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Evidence Area of Activity 1: Design and plan learning activities
Over the past five years in my dedicated practice as a qualified dentist, I have had myriad opportunities present themselves to allow me to take a lead role in the planning, designing and adjusting myriad programmes of study and learning activities to meet the standards prescribed by the UK Professional Standards Framework (UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) | Higher Education Academy). The student population under my guidance has been diverse, an occurrence that serves to widen my scope of experience in dealing with different cohorts of students in academic dentistry. Some of the significant contributions I have been able to make in the development of curriculum in dentistry are participating in elaborate schemes aiming to plan and coordinate the course in line with the NEBDN's syllabus and with the training needs of the students.
I have taken part in the programs that deal with the implementation of innovative teaching and learning approaches that include problem-based learning and self-directed learning. As a tutor, I take it as my responsibility to prepare and deliver course material via video tutorials, lectures, and seminars using various presentational aides (Training Standards in Implant Dentistry - Association of Dental Implantology, 2012). After my appointment in a senior position as a trainer for the vocational trainer for the Vocational Training by Equivalence, I played an integral part in constructing the interview questions for applicants.
During my time at the Professional Dentist's Studies College, I transformed the National Certificate in Dental Radiography making it better for students by improving the course to incorporate the rare skills students would need in the field practice. I am also credited for my participation in the design and planning of the National Certificate in Orthodontic Dental Nursing course at the Professional Dental Studies College. I dedicate my educational advancements to the course of improving the general education standards within the profession of dentistry.
I have made significant improvements in the learner-centered session design. The student-centered learning is described by McKay & Kember (1998) as the knowledge that is constructed by the students and that the instructor is the sole facilitator of the learning process and not a presenter of the information. In my initial stages as an educator, my only method of teaching had been content-oriented/ teaching-centered. Laying more emphasis on the actual subject matter and engaging students in lengthy class discussions did little to help make the learning process of my students a dull experience with many instances of veering off the very subject matter. Through exposure to more literature describing more accurate and effective teaching methods of teaching, I stumbled upon an outline written by Kugel (1993) that teaches how the teaching activity evolves in different stages.
The design plans I participate in developing have particular things in common; they are uniformly learner-centered and focus on student development and depth and the depth of learning. The design approaches are modeled to encourage peer-directed. I, alongside a team of colleagues, have developed an interactive model of tutorials and my exposure to the numerous training workshops that I have been to, successfully support learning programmes using blackboards. The use of interactive tutorials has been specifically beneficial to the postgraduate students that do not live in campus.
I have been at the centre of the adjustment of the personal development programmes that also involve updated career advisory services for the undergraduate dentistry students. The importance of this modification was to cater for the welfare of a fair number of students that had initially been cut off from the programmes (Willatt, 2015). The plan to resuscitate personal development programmes had an objective of altering the preferred inefficient method that the lecturers had adopted.
Evidence Area of Activity 2: Teach and Support Learning
In my practice as an educator, my overarching motivation is to make the learning process enjoyable and effortless to the students. The problem-based learning model that I employ emphasizes different approaches like conducting practical sessions, learning from case studies, tutorials and orienting students to develop admirable critical analysis skills. I am currently working as an Honorary Clinical Lecturer by providing Clinical teaching and support to dental students from the University of Sheffield. My students are undertaking their outreach clinical training at the Dental Access Centre. I deliver lectures and mentoring the undergraduate students, conducting practical classes to equip students with the requisite skills to handle technical dental surgery problems.
After completing my Postgraduate Certificate in Dental Education, I got engaged in a teaching observation in a case based discussion (CBD) attached as a trainer to a qualified dentist who studied overseas. I was charged with the responsibility of guiding the dentist in discussing her approach to a case and to help her improve her practice and to develop her clinical decision-making skills, patient management, and clinical knowledge. The overall goal of this ambitious project was to induce the dentist into the practice standards of the United Kingdom. The learning session was through structured feedback and sharing of the professional knowledge and experience as proposed by Knowles (1992) on the principles of the andragogy-adult learning theory.
To make the induction process of the trainee a fulfilling experience, I preferred to use experiential learning. I introduced my input in helping the trainee to learn advanced diagnosis methods, treatment planning, and treatment options. Still, on my determination to be a competent trainer in my VTE capacity, I provided shadowing, tutorials, support and mentorship to the trainee dentists to enable them transition to allow them to understand and comply with the Health Education England professional competencies.
