The College of Dentistry has followed recent recommendations to utilize service-learning and has adapted this philosophy by redefining curriculums and teaching methods. Although this approach is relatively new in Canada, experts in the field state that this experience benefits both students and communities being served.
This, according to one individual’s interpretation of service learning: “Service-learning holds up a mirror for us to see ourselves, a microscope for us to examine our society, and binoculars for us to see what lies ahead.”
By definition, service-learning is an effective teaching and learning strategy that integrates community service with academic study. To students, this experience enhances learning, helps foster social responsibility, cultivates attitudes of empathy and caring for others, in addition to strengthening communities. So evident is the benefit of these student experiences, that past students have sought permanent employment within CCOH’s programs.
As well as preparing students to pass professional qualifications, service-learning also helps prepare students to be socially responsible citizens. This approach reinforces CCOH’s mandate in providing care to underserved communities. Every fourth-year dental student and third-year hygiene student has an opportunity to experience an externship rotation in several of our locations. A five week community clinic rotation is, in fact, a graduation requirement for all dentistry students.
While spending time at each of our clinics, students put into practice their classroom learning and have the opportunity to acquire and apply critical thinking habits while perfecting their technical dentistry and dental hygiene skills.
As a requirement to graduation, each student is evaluated on attitude, clinical ability and technical competence. Working under the close supervision of experienced and licensed dentists and dental hygienists, each student is capable of performing clinical procedures competently.
For more information, please visit the College of Dentistry website.