The impact of international service learning on classroom performance in DPT students.

Allison Grace Guitar, Jamie Haines

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


<br><b>Introduction</b><br>International Service Learning (ISL) improves communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and cultural competence in Doctor of Physical Therapy students.<sup>1-8</sup> Students get exposure to the role of healthcare around the world, which often confirms professional role identity.<sup>9</sup> Although the impact of these types of experiences are widely documented, this is the first study to look at the impact of ISL experiences on students once they return to the classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact on classroom performance in Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students who participated in a 2-week ISL experience.<br><b>Methods</b><br>Thirteen first and second year DPT students participated in individual interviews after participating in a two-week ISL trip to Central America. Constant comparative analysis identified major themes from the interviews.<br><b>Results </b><br>The ISL experience positively affected students’ overall confidence, communication, and adaptability both during classroom interactions and lab practicals. Students reported that the ISL experience had little to no impact on study habits, written exam performance, or time management skills during didactic work.<br><b>Discussion </b><br> The ISL experience offered a plethora of opportunities for students to foster skills related to communication and adaptability, which affected overall student confidence in these areas. These ‘soft skills’ needed for effective physical therapy practice can be challenging to develop in a classroom setting, while students have generally mastered test-taking strategies and study skills with success prior to entering the DPT curriculum. ISL appears to foster self-reliance, autonomy in decision-making, and self-value in students as future clinicians.<br><b>Conclusion</b><br>ISL has a positive impact on student confidence, communication, and adaptability, both in and out of the classroom. This study provides evidence that ISL can be a beneficial tool in DPT programs to foster desired attributes along the curricular continuum.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Oct 5 2018
EventMichigan Physical Therapy Association Fall Conference - Traverse City, MI
Duration: Oct 5 2018Oct 5 2018


ConferenceMichigan Physical Therapy Association Fall Conference


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