Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Higher Education Leadership


Susan Gardner

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth Allan

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey St. John


The clinical education component provided to dental hygiene students is an essential part of their development as competent practitioners. Instructor approaches to clinical teaching are therefore critical in providing quality clinical learning experiences. This study sought to identify dental hygiene students' perceptions of "best" and "worst" clinical teacher practices, to determine whether these perceptions changed based on level in program, by program or state, and whether perceptions were influenced by identified learning strategy. Dental hygiene students (N=218) within 12 participating accredited dental hygiene programs within the Northeast were surveyed in 2011 using a form of the Nursing Clinical Teacher Effectiveness Instrument (NCTEI) developed by Knox and Mogan modified in nomenclature to dental hygiene. The NCTEI, a 47-item Likert scale checklist groups instructor teaching behaviors into 5 categories: Teaching Ability, Interpersonal Relationships, Personality, Competence and Evaluation. Each respondent completed the instrument twice: once for "best" clinical teacher and one for "worst" clinical teacher. To support the conceptual framework of Malcolm Knowles' theory of adult learning, a Learning Strategy Inventory: Assessing the Learning Strategy of AdultS developed by Conti was utilized to evaluate the relationship between respondent identified learning strategy and teaching characteristic preferences. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, one-way and two-way ANOVAs were used to answer all research questions. All students perceived that all "best" clinical teachers demonstrated all subscales of teaching well, with the top two highest ranked individual characteristics being demonstrating self-confidence and strong clinical skills and judgment. All students found that "worst" teachers were perceived as performing all of the subscales of teaching at the mediocre level, with the individual characteristics of teaching behaviors ranked the lowest arising from all 5 subscales. No significant differences were identified for "best" teacher given differences of level in program. On "worst" teacher subscales, students in their first clinical semester were more likely to rank their worst teacher as better at Evaluation and lower in Interpersonal Relations. Given the likelihood of Type-I error, no significant differences were found for "best" or "worst" teacher subscale analyses with regards to program or state, and a trending significance only was found relative to two Learning Strategies.