Exploring cultural differences in dental care

Exploring cultural differences in dental care

Anna Matthews

Dental Hygiene / SPS

Oral Anatomy DEN 1112

Activity Description: Provide a brief description of the activity

In Fall 2016, students in three sections of DEN1112 completed a term project assignment with the focus on Intercultural Knowledge and Skills assessment.
This assignment consisted of several parts.
Individually, students watched a Frontline PBS documentary “Dollars and Dentists” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/dollars-and-dentists/ ) which explores the complexity and availability of dental care in the U.S.
Next, students read the case study “Mortality associated with odontogenic infection” (Green et al., 2001) and answer accompanying questions. Students were asked to discuss the documentaries they watched in small groups. Students were provided questions for discussion prompting them to discuss their opinions regarding the status of dental health care in the U.S. as presented in the documentary. Students were also asked to share their cultural beliefs and attitudes towards dental care. Given the diversity of students in our Dental Hygiene program (over 50% of students were not born in the U.S. and speak over 20 primary/first languages), a difference of experiences and resulting opinions about health care more broadly and dental care in particular emerged in their discussions.

Individually, students wrote an essay reflecting on the Frontline documentary and the case study. Among the questions they were to address in their essay, they were asked to describe their interactions with peers in their groups and to evaluate how their own attitudes/opinions were or were not different from those of their classmates, what have they learned about other cultural beliefs/attitudes from the dialog with other students, how their own opinions have or have not changed as a result of the whole experience (watching the documentary and learning about the subject and their subsequent discussion of it in small groups).

Learning Goals: What do you aim to achieve with this activity?

1. introduce students to the complexity of dental care and its availability in the U.S.
2. connect the topics of spread of dental infection, as introduced in their Head & Neck portion of DEN1112 course, to the real-life situations leading to serious and life-threatening outcomes discussed in the scientific article (case study) and Frontline investigation.
3. work in teams to discuss the different cultural influences on how people perceive the necessity of dental care and its various aspects.
4. reflect on the whole experience by connecting all parts of this assignment in the written essay.

Timing: At what point in the lesson or semester do you use this activity? How much classroom time do you devote to it? How much out-of-class time is expected?

This assignment begins during week 13 of the Fall semester. The students discussed in small groups during class sessions twice for about 20 min. Depending on how long it takes students to write their 1200-1500 word essays, the activity would take at least 10 hours to complete outside of class.

Logistics: What preparation is needed for this activity? What instructions do you give students? Is the activity low-stakes, high-stakes, or something else?

This term project is worth 10% of their final grade for DEN1112. The students were given detailed instructions for each part of the assignment and provided with the PDF of the article and a link to Frontine documentary.

Assessment: How do you assess this activity? What assessment measures do you use? Do you use a VALUE rubric? If not, how did you develop your rubric? Is your course part of the college-wide general education assessment initiative?

In 2016, my course was part of college-wide assessment of Intercultural Knowledge and Skills. An appropriate AAC&U VALUE rubric was used for this evaluation, however, it was not used for grading. Students’ essays were evaluated based on the clarity and organization of the information, providing accurate and appropriate sources and citations (they were asked to substantiate their writing with at least two sources analyzing the topic of the video, other than the documentary itself), sentence structure, grammar and spelling.

Reflection: How well did this activity work in your classroom? Would you repeat it? Why or why not? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you address them? What, if anything, would you change? What did students seem to enjoy about the activity?

This activity worked very well and I intend to repeat it in Fall 2017. I don’t plan to introduce any changes at this time. The students seemed to enjoy the small group discussions and according to their reflections in the essays, they learned a lot from each other as well as the case study and Frontline documentary. One student’s essay was selected for publication in the 2017 issue of City Tech Writer.

Additional Information: Please share any additional comments and further documentation of the activity – e.g. assignment instructions, rubrics, examples of student work, etc. These can be links to pages or posts on the OpenLab.

Please share a helpful link to a pages or post on the OpenLab

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