Journal of Dental Research and Review

: 2018  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 103--104

Gen Z students: Newer teaching methods and its application in dentistry

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

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

How to cite this article:
Kakodkar P. Gen Z students: Newer teaching methods and its application in dentistry.J Dent Res Rev 2018;5:103-104

How to cite this URL:
Kakodkar P. Gen Z students: Newer teaching methods and its application in dentistry. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 23 ];5:103-104
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Dear Readers,

Let's take a moment to run through a quick set of self-assessment questions:

Q1. Have you noticed any change in students, as compared to the previous years?Q2. Do you feel your students need to be taught differently than the earlier years?Q3. Do you feel that the teaching methods/aids need a change?

If the response to all these questions is “Yes"…. then it is time we need to pause and take a step back to analyze the present situation.

Generations are a cohort of people who are born in a certain date range and share general, social, cultural, and technological experiences.

[Table 1] summarizes the different generations referenced, based on their birth years.{Table 1}

In the dental scenario, quite broadly, the faculty pool comprises of Generation X, Generation Y, and the most senior teacher belonging to the Baby boomer generation, whereas the dental learners belong to Generation Z.

It is interesting to note the wide generation gap between the faculty and the learners by age and more importantly in the techniques used during teaching.

[Table 2] summarizes the different generation types and the way they learned during their period.{Table 2}

With the changing times, the newer generation faculty are adapting to the electronic methods, but largely for the Generation Z, the methods are still not up to date with the current times.

 General Characteristics of Generation Z

Each student has her/his personal computer, iPad, Smart phone, and connected to the Internet almost always. They do not like to take notes, instead would prefer recording and digitizing their learnings cryptically. They demand instant information and do not seek a teacher but an instructor or facilitator instead… someone who would guide them.

The Generation Z would like to do the learning in their way. As compared to the earlier generation students, their ability to visualize things has improved multifold and they would prefer visual learning over auditory learning. They can comprehend complex visual imagery easily and prefer interactive and challenging sessions with emphasis on dialoguing on a topic.

 Attitude of Generation Z

Let us all (teachers and students) work together with fun. They believe in 360° learning and feedback, working together in groups, and importantly understand the parameters and boundaries of the topic been taught.

 Literature Suggestion for Newer Learning Aids (In General)

The use of traditional assessment methods should be changed and students should be examined using online method of examination. Online reading materials should be provided. Extensive use of the electronic methods for teaching should be implemented. The suggested teaching aids for Generation Z learners are Podcasts, websites, simulations, interactive tutorials on YouTube, internet-based educational games, and use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Case discussion using WhatsApp should be effected. Teaching should be based on the “student-centered learning model.” The 60-min lecture should be abandoned and scope for “teaching anywhere and anytime” should be made. Use of prerecorded lectures and podcasts should be offered. Scope for outdoor teaching should be made and creative classrooms must be introduced.


However, the challenging question is whether we have such learning resources ready for the dental learning and whether these methods are applicable for dental learning. In the present scenario, our educational policy as drafted by the Dental Council of India does not have such provisions. The Generation Z are born with smartphone in hand, while the faculty have now adapted to the smartphone technology. The student community are more tech savvy and know the “know-how” of technology in a much better way than the faculty.


The academic council of different dental colleges should survey the expectations of the present dental learners, analyze the teaching aids used presently, and discuss the scope of utilizing the newer methods for dental teaching with the faculty. It is time that sensitization sessions are conducted to comprehend the changing times and initiate the application of new teaching methods. The reports generated by the different colleges can be collectively sent to the Dental Council of India for implementation of the newer ways to teaching and assessment.


Today's students are no longer the people our educational systems were designed to teach. Our collective motive now is to “adopt and adapt to the technology” for effectively teaching the Gen Z learner cohort. Literature reports that they will lose interest and universities will become useless after 20 years. In order to survive as a vital institution, the university should undertake crucial transformation concerning the teaching approach.