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Other titre : A Comparison of Dental Hygiene Students’ Unstructured and Structured Journal Writing

dc.contributor.advisorLewis Dellah, Carolyn
dc.contributor.authorEtienne, Carol
dc.description.abstractThe Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) has indicated that there is a need for research in education in the field of dental hygiene. It seems that when compared to the nursing profession, the profession of dental hygiene is only in the earliest stages of investigating ways of teaching critical thinking. The faculty of the dental hygiene program at John Abbott College has always valued the skill of self-assessment in the students, yet there are few specific learning activities provided whereby the students can learn how to perfect and work on this invaluable skill of self-reflection in order to better self-assess. Although self-assessment is required of the students upon the completion of each clinical experience in Clinic 1, 2 and 3, a modest amount of clinical time is allotted to reflect upon this most important skill. It appears that more could be done to prepare our students to assess their learning and clinical practice. Self-reflection as an essential element of practice has a valid place in professional education. The purpose of conducting this study was to find out whether unstructured or structured self-reflective journal writing is a sound pedagogical technique to encourage dental hygiene students’ self-assessment through self-reflection. The research design for the project was a single case study. The paradigm for the study was chosen with a purposeful selection of participants, involving twenty-seven, third-year dental hygiene students at John Abbott College. The students were arbitrarily enrolled in two sections, which for the purpose of this study were referred to as Group A and Group B. Three duplicated coded anonymous journal entries from each student were collected over a ten-week period during the Fall 2009 semester. To examine the students’ level of self-reflection, two methods were used. First a content analysis of reflective journals was used to ascertain the level and substance of the reflections from their clinical experiences with the intent of looking more specifically at the students’ self-assessment. The journal entries were coded and analyzed after the grades were submitted at the end of the school term. This was followed by the distribution of an anonymous questionnaire to the students in both sections. The responses of the questionnaire were tabulated and analyzed. An analysis was done on the data collected in order to determine whether age, education and or mother tongue of the students in both Groups A and B had an influence on their perceptions of journal writing, as well as the student’s opinions about the value of journal writing. This questionnaire included two open-ended questions to assist in gathering additional data on the student’s thoughts on writing journals. A content analysis of the qualitative data collected from the open-ended questions in the questionnaire was also analyzed. Results indicated there were very few differences in the level of self-reflection leading to self-assessment. However, students in Group B who were assigned structured journals showed more evidence of deeper learning. Taken as a whole, the journal entries clearly showed the students were involved in ‘reflection-on-action’ of their clinical experiences (Schon 1987, as cited in Asadoorian & Batty, 2005). The quality of the responses for the most part indicated the students took the time and effort to record their perceptions of their clinical experiences. It is important to note that the results do indicate that students did show a need to self-reflect and assess. The students did in fact validate the importance of reflection through journal writing, even though they did not particularly like it as an added assignment. The journals were found to be very helpful to the research in getting to know what the issues were that held the students’ attention. They explained how and to what extent the students developed relationships with their clients. It was obvious that clinicians have an impact and influence on student learning. The students value the help, role modeling, patience, encouraging words and or gestures, positive reinforcement, and understanding provided by their clinicians. This research provides some evidence that students do believe that self-reflection through structured journal writing helped them better prepare for future clinical sessions with their clients. Our goal as educators should be to encourage dental hygiene students to self-assess through written self-reflection as an established practice for deeper learning.
dc.publisherUniversité de Sherbrooke
dc.rights© Carol Etienne
dc.subjectEnseignement collégial
dc.titleUne comparaison des journaux non structurés et des journaux structurés rédigés par les étudiants en hygiène dentaire
dc.title.alternativeA Comparison of Dental Hygiene Students’ Unstructured and Structured Journal Writing
dc.typeEssai au collégialé d'éducationîtrise Éd.

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