Moving forth: Imagining physiotherapy education differently Academic Article uri icon


  • Contemporary and future physiotherapists are, and will be, presented with challenges different to their forebears. Yet, physiotherapy tends to remain tied to historical ways of seeing the world: these are passed down to generations of physiotherapy graduates. These historical perspectives privilege particular knowledge and skills so that students gain competency for graduation. However, contemporary practice is inherently more complex than the focus on knowledge and skills would have us believe. Professional life requires students to develop the capability to deal with uncertain and diverse futures. This paper argues that physiotherapy needs to think differently about entry-level education; the focus on knowledge and competencies that has been the mainstay in physiotherapy education must now be understood in the context of an education that embraces knowing, doing, being. Two educational frameworks are offered in support of this argument - threshold concepts and ways of thinking and practicing (WTP). Taken together, these ideas can assist physiotherapy to think in fresh ways about disciplinary learning. Threshold concepts and WTP help to understand the nature of a discipline: its behaviors, culture, discourses, and methods. By interrogating the discursive aspects of the discipline, physiotherapy educators will be better placed to provide more relevant preparation for practice.

publication date

  • 2017