A Model for Cultivating Dental Hygiene Faculty Development Within a Community of Practice
Tax, Cara L.
Neish, Nancy R.
Maillet, J. Peggy
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There is a need to explore approaches in faculty development that will foster change in actual teaching practices. The literature suggests that there should be more deliberate use of theory in faculty development research. This study addressed this gap in the literature by exploring social learning theory in the context of communities of practice and applying this theory to a dental hygiene faculty development program. The purpose of the study was to determine if participation in a community of practice helped dental hygiene clinical instructors implement new teaching strategies by providing ongoing support for their learning. In addition, the study explored whether the level of participation in the community changed over time. A retrospective self-assessment questionnaire consisting of four open-ended questions was administered to a group of clinical dental hygiene instructors at the end of the 2010 academic year. The narrative data were analyzed thematically using qualitative methodology. The results indicated that participation in the community of practice helped clinical instructors make effective changes in their teaching practices by optimizing social learning opportunities. The responses also revealed that instructors became more comfortable participating in discussions as they identified with other members of this unique community.
Tax, Cara L., Heather Doucette, Nancy R. Neish, and J. Peggy Maillet. 2012. "A Model for Cultivating Dental Hygiene Faculty Development Within a Community of Practice." Journal of dental education 76(3): 311-321.