Web Quest Topic / Nutritional Counseling and Oral Health Instruction

In the dental profession their is a huge emphasis placed on continuing education.  It is critical that a dental assistant stay current in skills such as CPR and infection control protocol.  With that being said I think there is also opportunity to educate our patients and lead by example. I started to research as to what type of web quest might be helpful to my students.  Nutritional counseling and oral health instruction are services that can be provided by a dental person that is licensed and working within a province.  Once a student becomes comfortable with the theory that supports this, there is opportunity for chair side conversation and demonstration.   A web quest could be used to  enhance students  learning in this area. Although this theory is taught in several different courses,  the web quest can be used as a learning tool, targeting key points including patient management.  Caries risk will be substantially reduced by using proper brushing and flossing technique. Students need to have an understanding as to how brushing frequency, regular hygiene   appointments and diet considerations are part of good oral health.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11794563.  This can also be incorporated into the nutritional counseling conversation that patients can benefit from. http://www.drcivils.com/wellness/nutritional-counseling.php  It is important that the student understand the audience  that they are teaching to.  There is an opportunity for the students  to teach their patients by engaging in conversation and using oral aids and or props to help with a chair side demonstration.  This is done in a pre-clinical  setting with the students collaborating.  Both peer and instructor evaluation is used for practical assessment. http://www.smilemakerscanada.com  When the students are beginning their learning journey there can be information overload.  By using key words, and props the student is able  to instruct their peers and eventually patients effectively. When patients understand the positive effects that optimum hygiene habits have on oral health they are more likely to practice it.

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flipping the classroom

The article I read on Flipping the Classroom; touches on different learning styles and how successful students are in certain environments.  I think specific courses/topics lend themselves to various teaching methods.  Because we all learn differently, as instructors we are not doing our jobs if we don’t try new approaches.  Even though we might not be comfortable with facilitating it, it allows us to learn from each other.  The most successful learners are the ones that take responsibility for their own learning.  By having courses more compatible with varied learning styles, students develop their own skills. They will chose resources that help them learn best and challenge them in their own learning journey. Creating an environment that supports and engages all types of learners is key. When an instructor can maximize their classroom time,  observe their learners, and provide individual support and feed back the students experience will be that much better!

Student Centered Approaches

The article I read was “How Embedded Technology Is Inspiring Student-Centered Learning” it definitely sparked my curiosity. I think students are motivated by  teachers who demonstrate a willingness to learn new things and move out of their own comfort zone. I try and model my own love of learning to the students I teach.  I think it is important that students understand that I too am always learning and will also learn from them.  By being fearful of the unknown whether it be technology or any other possible barrier; there is an energy that is used up.  As the article suggested I am one who is not always comfortable with the technology that is being used.  I think it is pivotal to have good systems in place that will allow the learning to take place. Teachers and students need to be supported. Based on the article an example of this is the support systems that the teachers have access to.  There is training provided in-house with videos, and  activities  that allow the teacher to feel more comfortable in their role.  Passion and enthusiasm in any subject area is contagious. The students are engaged and excited to learn.

Having immediate feedback with assessment tools allows for early intervention. Whether it be specifically for a student that is struggling on perhaps a concept that needs to be retaught. There is less chance of someone falling through the cracks if problems are detected early.

I also like the fact that there is a standardization.  Schools with low income families have access to the same things that higher income families have.  Having taught at  a regional campus there are certain things that we don’t have access to based on location and funding alone. It is our job to teach what industry demands and because everything is constantly changing keeping up can be a challenge.  In a  profession such as dentistry where technology and material are very expensive finding the balance can be difficult. In the clinic I work in students are taught how to use radiograph software however there is not  a digital x-ray machine.  Students only become proficient once they have gone out into industry where they are using it all the time.

Having a vision of the programs goals and having current curriculum is key.  I think instructors have to have adequate skills and evaluations processes must be timely and fair.  I find this true especially where there a number instructors teaching multiple pieces of courses or clinical experiences.  Collaboration is key and when a learning environment models the setting of a real-world patient care the student benefits and identifies what they need to be successful.