​The One-Minute Marvel

This story is written by Sikin Kherani, Clinical Dental Hygienist and Dental Hygiene Educator, Dental Health, Pakistan

Like all educators around the world, COVID-19 re-arranged our cerebral and instructional furniture, as we had to instantly pivot to online teaching. As educators, we have a responsibility to create a positive learning environment and nurture our students to be critical thinkers, engage in intellectual discourse, provide a platform for creativity and support their academic journey. At the same time, we need to incorporate various instructional strategies in order to address diverse learning styles and keep a pulse on being empathetic, approachable and accessible.  How does an educator deliver all of that especially online? I wish I had the answer. 

Along with the other dental hygiene instructors at AKU Karachi, we all had to be very creative in delivering effective, affective and diverse teaching methods as learning was asynchronous during the lockdown. Even though I was teaching several topics in Dental Hygiene theory via the Moodle platform, teaching online during COVID-19 posed several challenges.

I believe in the humanistic paradigm where learning is student-centred, meaningful and cognitive. My teaching practice is grounded in reflective practice as one of the key teaching strategies, as it provides me with a compass to evaluate my delivery and gauge students’ learning.

However, in order to cater to the divergent learning styles, several assessment methods were incorporated. One of my favourite strategies from my Instruction toolbox is The Minute Paper. It really does take a minute, and I coined the phrase “The One Minute Marvel” in its place where students were given one minute to write down three sunny points and three muddy points on the topic delivered. This reflective practice is a powerful and pragmatic way to assess the degree to which the students understand the presented material.  The One Minute paper provides rapid, real-time feedback on whether the instructor’s main idea and what the student is perceived as the main idea is the same. The three muddy points are feedback for the student to introspectively reflect on their learning, and equally important for faculty to identify which concepts students find challenging and if needed, make an instructional adjustment. Students can identify where they need assistance or where they need to prepare more effectively; they do not wait until the end of the semester to identify problem-learning areas and can use this as a study resource. Faculty using the One Minute Paper demonstrates respect for and interest in student feedback.  The results are then read, tabulated and analyzed quickly and with limited effort. 

The One Minute Paper is extremely versatile as it can be integrated into face-to-face learning, synchronous and asynchronous delivery, as well as blended mode. It can be used at the beginning of the lecture as a conceptual bridge between classes, at the end of the lecture to reflect on, and in the middle to engage students and discuss key points. This strategy was instrumental during COVID-19 when we had to adjust our teaching strategies to online learning.

I had never met the new dental hygiene students, and I was still not going to ‘meet’ them face to face, as teaching was online s because of the pandemic. My primary objective was to know my audience. The One Minute Paper served best as a formative assessment tool to provide me with a snapshot of who they were and how they learned the content. During these unprecedented times, my dental hygiene students worked extremely hard, rose to the occasion, they were tenacious and exemplified excellence. Feedback from their first assessment provided a springboard to adjust my teaching strategies for the rest of the course. Therefore, the One-minute paper strategy was truly marvellous!​