ERG SES F 03, Parallel Session F 03
Dentists occupy an important position in society as professional health care workers. The opportunity to participate in dental education is limited to a small percentage of the community. The approximatively 200 schools of Dentistry in Europe have to select the most suitable applicants, both professionally and socially, for the ultimate benefit of the communities.
Due to historic, economic and cultural reasons, the requirements for admission to medical and dental educations and the specific admission procedures used, vary widely across Europe.
In France, students have to choose between medical or dental courses, according to their rank after a competitive examination at the end of their first year of study. A large number of novice dental students had a career in medicine as a first choice. They do not choose the dental programme and are forced to accept the change in their career path. Moreover, they do not have a reliable representation of the profession. They are aware of the importance of manual skills to suceed in the dental program and are afraid to perform poorly during practical works. That’s the reason why the teaching staff (dental clinicians) must, in addition to teaching the technical aspects, explain the profession and bring students to appreciate it.
When novice students interact with professors and fellow classmates, the social influence leads to the development of a group identity. The mechanisms of social influence allow students to build their sef-image both as students and as future dentists based on the models with which they can identify themselves or conform professionally.
Peer tutoring has been successfully implemented in many universities world wide to promote students learning. Students studying for a higher degree provide tutorial assistance to younger students. To find a response to the needs of identity repairs among novice dental students, the University of Montpellier I has developed a peer tutoring program.
Dental education comprises a total of 5 years full-time theoretical and practical study : 2 years in pre-clinical courses and 3 years in clinical ones.
Since 2005, 6th clinical graders (last year) tutor 2nd and 3rd pre-clinical graders. The tutors help small groups of tutees three hours per week during their pre-clinical practical works. Thanks to their clinical experience, the tutors help the pre-clinical learning to be contextually embedded.
Research on peer tutoring indicates that the intervention is relatively effective in improving both tutees’ and tutors’academic and social development. But the literature also shows that the gains for tutors often outdistance those of the students receiving help. Peer tutoring offers tutors the opportunity to review and restructure the knowledge they possess in order to make it understandable to students younger than themselves and without clinical experiences.
This paper provides an evaluative study of the use of this dental tutoring program.
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