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The Pursuit of Good Habits

Gwyer, Jan; Hack, Laurita

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Journal of Physical Therapy Education: October 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 3

The 2013 Cerasoli lecturer and former editor of the Journal of Physical Therapy Education, Elizabeth Mostrom, provides in this issue an inspiring lecture for academic and clinical educators alike. In her lecture, “Life Lessons: Teaching for Learning That Lasts,” you will find an inspiring call to enhance the power of teaching by enriching the bonds between learner and teacher. Mostrom describes several methods to do this, including one method that challenges us to examine our own signature pedagogies in the categories suggested by Shulman1: habits of mind, heart, and hand; examples of teaching in each of these domains appear in this issue.

Analytical thinking, or habits of the mind, is investigated by 4 groups of authors in this issue. Brudvig et al contribute a much-needed systematic review of literature on critical thinking in health care professional students. These authors critique the methods used in these studies, including sample sizes, timing of assessments, and the outcome measures. This article speaks to the need for collaboration among researchers interested in this complex topic. Huhn, Black, Jensen, and Deutsch present an example of a collaborative research study to observe the critical thinking of students at 2 schools, before and after an instructional intervention. The Health Science Reasoning Test is used in this study, providing an opportunity for readers to assess a new outcome measure for our learners. Seif et al report on the use of educational technology, in the format of a learning management system, to develop an educational module focused on building clinical-reasoning skills in PT students. Huhn, McGinnis, Wainwright, and Deutsch continue their assessment of a virtual patient simulation case delivery method, reported initially in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education in 2011,2 by contrasting this method to a live case delivery method. Again, the outcomes of the educational interventions focused on the critical-thinking capabilities of the learners.

Fruth et al and Schreiber et al address the issue of knowledge translation in clinical practice. Both groups of authors describe an academic-clinical partnership, with mutual benefits. This commitment to help enhance the ability of our clinical colleagues to make wise judgments can be considered pedagogy that enhances the habits of the heart by seeing the potential for change and growth. Fruth et al’s work describes the role students can play in delivering content on evidence-based practice to clinicians via 3 methods. Schreiber et al provide a case study—taught by academic faculty—that focuses on a longitudinal, multimodal continuing education program for a small group of clinicians.

To build skillful practice in learners, or habits of hand, Boucher et al present a method/model article describing a “flipped” classroom approach to building knowledge and skills in the management of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. Stevens et al contribute needed knowledge in their analysis of 3 methods of setting pass points to grade students’ skilled performance on standardized patient assessments—important knowledge for all faculty developing such summative assessments.


1. Shulman LS. Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus. 2005;134(3):52-59.
2. Huhn K, Deutsch J. Development and assessment of a web-based patient simulation program. J Phys Ther Educ. 2011;23(1):5-10.
Copyright2013 (C) Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA