Occupational therapists routinely use teaching–learning approaches to support clients in their acquisition of skills supporting occupational performance goals. This paper is the first of a two‐part presentation that positions teaching–learning in occupational therapy through a discussion of the Four‐Quadrant Model of Facilitated Learning (4QM). The 4QM provides a means of informing clinical reasoning when using teaching–learning approaches in occupational therapy. Although developed to actualise teaching–learning approaches with children, it has the potential to be applied more broadly. This first paper explores the relationship between occupational therapy principles and the use of teaching–learning approaches. It draws on current literature to understand the use of learning strategies as therapeutic tools. In this context, the 4QM is presented as a way of organising occupational therapy intervention when a teaching–learning approach is used.