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GENERAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119-123

Reflective learning in community-based dental education


1 Department of Prosthodontics, Hitkarini Dental College and Hospital, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Department of Dentistry, Government Medical College, Akola, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Suryakant C Deogade
Flat No: 502, Block-D, Apsara Apartment, South Civil Lines, Pachpedi Road, Jabalpur - 482 001, Madhya Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.188752

Background: Community-based dental education (CBDE) is the implementation of dental education in a specific social context, which shifts a substantial part of dental clinical education from dental teaching institutional clinics to mainly public health settings. Dental students gain additional value from CBDE when they are guided through a reflective process of learning. We propose some key elements to the existing CBDE program that support meaningful personal learning experiences. Methods: Dental rotations of 'externships' in community-based clinical settings (CBCS) are year-long community-based placements and have proven to be strong learning environments where students develop good communication skills and better clinical reasoning and management skills. We look at the characteristics of CBDE and how the social and personal context provided in communities enhances dental education. Results: Meaningfulness is created by the authentic context, which develops over a period of time. Structured reflection assignments and methods are suggested as key elements in the existing CBDE program. Strategies to enrich community-based learning experiences for dental students include: Photographic documentation; written narratives; critical incident reports; and mentored post-experiential small group discussions. A directed process of reflection is suggested as a way to increase the impact of the community learning experiences. Discussion: We suggest key elements to the existing CBDE module so that the context-rich environment of CBDE allows for meaningful relations and experiences for dental students and enhanced learning.


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