Handwriting Lab: An Occupational Therapy-Led Program to Foster Teacher Readiness Toward Evidence-Based Practices




Nunez, Elizabeth

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Background. The gap between evidence-based recommendations for handwriting instruction and current classroom practices demands attention to the context of teachers as primary stakeholders in successful translation of the vast knowledge on handwriting. Existing handwriting programs are not feasible without consideration of the teacher implementing the program. Methods. Kindergarten teachers participated in an 8-week handwriting lab aimed at improving handwriting intervention. The teachers engaged with the occupational therapist (OT) on campus in pre- and post- intervention knowledge- and perspective-sharing, including coaching on ready-made materials. The teachers were then monitored weekly across the implementation of a motor learning-based and a structured set of systematic daily steps for teaching the lowercase letters. Data was also collected on changes in students’ letter writing. Results. Two consenting kindergarten teachers completed the program. Teacher outcomes indicated favorable results toward the success and feasibility of the program’s methods. Teachers experienced positive changes in their commitment to evidence-based handwriting instruction. Quantitative data on student outcomes also revealed positive changes in students’ ability to write lowercase letters. Discussion. As seen through this program, the lack of application of evidence-based knowledge on handwriting can be feasibly addressed by supporting teacher readiness throughout the intervention. Conclusion. The specific teacher-focused methods of the Handwriting Lab translated to positive changes for teachers and students. Translation of knowledge on handwriting into the complex clinical arena of the school setting is a critical area for the ongoing application of the holistic lens of occupational therapy.



Teacher-focused handwriting intervention, motor planning