University of Sydney Compass Day - 29 March 2011

13 May 2011

Our Faculty was invited to join The University's Compass - find your way to higher education ('Compass') program with the key goal to "build attainment and aspiration within selected school communities".

Dr Catherine Groenlund, Head of Foundation of Total Patient Care was joined by colleagues Dr Zahra Karami, Ms Robyn Watson and Dr Talal Salami for this annual campaign aimed at `encouraging post-school education to those primary and secondary school children who are traditionally less likely to participate in higher education'.

Our aim was to introduce the Year 3 students to the dental environment in a friendly, exciting, "pain-free" way whilst providing them with insight into the profession. We used a huge model of an oral cavity and giant toothbrush, some acrylic and enormous stone samples of different teeth, dental panoramic X-Rays (OPG) and happy, friendly staff.

The visiting students were excited to find themselves sitting with `real' dentists in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere rather than in a professional set-up. The ability to touch and manipulate the dental instruments which they would otherwise not be able to approach was a popular attraction. Looking at x-rays and trying to guess which tooth is which also proved to be of great interest to them. Some students had considerable knowledge of the dentist but the most common feeling was, unfortunately, one of fear based either on their own, or someone else's, experience .

It was hugely rewarding for Faculty staff to be surrounded by bright, enquiring minds and explain dentistry in a light and interesting way. The innocence and spontaneity of the students gave the day a very special feeling of joy and amusement to us all. As an added bonus we felt that the aim to take steps to build a first, positive relationship between the community and the University and "positively influence the perceptions of students and their parents about higher education, and their subsequent choices" were successfully achieved. In a verbal survey asking what students wished to be when they got older, the percentage for the choice as dentist jumped from 30% before the activity session, to more than 60% at the end.

The Year 3 Compass Activity Day was once again immensely successful, providing an exciting and stimulating experience for both students and staff with the Dentistry stand proving to be hugely popular with the young visitors.

Phone: 02 9351 8334