[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Learners gain additional value from community-based education when they are guided through a reflective process. The purpose of this article is to describe how structured reflection assignments and methods are incorporated in the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry's community-based DISC (Dentistry in Service to Communities) program. The following strategies are described as ways to enrich community-based learning experiences for dental students: photographic documentation; written narratives; critical incident reports; and mentored post-experiential small group discussions. Fieldwork and course-related examples are drawn from community-based dental experiences to illustrate how reflective teaching approaches can enhance student learning. A directed process of reflection is suggested as a way to increase the impact of the community learning experience.
Journal of dental education 12/2003; 67(11):1234-42. · 0.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dental schools are challenged to develop new learning methodologies and experiences to better prepare future dental practitioners. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the community-based experiences of dental students as documented in their critical incident essays and explore what learning outcomes and benefits students reported. Following two required community-based clinical rotations, each student wrote a reflection essay on a self-defined critical incident that occurred during the rotations. Rotations took place in settings such as a public health clinic, special needs facility, hospital, or correctional institution. Essays for two classes of students were content-analyzed for recurring themes and categories. Students were confronted in their rotations with a wide range of situations not typically encountered in dental academic settings. Their essays showed that, as a result of these rotations, students developed increased self-awareness, empathy, communications skills, and self-confidence. Critical incidents challenged assumptions and stereotypes, enhanced awareness of the complexities of dental care, and raised complex ethical dilemmas. The essays also illustrated a heightened sense of professional identity and enabled students to appreciate the role dentistry can play in impacting patients' lives. We concluded from the study that community-based dental education that includes a process for reflection holds promise as an educational strategy to facilitate the personal and professional development of future dentists.
Journal of dental education 06/2003; 67(5):515-23. · 0.97 Impact Factor