Rewarding those who inspire

Most people have one teacher who inspired them to go that extra mile. Someone who spurred them on when exams looked just that little bit too hard or studying was getting too tedious. Subjects with a practical element like dentistry particularly benefit from talented teachers and the Dental Defence Union are again rewarding these hardworking individuals with its annual Educational Awards.

Yes, the search is on for the most outstanding teachers of 2008 with the categories being Dentist Teacher of the Year, Vocational Teacher of the Year and Dental Care Professional Teacher of the Year.

Students and vocational dental practitioners (VDPs) have until 1 September to nominate the teachers or trainers they think deserve to win. The winners will be announced on Wednesday 19 November at an awards ceremony in central London. Finalists will be awarded £250 each and, in addition, the overall winners in each category will receive £1,000 towards the cost of educational materials for their schools or VT schemes.

‘The awards are now in their sixth year and each year we continue to be amazed at the level of commitment, enthusiasm and skill demonstrated by the nominees,’ says Rupert

Hoppenbrouwers, head of the DDU.

‘Dental educators occupy the privileged position of being able to mould the next generation of dentists and make an enormous contribution to the strength of the dental


‘The DDU believes that outstanding teachers deserve to be recognised and rewarded for their hard work, and I urge students and trainees to take a moment to nominate the teacher who has inspired them the most.’

Last year’s awards were a runaway success with finalists challenged to show the innovative techniques they had used in teaching and mentoring students.

These included a six step decision-making pathway to help DCPs when confronted with an ethical dilemma, shadowing sessions to enable VDPs to find out about a specialist area of dentistry and an e-course that included podcasts, blogs and discussion forums, allowing students to participate in developing material for the course, under guidance from staff.

The Dentist Teacher of the Year was awarded to Giles Perryer, who explained the innovative learning platform he developed: ‘The University of Birmingham has an international reputation for supporting excellence in

education and I have been encouraged to develop and implement a web-based learning platform, called the e-course, which allows great flexibility to try out new ideas immediately, and this keeps it at the cutting edge of web-based learning.

‘As a GDP myself until very recently, I would like to pay tribute to the contribution made by GDPs who are involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate dental education and thank the students and staff for the immense amount of help and support they have given me. Receiving this award has been a highpoint in my teaching career.’

Anne Milarvie was named the winner in the VT Teacher category and highlighted the importance of Vocational Training to young dentists.

‘Vocational Training is such an important phase in a dentist’s career, as it is at this point that the technical

education they have been taught as students is integrated with the practicalities of general practice and all that this entails.

‘I have found the whole experience extremely rewarding and would invite all practitioners to consider seriously the benefits of becoming involved in the scheme.’

Students and VDPs in the UK and Ireland can nominate a teacher by completing a nomination form, which is then reviewed by the DDU and a panel of external judges and leading dental educationalists. Forms are available to download or complete online at the DDU website, or from a DDU

dental liaison manager.

Students and VDPs who submit an entry will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win an iPod nano.

The winner in each category will be chosen following a presentation by finalists at the awards ceremony. Awards will be judged across a number of criteria, including knowledge of the subject and the ability to motivate.

• The photo (top right) shows the 2007 winners – Jane Holt (far left), Anne Milarivie (front, centre) and Giles Perryer (far right) with their awards.

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