Teachers’ feedback practices in COVID-19: Has anything changed?

P. D. Fine, A. Leung, I. Tonni, C. Louca

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Objectives: Feedback delivered by teachers to dental students has a profound impact on students’ ongoing learning and development. The aim of this study was to investigate changes to feedback practices as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing challenges to delivering quality dental education.

Methods: This was a mixed method study. Quantitative data were collected through a bespoke questionnaire delivered to attendees of the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) annual conference. Qualitative data were collected via four focus groups at the conference, each discussing a particular theme. The questionnaire and conference were delivered online via Gmail and MS Teams, respectively.

Quantitative data were analysed descriptively; qualitative data were analysed narratively, and both were triangulated.

Results: 67 questionnaire responses were received which represented a 26% response rate. Respondents came from 12 different countries within Europe and beyond and reported having a variety of roles in their dental schools. 77.6% (n = 52) respondents indicated they had changed their delivery of feedback due to the pandemic. One-third of respondents reported giving more feedback and 76% (n = 51) increased their quantity of feedback delivered online.

The increased incidence of online learning had resulted in a greater emphasis on teaching small groups, increased use of technology, increased emphasis on student centred learning and heightened awareness of changing the style of feedback delivery.

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has enforced rapid changes to the delivery of feedback by teachers to dental students, which could pave the way for a more positive, inclusive, individualistic and effective approach for delivering feedback now and in the future.

Clinical significance:
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant shift from face-to-face teaching to online tuition, which promoted a need to re-evaluate the best method of delivering feedback to students. The ongoing changes in teaching approaches have a profound impact on clinical skills acquisition for dental students. The quality of the feedback students receive may help to enhance the synergies between theoretical online teaching and hands-on clinical skills acquisition, which has been altered and disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104087
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dentistry
Early online date4 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Dental education
  • Feedback practices
  • pandemic


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