|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 159
President, Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry, India
|Date of Submission||06-Oct-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||06-Oct-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||15-Oct-2021|
President, Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Pushpanjali K. President's message. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2021;19:159
Greetings to all!!
”Expand your wings, only you can do it”
Our very efficient editor, Dr. Sowmya approached me for a message in my role as President. Presumably, dear readers, this will be my last message in that role, as we wait for Dr. Sabysachi Saha to take over the mantle. I thought of sharing the extraordinary potential a teacher will have and the need for fully expressing it to fulfill our responsibility as a teacher.
After almost 15 years of various administrative positions and being occupied with a lot of paperwork and less of student interaction, I have now gotten back to the role which brought me into this field – the role of a “teacher.” This is a role which has always brought me satisfaction and joy, to see the young buds grow into full bloom, realizing their potential.
Over the years, I have experimented with different teaching methods. Especially after my foray into the field of health professional education, I have been able to critically analyze the workings of our Indian educational system and the vast potential it offers for improvement. Today, I specifically want to focus on student interaction and engagement in class. How can we foster critical thinking and discourage rote learning? Is it that our students are incapable of critical thinking or is it that, we as teachers have not explored this teaching method?
To explore, I tried an experiment. I switched over to a project-based learning activity for teaching undergraduates on a course elective, a system we have in my home institution. The elective was on “Data management and health care research,” a topic often considered as dry/difficult/not required for undergraduates. The UG students had to learn the nuances of research designs, coding, data entry, data analysis, preparation of results with appropriate graphs, and tables. All within a period of 2 weeks. As documentary proof of learning, they had to submit a project report.
Project-based learning is a teaching learning method in which students learn together by actively engaging while working on the project given. The students amazed me with their critical thinking ability. While working together, they demonstrated their communication skills and ability to collaborate. Their out of the box thinking showed how creative they are in problem solving. Throughout the 2-week period, I was the “guide by the side” and never the “sage on the stage.” My discussions with them showed how deep the learning was. Best of all, what was usually considered as a “dry assignment” was now perceived as an enjoyable and very productive work, all because of a change in teaching strategy.
This experience has boosted me to try many such methods that create a conducive atmosphere for the students to think and apply concepts, rather than rote learning.
Let me also tell you, the National Education Policy 2020 speaks about student centric learning. Hence, the next generation of learners would have already been exposed to hands on active learning processes. It is time for us to gear up for the future, by honing our teaching skills.
After all, we have joined this profession out of passion and have a commitment to deliver the “best quality of teaching.” The future of Public Health Dentistry lies in the quality of Public health dentistry students produced. Only you and me, in our role as teachers, have the capacity to sculpt the next generation. Keep working on these skills and keep pace with the changing demands of educational technology.
Do remember to share your creative teaching learning experience. I will be looking forward to it.