Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist is a licensed dental professional who specializes in preventive oral health, typically focusing on techniques in oral hygiene. Local dental regulations determine the scope of practice of dental hygienists. In most jurisdictions, hygienists work for a dentist, and some are licensed to administer local anesthesia. Common procedures performed by hygienists include cleanings known as prophylaxis, scaling and root planing for patients with periodontal disease, taking of prescrib...


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Last Updated: February 26, 2014, 9:55 pm
Question 1 of 77

What hobbies do you have that require hand skills?
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Career Field
Job Satisfaction
Interview Difficulty
Healthcare
Vacation
Hours per Week
Health
75%
Easy
Not Provided
One Week
38 Hrs/Wk
Education Requirements

Dental hygienists typically need an associateís degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's degrees in dental hygiene are also available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree is usually required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Work Environment

Almost all dental hygienists work in dentistsí offices. They work closely with dentists and dental assistants. Dental hygienists wear safety glasses, surgical masks, and gloves to protect themselves and patients from infectious diseases. When taking x rays, they follow strict procedures to protect themselves and patients. They may spend long periods bending over to work on patients.

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Dental Hygienist Reviews

Aug 24, 2014
Why did you choose this profession?
When I was a kid I saw people not practising good Oral hygiene practises , many of them suffered from oral diseases.
Aug 27, 2014
Why did you choose this profession?
I love to work with people, and I have also always known that I wanted to work in a healthcare field. I am also very detail oriented and am not afraid to get dirty.
What do you enjoy about being a Dental Hygienist?
Helping people. Educating my Patients and knowing that I am making a difference in their life. I like when patients take something I teach them during patient education and use it and actually see results.
Tell me about the hours you are used to working and your schedule.
Right now I work from 7 am to 1 pm Monday through Friday. I also help a family friend by nannying for their son. I help them out from 3 to 7pm, Monday through Friday.
What are some of the benefits you are custom to as a Dental Hygienist?
I have already received the benefits list from HR. I do not currently have health/dental insurances through my job, so I am excited about that.
What are some of your most memorable experiences as a Dental Hygienist?
I love treating elderly patients. They are usually so sweet. I also like when I get the opportunity to treat a patient, usually a child, who has never been to a dental office before. It feels good to know I can provide them with a good experience so that they hopefully wont be apprehensive or anxious about dental visits in the future.
How often did you work in teams as a Dental Hygienist?
Always!! Even though we each do our own part it all ties together and we need to be able to successfully work together.
Sep 4, 2014
What do you enjoy about being a Dental Hygienist?
I love working with people and knowing that I am helping them feel confident and healthy.
What areas do you dislike about being a Dental Hygienist?
The only dislike I can think of is the potential strain on our bodies. I have always been into fitness and yoga so I am hopeful that I can combat this from happening by staying fit and maintaining proper ergonomics while working.
What special skills does it take to be a Dental Hygienist?
I have always knitted and crocheted. This practice allowed me to have great dexterity and it really showed in school. I also and very friendly and can usually relate to anyone at some level which makes my patients feel comfortable with me.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part is only being able to have a short amount of time with my patients. There is so much that I can and want to educate them on but just doing a little at each appointment really does help them in the long run.
Sep 14, 2014
Why did you choose this profession?
I was a dental nurse, and I liked the independency the patient contact and a hygienist rol in a entail practice.
What do you enjoy about being a Dental Hygienist?
I like to see the results when I for example have started a periodontal treatment, when patients are happy about the work.
What areas do you dislike about being a Dental Hygienist?
There no areas that I dislike as such but I would say that I enjoy more when I work with adults than children.
Sep 18, 2014
What areas do you dislike about being a Dental Hygienist?
Yes I do, I am very hands on person, very detailed oriented.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
Yes I do, I am very hands on person, very detailed oriented.

