The role of peer-facilitated reflection in critical incident analysis amongst physical therapist assistant students



Thompson, I
(2018) The role of peer-facilitated reflection in critical incident analysis amongst physical therapist assistant students. Doctor of Education thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

This research examines the role that peer-facilitated reflection (PFR) plays in influencing the abilities of physical therapist assistant (PTA) students to cope with critical incidents in their academic and clinical coursework. Physical therapist assistants are expected to possess well-developed critical thinking abilities upon graduation that will guide them through professional practice. Several scholars contend that critical thinking abilities should be developed within the curriculum, and that they are best cultivated through reflective practice. However, traditional modes of curricular-based reflective practice have come under scrutiny, revealing shortcomings in their efficacy. These include: a theory-practice gap, ineffective facilitation, and deficient models of assessment. Consequently, a model of PFR was proposed as a more utile reflective approach to develop critical thinking amongst PTA students. An interpretivist investigation was carried out through an action research methodology using Flanagan’s critical incident technique, which favors reflection and planning based upon a significant event. Peer-reflective discussions were implemented into the curriculum of a PTA program. Student participants collectively reflected and developed action plans to put into practice. Data gleaned from post-discussion interviews and questionnaires was examined in light of the criticisms levied against reflective practice and was used to determine the effectiveness of the PFR approach. Findings indicated that students viewed PFR positively, and that they felt the discussion helped them cope with challenges confronted in their academic program. Observational analysis revealed challenges with facilitating reflective discussions, such as having faculty present and keeping discussions focused. Ameliorating steps were implemented for subsequent The Role of Peer-Facilitated Reflection iv discussions that removed faculty from the reflective process and that trained students to effectively lead their own discussions. An assessment model was adapted for this study that examined outcomes based upon the students’ own assessments. Though still in its development, it offers promise as a means for faculty and students to interpret the efficacy of reflective approaches. Finally, study findings informed practice recommendations for the implementation of pedagogical PFR in an academic PTA program. These include affording flexibility for discussion topics, conducting student-led discussions, managing discussion frequency and group composition, and encouraging faculty participation. Keywords: Reflective practice, peer-facilitated reflection, critical thinking, physical therapy, physical therapist assistant, action research, critical incident analysis

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Education)
Divisions: Fac of Humanities & Social Sci > School of Education
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2018 16:46
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2021 05:20
DOI: 10.17638/03023602
Supervisors:
  • McGugan, Stuart
  • Gough, Martin
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3023602