Building an ethos of scholarship in massage therapy: strategies for fostering learning within an emerging health care profession
Publish Date: Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Smith, J. & Smith, D.

Presentation: Platform Presentation - Spotlight on Tertiary Teaching and Learning: Colloquium for the Southern Region, (Dunedin, NZ)

In 1913, the Otago Medical School established the School of Massage and offered an 18-month Certificate in Massage. This School has evolved into the current School of Physiotherapy, which is recognised as an international leader in physiotherapy education. Today, massage therapy has developed as a specific complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) health service, distinct from physiotherapy, and is one of the fastest growing areas of this sector of the health industry. Mirroring physiotherapy and other health professions, the educational requirements for massage therapy are also increasing. In December 2008, Southern Institute of Technology will award a Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage (BTSM) to its 5th cohort of graduates.

However, with resistance to higher education, a reculturing is required to establish knowledge as a core value together with skills (technical and personal) and experience. Learning and knowledge sharing within the BTSM degree and beyond needs to be deliberately cultivated and sustained to generate a professional learning community and increase academic engagement and performance. This session provides an open forum for participants to exchange experiences or expertise in the evolution and development of professional knowledge and educational programmes. The purpose is to identify meaningful ways to develop attitudes, skills, knowledge and communities (students, teachers, alumni, industry) to foster an ethos of scholarship within an emerging discipline.