Dental Hygienist Pros

Pro #1:
The hours are very flexible, you get to improve the oral health of other, and it is such a rewarding career
Jan 1, 1970
Pro #2:
dental hygienists get to work with different kinds of people with different needs. Therefore every patient they see will be their learning experience.
Jan 1, 1970
Pro #3:
In my eyes I see only pros; the ability to help people with their dental health, a job where I am making a difference, hands on work that is interesting and exciting as well as self fufilling.
Jan 1, 1970
Pro #4:
You get to be part of the preventative side of dentistry preventing further damage to patients teeth through oral health maintenance. It is truly rewarding to be able to have the power to help patients keep their natural teeth without extensive restorations.
Jan 1, 1970
Pro #5:
Improving the dental health and opinions of a patient.
Jan 1, 1970
Pro #6:
Being able to help people recognize how important their oral health is and always have a beautiful smile.
Jan 1, 1970
Pro #7:
You get to change paitients ideas of oral health care and their providers at the source. If you take the time to listen to your patient and act with kindness they will gain your trust and you will have a returning patient!
Jan 1, 1970
Dental Hygienist Interview Questions
Top
1. What hobbies do you have that require hand skills?
Top Answer
I actually took an art class at TXCC and it was all about being gentle with your hands and I took up that skill very quickly and I think that it will help me as I start doing clinical work in hygiene school
Second Best
I paint and draw and have obtained a degree in dental technology last year which requires excellent dexterity skills.
3.
Crafts - Made my own mukluks including beading. Nails - nail art, complicated small designs that take a lot of patience and a steady hand. Cooking.
4.
I like to paint, draw and do anything artistic and constructive
5.
I enjoy knitting and crocheting. I have also spent some time learning the violin.
6.
I do alot of cake decorating and i use my hands a lot.
7.
I currently work as a bank teller and my hands are constantly moving with counting money and other job duties. I am also a lover of puzzles and that requires alot of hand skills.
2. What if you aren't accepted into Hygienist school?
Top Answer
I would be saddened but I would try again at the next possibility.
Second Best
Then I would try again next year and continue practising as an assistant, looking to further my assisting career by volunteering in Costa Rica and taking the orthodontic module.
3.
I will continue my job as a surgical assistant and will apply again for the following year!
4.
I would study no more.
5.
I will all I can to be accepted into Hygienist school because this is something I am extremely passionate about.
6.
If I am not accepted into Hygienist school I will try again at the next possible chance.
3. Do you enjoy working with your hands?
Top Answer
I enjoy working with my hands. It is one of the ways that I learn
Second Best
Yes, i find it very rewarding.
3.
Yes, very much so.
4.
I have always been a hands on person, which is on of the reason why I wanted to go into hygiene, so yes I love working with my hands.
5.
Yes. I enjoy the fine motor skills.
6.
Yes, I do. I love to cook for my family so I am constantly working with my hands.
7.
Yes, I enjoy working with my hands very much. I am a very hands-on individual and in dentistry your hands create miracles for patients.
4. How did you manage your time among school, work, and or other activities?
Top Answer
Thankfully, my parents are very supportive of me and they let me make school my number one priority. They tell me not to work while im in school so besides school, I am always with my family and I love spending time with them.
Second Best
I have a weekly schedule that I follow and this routine allows me the ability to complete all of the tasks that I need to accomplish. There are a lot of tasks with a husband and 3 kids.
3.
I am blessed to have a great family support system. I've been married for three years and my husband has given me an opportunity to make school my number one priority. Truthfully, I don't have many activities outside of school, family and work, which I will be resigning from the clinic next semester.
4.
I had to prioritize my time and I used my spare time to study and get caught up on work.
5.
Prioritize.
6.
I prioritized my time and took advantage of any and all free time to stay caught up on my work at school and work with my family.
7.
My best friend while managing my time was my planner. I could not have stayed on top of everything if it weren't for that weekly planner. I wrote every thing that needed to get done in it and as soon as i finished that activity i would cross it off.
5. Will you keep a client, even if they had the worst hygiene imagineable?
Best Answer
Yes absolutely.
2.
