Journal of Dental Research and Review

: 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

Switching from “Teach and Learn” Approach to “Facilitate and Construct” for dental students of gen Z

Pradnya Kakodkar 
 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pradnya Kakodkar
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Kakodkar P. Switching from “Teach and Learn” Approach to “Facilitate and Construct” for dental students of gen Z.J Dent Res Rev 2018;5:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Kakodkar P. Switching from “Teach and Learn” Approach to “Facilitate and Construct” for dental students of gen Z. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Jan 31 ];5:1-2
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Full Text

Cohorts born from 1995 to 2012 are called the Gen Z (iGen, Gen Zers, Post Millennials). They have a digital bond and take for granted a world of tablets, smartphones, and high-speed Internet. They are exposed to the sophisticated media, computer environments, and smart devices from an early age and do not distinguish between online and offline, given that they are connected almost always through their mobile devices.

 Present Scenario

Today, with a consideration that the oldest teacher would belong to the Boomers II (cohort born from 1946) followed by the Gen X and the latest being Gen Y, we could be looking at typically recollecting three modes/mediums of delivering classroom lectures – the chalk and talk, transparency projectors/slide projectors, and PowerPoint presentations.

The teaching style of the Boomers II was direct instructions using the chalk and talk approach. This mode of lecture was generally slow paced, allowing students to copy the figures and text as notes, using the “see it, hear it, write it down” method of learning.

After a few years as the Gen X teachers began to arrive on the scene, it was the age of transparency projectors and one could see teachers carrying box full of prewritten or preprinted transparency sheets.

Around the turn of the new millennium, computers, overhead projectors, and smart boards entered the classrooms and teaching technique progressed to PowerPoint presentations and video teaching. The Gen Y teachers used these techniques to show and explain graphics and 3D animations much more effectively be it formation of a dental caries or an implant procedure.

While each of the approaches has had its pros and cons debated and experimented for effective teaching and learning, the question on the table is, are we rightly and aptly equipped to teach the Gen Z?

Debate over the fact that we are stuck with the traditional teaching approach of a 60 min' lecture delivery and that this needs a transformation is much justifiable.

Traditional educational practices require thoughtful change to meet the needs of this generation. Gen Z needs to be part of the process of learning, not passive bystanders. They are resourceful learners whose attention span is hindered by a constant bombardment of information, and this needs to be well addressed.

 Learning Characteristics of Gen Z Students

There is no world without technology for the Gen Z students. An overreliance on technology and 24 × 7 access to any information through the Internet just a few clicks away; they connect in a border less world across countries and cultures. Attention span of 8 s for a task and a need for an immediate response. They prefer to construct themselves rather than be instructed.

Gen Z students accept active engagement-focused learning in interactive environments rather than passive formal delivery learning. They look at college to be more learner centric environment where students can be directors of their own future. They would enjoy class discussions and interactive classroom environments over the traditional dissemination teaching method (lecture). For them, learning is not limited to just the classroom. For instance, 51% of surveyed students said that they learn best by doing, while only 12% said that they learn through listening. In addition, Gen Z students expect that these learning tools be available on-demand and with low barriers to access.

 Detriments to 24 × 7 Access to Internet

Anything and everything is just a click away. Nevertheless, the readily available information published on the Internet and YouTube is questionable in the context of completeness, authenticity, and most importantly correctness.

The students many a times can make mistakes and choose a site which is not giving an accurate and relevant information. Not all databases provide scientific, updated information for noncommercial causes such as education and research. Choosing and believing blindly a database information without guidance and possible endorsement from a mentor could be inappropriate and detrimental to the good cause.


The principle of teaching and learning should shift to facilitation and constructionWe have to “work with them” (teacher–student collaboration) at the planning phase itselfOnline examination, assignments, and open-book examinations should be conductedFacilitate acquiring knowledge from online forums by realizing projects.

Teachers now have the responsibility to teach skills that enable the leaner to sift through information to determine accuracy and relevance. Throughout all curriculums, teaching of proper searching techniques, evaluation of sources, use of databases, and the synthesis of a vast amount of content is a must.

First, allow them to use technology and take advantage of their drive for self-learning. Instead of taking devices away in the classroom, incorporate them into activities that promote searching for credible informationBuild a social community beyond the walls of the classroom. Remember that a Gen Z learner is tethered to their social network. Make yourself available through social apps for questions. For some learners, this may be the only way they feel comfortable asking questionsShow them the content they are learning has relevance on a global scale. These learners are practical, savvy, and thrive on a good challenge, especially when it reflects their personal interests and is accompanied by instant gratificationFinally, be brief and capture their attention with visuals. Gen Z prefers microlearning; with so much information trying to get past their filter, standing out from the noise is key to engagement. Keeping it simple, but sparking their curiosity can hook them into paying attention to your mission.

 Potential Solutions

Push students to be creative and think critically about the problemsPrefer active learning techniquesTarget with more questions bringing forth the bigger pictureDrive flexibilityWorking collaboratively in groupsBecome the teacher, who is critical to facilitate how to discern facts versus opinions and how to critically evaluate sources through modern information literacy skills.