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Using storytelling to improve student experience of outreach placements

Abstract

Storytelling has been used as a pedagogical approach in medicine and nursing for a number of years now. It is a way for students to consider themselves and the world around them as it creates a supportive space in which they can listen and be heard. It allows students to process their experience and listening to stories can widen their perspective. Storytelling can be useful as a way to encourage student reflection, and help students understand their future learning needs. The aim of this study is to enhance the understanding of the role that storytelling can play in the education of dental students. At the end of each outreach placement a teaching session was held in which the students were asked to relate their experiences in the form of a story. The sessions were evaluated using both a questionnaire and focus groups. The results show that storytelling helps students remember. It not only stimulates reflection but also helps them develop teamworking skills, communication and organisation and technical skills. Storytelling has far reaching effects on learning and development of communities of practice. It allows students to see things from many perspectives, develop professional competence, improve reflection and deepen understanding.

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Correspondence to Sandra Zijlstra-Shaw.

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Zijlstra-Shaw, S., Jowett, A. Using storytelling to improve student experience of outreach placements. Br Dent J 228, 123–127 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-1159-9

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