Development of teaching expertise viewed through the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition

Lucinda J Lyon


This study was designed to explore development of skill acquisition in dental education, utilizing the Dreyfus and Dreyfus continuum. By identifying what skill progression may be recognized in the expert dental educator; and what experiences appear to influence this growth, the knowledge gained may inform more efficient,  effective faculty support, development and life-long learning. Employing a qualitative approach, individual interviews were conducted with experienced educators and analyzed. Open coding of responses revealed that skill acquisition necessary to good teaching, as expressed by these experienced educators, reflects common themes and a learning curve similar to that noted by Dreyfus and Dreyfus and other investigators. In addition to supporting knowledge and technique development, dental faculty described working to share with students a wide range of non-cognitive competencies such as professionalism, communication, and an ethic of care and service. Findings increase understanding of teaching skill acquisition in dental education and may help provide support for health care faculty who desire to become excellent educators.


skill acquisition; teaching methods; novice to expert; expertise; reflection

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ISSN 1527-9316