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The Jar of Truthiness

A Novel Class Activity to Develop Leaders With Integrity

Brown, Nathaniel A., PT, DPT, GCS; Luna, Sarah E., PT, DPT, GCS; LaLonde, Amanda N., PT, DPT, GCS

Journal of Physical Therapy Education: March 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 16–22
doi: 10.1097/JTE.0000000000000073
Case Report

Background and Purpose. Truthiness is a gut feeling of being true rather than being based on logic or factual evidence. This educational case report describes a novel class activity called the “Jar of Truthiness” (JoT) that aims to teach the important issues of academic and professional integrity within the affective domain.

Case Description. The activity was completed in 3 different ways in physical therapist education programs at 2 institutions. Students were asked to report their incidence of cheating during a specific quiz, or overall during their time in physical therapy school, by placing anonymous responses in a jar (the JoT). Two of the activities were completed during the first year of the program, the other activity was completed during the second year of the program.

Outcomes. Most students who participated in the activity reported they had cheated, and some students even reported they lied about whether they cheated. When the activity was repeated over time, the number of students admitting to cheating decreased significantly.

Discussion and Conclusion. Students responded positively and were able to link academic integrity to professional integrity when the JoT activity was centered around one specific quiz and completed early in the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum. Students experienced negative emotions when the activity was held during the second year and when they were asked broadly about sharing information on any assessment in the program. The JoT activity facilitated class discussions about professional development and stimulated learning within the affective domain. Also, the activity appears to work best during the students' early professional formation so that it can help to frame a culture of integrity within their class cohort.

Nathaniel A. Brown, the University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway, CPO, San Antonio, TX 78209 ( Please address all correspondence to Nathaniel A. Brown.

Sarah E. Luna, the University of the Incarnate Word.

Amanda N. Lalonde, the University of Minnesota.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received April 09, 2018

Accepted August 05, 2018

Copyright 2019 © Academy of Physical Theraphy Education
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