header
The curriculum plan of the Olympic College PTA Program represents an organized, sequential and integrated experience. Students are initially instructed in basic theory, progress to basic skills and then begin to integrate both theory and skills into the laboratory setting. The overall format utilizes the concept of a spiral curriculum to reinforce basic knowledge and skills throughout the program, continually integrating new material while relying upon retention of previously learned information. Within this curricular format, a predominance toward situational learning is critical to students achieving objectives both academically and clinically. Based on the strong theme of community service and enrichment imbedded in both the Olympic College and PTA program mission statements, students are strongly encouraged to participate actively in the curriculum. This curricular interaction by students subscribes to the theory of social learning, in which students observe their instructors and each other before progressing to more challenging clinical settings in which they can begin to demonstrate proficiency of knowledge and skills. Sequentially, the students are instructed in normative material before learning abnormal components. Sequential course coordination is evident in the orthopedic and neurological components, with pathology taught in the quarter preceding procedures/intervention in both areas of study. Clinical experiences are sequenced toward the end of the program after a foundation for theory and applied skills,developed in a practical laboratory setting, have been established. Initially clinical courses focus on a combination of observational and interactive skills, typically on a part-time basis. The courses progressively incorporate more hands-on participation by the student, culminating in fulltime terminal clinical experiences in which students are expected to achieve the level of entry level PTA as evidenced by the clinical education assessment tool.