While working at the Leeds Dental Institute, I gave pre-clinical and clinical demonstrations to students, utilized my professional expertise and shared this knowledge with my students to provide the best educational experience.Of the teaching stages outlined by Kugel (1993), I was technically working within the ranges of the self and the subject teaching stage. My teaching model was didactic, done without a clear structure always wondering if I was delivering as I should. I summarily altered the focus on the subject matter and redirected my emphasis to the student-centered learning approach. From then going forward, I have always made it a personal policy to begin all my Dental Radiotherapy lecture sessions by collaborating with the students to draw all-inclusive learning outcomes and objectives. Each student usually writes their learning outcomes thereby making it easy for me to cover all the issues that had not been part of my prior plan and giving my students a sense of responsibility into their learning.
Evidence Activity 3: Assess and Give Feedback to Learners
One of the ways through which I ensure students understanding an instructor in any module is to explain the format of the module assessment exhaustively. The explanation usually delves on the marking points in the assignments and project grading rubrics; this is done early in the initial phases of the lectures. The grading rubrics I use are usually standardized, but the difference with the other forms used in majority of higher learning institutions is that I explain in detail how I would want each point addressed. The students must understand what to do and what not to do before submitting their assignments.
There are times; an example is when I was involved in the assessment of the progress of a qualified dentist training to practice in the United Kingdom, didactic teaching was necessary, and I had to refer to my objectives, revising them when essential throughout to check if they were being met. I promote active learning skills in students by encouraging role-playing. As a trainer, I did much to assess my trainee's consolidation of the material and her interpersonal communication skills by setting a role-playing task. In some of the tasks, I acted as the patient, and the trainee played the dentist to gauge how much empathetic and understanding the trainee is.
My feedbacks are given to my student both in written and oral forms. I develop these feedbacks after ensuring that I encourage the trainee to be more active in the process as I take the passive role as the instructor do less talking to ensure I conclusively identify, document and profile the strengths and weaknesses of the trainee. Due to my trainee's condition (she had been unwell for a week) I decided to try out the effectiveness of non-verbal communication which my observer had advised before as "an asset to for the process of learning and teaching (Barmaki 2014)." True to his words, good non-verbal teaching proved to be a facilitator of effective teaching proficiency and student learning.
The feedback I give to the trainees always tailor to their personal and professional development. My primary objective of designing a feedback structure that singles out a trainee's progress is to make it easier for them to identify the areas that could affect their professionalism and patient management. In these feedbacks to students, I have always made it a goal to discuss all the areas of good performance and knowledge areas for further development (Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors, 2013). Other skills I inculcate in the trainees include the importance of being confident and how to achieve it, sharing my personal experience of dealing with unrealistic expectations and the subsequent consequences of failing to meet high demands.
The timing of feedback has a bearing on the efficacy of the progress of the student. My preferred timing is during the action and the method is called "feedback-in-action." This feedback method is situation-specific and based on the specific procedures (Clynes, 2008). The technique is exclusively influential in reinforcing key aspects that shape the student behavior and also in facilitating a discussion of the evidence-based practice which can easily be demonstrated to the student (Rizan et al., 2014). The immediacy of the feedback during the action corrects errors thus it helps in reducing the impact of the damages that are caused. However, this urgent remedial feedback method is discouraged while handling students who are in the process of building their confidence. There are possibilities that the student's learning automaticity could be detracted, meaning the ideal time to give such feedback is after the event.
Evidence activity 4: Develop Effective Learning Environments and Approaches To Student Support and Guidance
Most of the class studies take place in lecture halls, medical laboratories, surgery theatres and clinics. The change in learning environments is particularly integral because different students have different styles of learning and that I deal with diverse student cohorts. The variety of the learning environments is to maximize student-lecturer engagements. The diversification of the student learning environments enhances different dimensions to realizing an interesting and dynamic learning process for the students.
Every learning approach chosen is customized to suit the demands of the different cohorts of students and the specificity of the subjects. The lab sessions are ideal for helping the students understand the underlying concepts of the different theories taught in class.
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