Occupational Therapy Communities of Interest

 

I have been doing a bit of reading about communities of interest and thinking about how belonging to such communities contributes to and enhances the experiences we have.

The literature describes communities of interest as being people with a collective perspective, a common; identity, purpose, and concerns. And importantly they are about sharing and social interaction between the people in them. How well the community works is seen to have an effect on the well being of the people.

Working in an occupational therapy school (you could probably substitute any type of school) the role we have to establish, maintain and grow the community of staff and students is a complex one. Ensuring everyone from the newest of students, to staff who have been within education for some time all feel apart of this same community.

The curriculum we have plays a large part in enabling students and staff to develop a collective perspective, an occupational therapy identity etc. But perhaps of equal importance is the other things that happen within the school e.g the events, the structures and of course the environment which contribute to ensuring we have a strong community of interest. A community that assists students and staff through the hard times, which celebrates the good times, and has a positive effect on everyone’s sense of well being.

My reading would indicate that communities work best when the people in the community feel that their; views are heard, where they are a part of the decision making, where they have a sense of belonging, unity, affinity and compatibility.

I see our challenge as one of ensuring we have not only the best curriculum we can, but ensuring the environment and the other activities within the school also work to develop a positive community of interest inclusive of both students and staff.

This isn’t rocket science and isn’t new, however sometimes it’s good to stop refocus, and reset priorities.

I believe the same thinking applies to teams of occupational therapists in practice.

These URL’s helped shape the thinking in this blog:

http://crawford.osu.edu/cd/cd/myweb2/concept_of_communities_of_interest.htm

http://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au/Files/CommissionsTribunals/bconcept.pdf

Island off St Clair


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