From didactic teaching to participatory learning. An innovative approach

C Mathabathe, N, Rudolph M, Ogunbodede E, Smuts B.  2004.  From didactic teaching to participatory learning. An innovative approach, 2004/04/01. SADJ : journal of the South African Dental Association = tydskrif van die Suid-Afrikaanse Tandheelkundige Vereniging. 59:60-3.


A course in Public Oral Health is currently offered by the Division of Public Oral Health (POH) to students in their final (6th year) of study for the degree of Bachelor of Dental Science. A fundamental aspect of this project was to shift the teaching methods from didactic to a participatory, student-centred approach, based on current local and international trends in medical, dental and general education. In 1999 the course covering core Public Health topics was presented over a period of 20 weeks to 49 students who were divided into three groups. Staff members were trained in participatory, student-centred teaching methods. An evaluation of students and staff was conducted at the end of the course. Results show that students were satisfied with the teaching methods employed and commended the Division on the organisation of the course. Students were unhappy with the amount of reading required in preparation for weekly seminars. They felt that the course was inappropriately positioned in their final year of study, due to pressure of achieving quotas for the clinical courses. Nevertheless, the main objectives of the Public Oral Health course were achieved through the adoption of a participatory, student-centred teaching approach.