Indian Journal of Dental Research

ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 661--664

Assessment of the existing dental education environment at a dental teaching institution


Shrikanth Muralidharan1, Farha Rizwan Sikalgar2, Ramandeep Dugal3, Dinraj Kulkarni4, Surekha Shinde5, Arunkumar Acharya6,  
1 Departments of Public Health Dentistry, MA Rangoonwala College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of PSM, Z.V.M. UnaniMedical College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
3 Departments of Prosthodontics, MA Rangoonwala College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, Pune, Maharashtra, India
4 Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, MA Rangoonwala College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, Pune, Maharashtra, India
5 Department of Anesthesiology, BJ Medical College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India
6 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Navodaya Dental College and Hospital, Raichur, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shrikanth Muralidharan
Department of Public Health Dentistry, MA Rangoonwala College of Dental Sciences and Research Center, Azam Campus, Pune, Maharashtra
India

Abstract

Introduction: An important aspect of creating a competent medical practitioner is the teaching-learning environment that shapes the mentality and instigates an urge among the students to learn. To facilitate a motivating learning setup, the faculty members need to inadvertently establish a successful and safe learning environment which is extensively feasible, given that the faculty gets to control their own style of teaching. A lot of research focuses on student's perception of the learning environment, seldom studies have reported the teacher's perspective. This present study focuses on the teacher's side of the story regarding the current scenario of the workplace that is one of the essential factors to alter the approach toward andragogy. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out using the Assessment of Medical Education Environment by Teachers (AMEET) questionnaire. The AMEET questionnaire was administered to 50 staff members at MA Rangoonwala College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Pune. All the participants were assured of confidentiality of their personal details and they all signed a written informed consent before participating in the study. Results: Majority of the participants had a positive attitude which was seen more in the seniors compared to the juniors. The teacher's perception of teaching is that there needs to be a greater emphasis on what the student learns rather than what the teacher does. Junior staff members felt that students do not prepare and come for classes nor are the expected outcomes clear to them. Assignments are also a task for the students that are never on time. Conclusion: It was observed that more senior faculties were positive toward the existing education environment. In addition, even though opportunities are available for the staff as well as students for upgrading and imbibing newer information, they were not being benefitted by the same due to underutilization.



How to cite this article:
Muralidharan S, Sikalgar FR, Dugal R, Kulkarni D, Shinde S, Acharya A. Assessment of the existing dental education environment at a dental teaching institution.Indian J Dent Res 2019;30:661-664


How to cite this URL:
Muralidharan S, Sikalgar FR, Dugal R, Kulkarni D, Shinde S, Acharya A. Assessment of the existing dental education environment at a dental teaching institution. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Sep 25 ];30:661-664
Available from: http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2019/30/5/661/273441


Full Text



 Introduction



An important aspect of creating a competent medical practitioner is the teaching-learning environment that shapes the mentality and fosters an urge among the students to learn. The way a teacher teaches is critical for achieving this competency and has a major effect on this environment.[1] Most of the statements leading to the evaluation of the learning process is simply a reflection of the teaching approach.[2] To facilitate a motivating learning set up, the faculty members need to consciously establish a successful and safe learning environment which is achievable, given that the faculty gets to control their own style of teaching.[2] Majumder et al. suggest that teachers are supposed to be well informed regarding the innovative trends in medical teaching and utilize this to produce quality results.[3] A lot of research focuses on student's perception of the learning environment; seldom studies have reported the teacher's perspective.[4] This present study focuses on the teacher's side of the story regarding the current scenario of workplace that is one of the essential factors to alter the approach towards andragogy.

 Materials and Methods



A cross-sectional questionnaire study was carried out using the Assessment of Medical Education Environment by Teachers (AMEET) questionnaire. This questionnaire was validated by a previously reported study.[4] Before the start of the study, ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of Azam Campus, Pune. The AMEET questionnaire was administered to 50 staff members at MA Rangoonwala College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Pune. All the participants were assured of confidentiality of their personal details and they all signed a written informed consent before participating in the study.

The AMEET questionnaire-

It comprises 50 questions which are divided into six domains as follows:

The Teacher's perception of teachingThe teacher's perception of learning activitiesThe teacher's perception of studentsThe teacher's perception of the learning atmosphereThe teacher's perception of collaborative atmosphereThe teacher's professional self-perception.

The Likert's 5-point (0-strongly disagree, 1-disagree, 2-neutral, 3-agree, and 4-strongly agree) was used for responses to each of the questions and the higher scores were considered to be more toward the positive side of the education environment. The maximum score was 200. The response rate of the participants was 100%. The data obtained was entered in the excel sheet, cleaned, and subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS version 22.0 (IBM SPSS, Chicago, USA). Wilcoxon log-rank test was carried out. Based on the scores, a median of 3 or more was considered as the strong points/areas, above 2 and below 3 were considered to be areas that exhibited some scope for improvement, and a score of 2 or less was regarded as areas of weaknesses.

