Physiotherapy students’ conceptions of skill at the beginning of their Bachelor studies
Kurunsaari, M., Piirainen, A., & Tynjälä, P. (2015). Physiotherapy students’ conceptions of skill at the beginning of their Bachelor studies. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 31 (4), 260-269. doi:10.3109/09593985.2014.996692
Published inPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
© 2015 Taylor & Francis
Skills have recently received widespread attention in education policy documents and discussions. This article reports the results of research on Bachelor’s degree physiotherapy students’ conceptions of skill at the beginning of their studies. The aim of the present study was to examine how beginning students understand skill, and the focus was on conceptions of skill in general rather than on any particular skills. The participants of the study were 35 physiotherapy students. The data were gathered within the first two weeks of their university studies. Specifically, requested essays written by the students were analyzed using the phenomenographic approach. The data-driven analysis yielded four descriptive categories which reflect the students’ conceptions of skill: (1) Talents; (2) Skills requiring individual practice; (3) Skills requiring social practice; and (4) Competence requiring collaboration. The categories form a hierarchy. The differences between the categories are described along seven themes of variation. The themes were named: (1) Acquisition; (2) Emotions; (3) Motivation; (4) Reflection; (5) Evaluation; (6) Agency; and (7) Social Environment. This hierarchical system of categories sheds new light on students’ understanding of the skill. The findings can be used as a basis for planning physiotherapy curricula, especially for designing skills education and training, and for supporting students along their educational path, especially in offering opportunities for students to reflect on their skill conceptions. Ultimately, physiotherapy students’ awareness of different skill conceptions and developing their skills to advise and treat will benefit patients. ...
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