational therapy curricula as a means to help students further develop critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. Providing opportunities to scaffold learning may enhance the student learning experience and integration of the framework into future intervention planning and delivery.


Tracey E. Recigno, PhD, OTD, OTR/L is the program director for the developing entry-level OTD program at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu. Her scholarship focuses on occupational therapy student leadership development and teaching and learning. At the time of the study, Dr. Recigno was an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University.

Alison Bell, OTD, OTR/L is an associate professor of occupational therapy at Thomas Jefferson University. Her scholarly interests include pedagogical tools that enhance student learning and activity-based intervention planning for adults with neurologic injuries.

Mary Ferraro, PhD, OTR/L is a research associate at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute who has participated in RTSS research efforts for over 12 years. She is also the coordinator for the Moss Rehab Fellowship in Physical Rehabilitation as well as an education coordinator for the hospital’s brain injury program.

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.