Yes, they are the people that need the help and education the most.
3.
Yes. These are the clients that need are help most. If the periodontal disease is above my level of expertise I may have them alternate between us and the periodontist but yes, these are the people that most need our help.
4.
Yes they clearly need help and education about good dental hygiene.
5.
YES! Everyone deserves the best oral care that can be provided, no matter how bad their teeth are. And if they do have bad oral hygiene, they need to be taught how to properly take care of their teeth.
6. Why do you want to be a dental hygienist?
Top Answer
To help educate people about prevention of decay and disease of their teeth.
Second Best
Its the next step to take in my career.
3.
I am seen my family suffer from not taking good care of their dental health. I would love to help them and my community to be aware of the various issues that lead to dental problems.
4.
I know how important oral hygiene is but I also know that is is not considered that important by most individuals. I see how oral hygiene affects the big picture. It can be so simple an yet individuals neglect their mouths. I want to educate individuals on the proper ways to care for their mouths.
5.
An interest in biological science, helping people, and personal hygiene.
6.
I want to help educate others on why its so important to take care of your oral health. People do not understand how important your teeth are!
7. How would you rate your previous college education?
Top Answer
From a scale from one to ten i would say an eight.
Second Best
I worked all throughout college and it has been difficult, but it has taught me how to manage my time and to prioritize. I have always liked school, but I like school even more when I get to learn about things that I am interested in.
3.
my previous college, are alright to a certain extent but it would be best if i attained better grades
4.
I would say that I have successfully been able to correct any of my previous mistakes and drastically improve my GPA which has shown me that I literally can do anything I want to if I sincerely try.
5.
My previous education was at Dental school , this helped me to understand and communicate with people from different socio economic background & different cultures.
6.
I went to school at NTC in Wausau, and I have to say that it was quite challenging. The program is very rigorous, but I am grateful for that because it has helped shaped me into the great hygienist I am today.
8. If you could do anything different in your education, what would you do?
Top Answer
I wish I would have started school earlier. I feel as though I am alittle bit behind in my life plans because of returning to school later. But this also provides me with an advantage in knowing what I truly want to do and having work experience which provides me with more drive to reach my goals.
Second Best
If not a dental hygienist than something for sure relating to medical field.
3.
I would do nothing different. I love where I am at. I love my school and the comfortable atmosphere that is here and I would not change anything about it
4.
Take multiple years of Spanish.
5.
I might have been a little more proactive when I was deciding upon schools and degrees while in highschool.
6.
I would take spanish classes so I would not have to have a translator for my spanish speaking patients. That way I could better suit their needs.
7.
I would have focused more on classes that were more difficult for me.
9. What do you think you will dislike the most about being a hygienist?
Top Answer
may have nerve problem in hands, arms, and back in the future due to repititive hand work.
Second Best
Honestly, not being able to control the cost of cleanings or the ability to financially work with low income patients.
3.
I cant think of anyhting i would dislike. there are many reasons i wanted to become a hygienist. i care for pateints and i love my job. i know i am going to have difficult days but i think i am prepared for it.
4.
Seeing patients with oral cavity problems beyond fixing hygienically which could have been prevented earlier by someone like myself with a proper hygiene advice.
5.
Getting back achs and neck pain.
6.
Physical pain.
7.
Cleaning rooms.
10. Why have you chosen to pursue this profession?
Top Answer
I worked as a dental assistant and felt that I would be very sucessful as a hygienist, having my own area and patients is very appealing to me. I enjoy connecting with the public on a one on one basis.
Second Best
Always been something i wanted to do since a young girl. I love helping others and being able to make a change in their lives and health.
3.
I have chosen dental hygiene because I was put on this Earth to make people feel good about themselves and to make them smile. I want to be the one to put that finishing touch on that young girl who just had her braces off. I had 3 sets of braces and when my hygienist cleaned my teeth, I felt like a million bucks. I want to make that 13 year old girl feel like a million bucks like I did, and I want her to feel confident about her smile.
