Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Physical Therapist Education

Article excerpt

In this special issue of the Journal of Physical Therapy Education we discuss, expand, and explore the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) in physical therapist education. For the majority of papers, we have linked physical therapist educators with faculty members from other disciplines engaged in SoTL, and who have participated in the Carnegie Fellow program of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). This allows us to focus on the emergence and development of SoTL in general, and in physical therapist education in particular.

The first assumption of this special issue is that different disciplines will approach SoTL in different ways, ask different questions, and differ in their views of what counts as argument and evidence. The distinction between general observations about SoTL and the specific focus on physical therapy is an important one. We want to focus on the discipline of physical therapy and the way it organizes thinking about teaching and learning and how physical therapist educators approach critical inquiry into pedagogy. The discipline of physical therapy has its own history, agreements, and disputes about subject matter and methods that influence what is taught, to whom, when, where, how, and why.1

Contributors from the discipline of physical therapy will report on what has been going on in SoTL and answer the following broad questions: How do physical therapists talk about teaching and learning issues in their field? Is physical therapy concerned about advancing the practice and profession of teaching? Does physical therapy recognize SoTL as having the same intrinsic value as other forms of scholarship?

The second major assumption we make is that, even though SoTL may be "domainspecific," there is great richness in working across disciplines and finding common language or new ways to approach problems and reach resolutions. This special issue will be a sort of "trading zone" as described by Shulman,2 where scholars of teaching and learning seek advice, collaborate, discuss references and methods, and fill in the gaps in the discipline of physical therapy. We established partnerships between physical therapists and members of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), who hail from a variety of disciplines such as mathematics, American literature, psychology, women's studies, psychiatry, and education, in the hope that it will broaden our inquiry, provide perspective, and, in the long run, contribute to enhanced student understanding. The partners were not randomly assigned, as we looked for areas of mutual interest in teaching and learning as a starting point for discussion and inquiry.

The first 3 articles herein provide a background and overview of the basic components in SoTL applied to physical therapist education and practice. Ellen Spake, PT, PhD, and Anita Salem, MS, provide both an overview of the general characteristics of scholarly inquiry into teaching and learning, along with evidence of how this work is viewed by physical therapist educators. In their paper, "Setting the Stage: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning." Martha Hinman, PT, PhD, and Alix Darden, PhD, examine the role of SoTL in physical therapist education more specifically in "Beyond Scholarly Teaching: Opportunities for Engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Physical Therapist Education." They provide examples of how faculty scholarship in teaching and learning fits with faculty expectations in the accreditation criteria from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In addition, they describe opportunities for implementing SoTL in education programs. In the third paper, Cathy Peterson, PT, EdD, and Judith Haymore Sandholtz, PhD, focus on strategies for supporting and promoting SoTL with new faculty. The authors make a strong case by including examples of how to blur the boundaries between teaching and research. …