 Results



The mean age of the participants was 30.2 ± 10.84 years. There were more females compared to male participants [Table 1]. There was a significant difference between the responses of the senior faculties compared to the junior teachers with respect to the teacher's perception of teaching, the learning atmosphere at the institution and also the learning activities [Table 2]. Senior faculties felt more positive teaching-learning atmosphere compared to the juniors. There was no significant difference seen between the two groups with respect to the other parameters. We did not find any difference between the responses of the clinical and the nonclinical/basic sciences faculties. In addition, there was no significant difference seen with respect to age or gender. The present study identifies the loopholes in the existing teaching-learning environment in the dental college. Majority of the participants had a positive attitude which was seen more in the seniors compared to the juniors. The teacher's perception of teaching is that there needs to be a greater emphasis on what the students learn rather than what the teacher does. In addition, they found that they enjoy teaching and have sufficient time to prepare for classes and interact with students. Junior staff members felt that students do not prepare and come for classes nor are the expected outcomes clear to them. Assignments are also a task for the students that are never on time. The teachers did feel that they had a good opportunity to develop themselves with respect to additional training and updating knowledge through the workshops and conferences. The institution also provided them sufficient opportunities to employ newer techniques for competency development. Some felt that more time needed to be dedicated since the syllabus is vast and the age-old methods cannot be followed and greater outcomes cannot be expected out of the same.{Table 1}{Table 2}

 Discussion



The present study focused on the teacher's perspective regarding the teaching-learning environment related to dental education system at a teaching institution in India. The overall assessment showed that the teachers (both seniors and juniors) had a positive attitude toward the current existing system of education, similar to the previous three studies reported by Shehnaz et al.,[4] Miles and Leinster,[5] and Shehnaz et al.[6] The studies reported till date are related to purely medical teaching and this is the first time that such a study among dental staff is being reported; hence, a direct comparison cannot be made. Yet an attempt has been made to find any similarity between similar studies reported among the medical faculties. The study participants showed a positive attitude toward problem-based learning similar to the studies by Lam et al.[7] and Shehnaz et al.[4] The staff in the present study reported that there were greater and adequate opportunities for students available to develop the necessary competencies for being a successful clinician in the future. The current training pattern rendered in them an urge to keep them upgrading and updating and thus become lifelong learners. Senior faculties felt this more than the junior ones, given the comparison of the time when they had limited access to technical advancements compared to the present generation of students. In addition, more of the clinical faculties felt a greater response toward the student's perception and problem-based learning environment compared to the basic science faculty. This was similar to the study reported by Whitney and Walton.[8] Another study by Brynhildsen et al.[9] found no difference between the clinical and the nonclinical faculties. Our findings were contrary to the studies by Shehnaz et al.[4] and Gurpinar et al.[10] Literature suggests that the participation of the teachers across specialties helps to eliminate the learning barriers for students and helps to promote a more conducive environment positive for better results and higher quality output. A closeted mind-set coupled with unenthusiastic participation results in lack of any form of curricular reforms.[11],[12] Although most of the staff members were not directly involved with curriculum reform in the present study, they made modifications as per necessity for improved learning. Unlike reported in another study,[4] more of the clinical staffs were involved at departmental levels for curriculum modification and its successful delivery. Given the restricted number of basic subject hours spent by the candidate in a dental institution, the basic faculty members do not have much scope to participate and generate curriculum reforms. Whitney and Walton[8] reported that female dental faculty had more positive perceptions of the curriculum in their institution compared to males. No such difference was observed in the present study. Most of the staff members agreed that there was increased stress related to the current dental learning, similar to other studies done among medical faculties.[4],[12] The participants also reported about the lack of a system to help such students in the existing structure. This highlights the need for a change with respect to the same. The present study identifies the loopholes in the existing teaching-learning environment in the dental college. Majority of the participants had a positive attitude which was seen more in the seniors compared to the juniors. Teachers perception of teaching is that there needs to be a greater emphasis on what students learn rather than what the teacher does. In addition, they found that they enjoy teaching and have sufficient time to prepare for classes and interact with students. Junior staff members felt that students do not prepare and come for classes nor are the expected outcomes clear to them. Assignments are also a task for the students that are never on time. In addition, most of the students were disrespectful and arrogant. They did not utilize the opportunities available to them. Teachers did feel that they had opportunities to develop themselves with respect to additional training and updating knowledge through the workshops and conferences. The institution also provided them sufficient opportunities to employ newer techniques for competency development. Some felt that more time needs to be dedicated for this since the syllabus is vast and the age-old methods cannot be followed and greater outcomes cannot be expected out of the same. This serves as a baseline for the current institution, related to the education environment. Staff who have not received any formal training in medical education and technology found adjustments to the existing curricula a daunting task. Seniors on the other hand were more flexible and approachable. However, a readiness for learning and modifications were shown by both the groups.

The insights provided by the present study highlights that there are loopholes in the existing curriculum and its execution. With a whole armload of information expected from the students, a positive and a safe teaching environment for the staff members is equally essential. Many found this to be a lack that needs to be addressed per se lack of such environment causes depletion in the interest of the teacher and the learning objectives are neither altered nor fulfilled. This places greater burden on the already stressed students and results in incompetency creeping in. The results of the present study thus highlight the need to focus on the training and nurturing of teaching skills to meet the need of the present generation of students and have a continuous feedback for early corrections of problems.

Limitation of the study

The present study focussed only on one dental institution; hence, the data cannot be extrapolated. Teaching facilities and approaches are different across dental colleges in India, therefore, a comparison of various styles adopted by colleges need to be taken into consideration in further studies.

 Conclusion



The present study is the first study using the AMEET tool among dental faculties in India. It was observed that more senior faculties compared to the junior staff were positive toward the existing education environment. Most of the faculties found that there is more stress on what the teacher does than what the student learns. In addition, even though opportunities are available for the staff as well as students for upgrading and imbibing newer information, they were not being benefitted by the same due to underutilization. The greater dissatisfaction of the junior staffs compared to the seniors is clearly seen that needs to be addressed.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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