Should attendance be required in lecture classrooms in dental education? Two viewpoints

Christopher W. Cutler, Mary Parise, Ana Lucia Seminario, Maria Jose Cervantes Mendez, Wilhelm Piskorowski, Renato Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This Point/Counterpoint discusses the long-argued debate over whether lecture attendance in dental school at the predoctoral level should be required. Current educational practice relies heavily on the delivery of content in a traditional lecture style. Viewpoint I asserts that attendance should be required for many reasons, including the positive impact that direct contact of students with faculty members and with each other has on learning outcomes. In lectures, students can more easily focus on subject matter that is often difficult to understand. A counter viewpoint argues that required attendance is not necessary and that student engagement is more important than physical classroom attendance. This viewpoint notes that recent technologies support active learning strategies that better engage student participation, fostering independent learning that is not supported in the traditional large lecture classroom and argues that dental education requires assimilation of complex concepts and applying them to patient care, which passing a test does not ensure. The two positions agree that attendance docs not guarantee learning and that, with the surge of information technologies, it is more important than ever to teach students how to learn. At this time, research does not show conclusively if attendance in any type of setting equals improved learning or ability to apply knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1474-1478
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Active learning
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Dental education
  • Educational measurement
  • Educational technology
  • Lecture
  • Teaching method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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