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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teaching and learning perspectives of clinical instructors within a Canadian dental hygiene program Waldron, Shannon Kerry


Entry to Practice Competencies and Standards is a document that sets the guidelines of curriculum for all Canadian dental hygiene programs. Within the document, a competency-based curricular aim is emphasized. As contemporary educational literature have been suggesting, student centered learning has become a dominant guiding principle of pedagogical approaches for competency-based education. With shifting curricular aims and pedagogical principles many current educators of dental hygiene programs may be teaching new curricula different to that which they experienced when they were students in dental hygiene programs. Furthermore, many of them may be expected to implement pedagogical approaches that are different from how they were taught due to traditional conceptions of how people learn. This study explores the perspectives on teaching and learning held by clinical dental hygiene instructors at one Canadian institution. The objective is to understand which teaching and learning perspectives dental hygiene instructors hold. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with fifteen instructors. The results show that instructors tend to think of their teaching as student-centered, yet in a set of 'simulated teaching' questions, the responses were found to be teacher-centered. The research also revealed that the process by which one learns to become a clinical dental hygiene instructor is multifactorial. These factors include but are not limited to the following: instructors' perceptions of their own learning experiences, instructors' experiences of inter- instructor collaboration, and instructors' methods of facilitating student self-efficacy. Given curricular change and the emergence of literature supporting a student-centered approach to teaching and learning, this study shows that it is critical to uncover the teaching/learning beliefs of the instructor's prior to designing faculty development programs. Integrating instructors'preconceptions into the program design may create an environment that is more accommodating of the transition towards the new pedagogical culture.

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