4.
I love dental Hygiene... peoples teeth are part of the first impression, and a smile leads to emoion.. someones smile and dental hygeine says a lot about themselves
5.
Through my lifetime experiences, i have come to realise the importance of one's health and how health is the base of everything. Pursueing a career in the field of dental hygiene is a commitment i have made to my health and to the health of others.
6.
I've always had an interest in teeth. As a young child, I would find myself looking at my teeth, playing around with floss and toothpicks and drying the saliva on my teeth. I would notice the white calculus that appeared on my lower front teeth and would often wondered what it was. I would try to remove it and quite enjoyed the feeling of being able to remove it.
7.
I have chosen to pursue this career because I was put on this Earth to help people and to make them feel good and confident about themselves. I love the tools and instraments used in the dental office and putting those 2 together make this the best career choice for me.
11. When did you discover you want to be a hygienist?
Top Answer
I discovered i wanted to be a dental hygienist when i was in high school.
Second Best
I originally thought I wanted to be a dentist. But after working as a dental assistant for 5 years, I discovered that I did not want the responsibilities of a dentist but would rather help individuals with oral help by becoming a dental hygienist. I have a love for teeth and working with my hands so being a hygienist is a perfect fit.
3.
Upon completion of my dental assisting school and after having worked in a dental setting. Being an assistant was wonderful, but I feel I would prevail in a DH setting. I would like to work one on one with patients and be an educator, not just an assistant to a a dentist.
4.
Upon speaking with my dental hygienist about how much she loves her job.
5.
Freshman year of college.
6.
While dental assisting I discovered that i have so much love for dentistry but was feeling very limited.
7.
When i moved on to here..i discovered this program when i went to dental clinic with my bro..and i interested in it more than physical therapy.
12. What do you feel are the most important qualities in being a good hygienist?
Top Answer
Manual dexterity, an at ease personality, being personable.
Second Best
Being knowledgeable in your field, passing it onto your clients, being organized, team worker, have good clinical skills, proper ergonomics, friendly, and having a great attitude towards the day.
3.
Patience, outgoing, personable, good team work, responsible, organized, helpful, caring.
4.
Thouroughness, dedication, approachability.
5.
Patient care. Performing good clinical skills while keeping the patient comfortable.
6.
Knowledgeable, caring, patient, understanding, ethical.
7.
I feel the most important qualities in a good hygienist are to be gentle while working on patient's, but at the same time be thorough in doing a great job cleaning their teeth. It is also important to be understanding and compassionate of patient's feelings, fears, and concerns about dental work or their dental health. Another important quality is to be proactive in explaining and educating patient's on how to care for their teeth or what they can do to improve the health of their mouths.
13. How would you describe your overall academic performance?
Top Answer
I would say i have been successful at some things and others things i've had to try things and work things out.
Second Best
Im am strongly dedicated to my education. With difficult classes I studied longer to get where I needed to be.
3.
I have really gotten into the school groove since my second semester of college. High school i noticed did not prepare me for college so my first semester I struggled. However, ever since then I have become very stable with my academics and it has became my top priority.
4.
Overall I'm pleased with my academic performance. There are a few classes that I think I could have pulled an A in if I had pushed myself harder but for the most part I'm proud of how I've done.
5.
Impressive.
6.
Outstanding.
7.
I graduate from high school with gpa 4.0.
14. What exposures have you had to the dental industry?
Top Answer
I took a summer internship with my family dentist after graduating high school and assisted the doctor with routine check ups, cleanings, root canals, and fillings. Also, I worked with a dental hygieniest this past winter at mission grove dentistry and learned the proper ways to measure teeth, detect dental caries, gingivititis and periodontial diseases.
Second Best
I had a shadowing experience my senior year of high school and I was able to ask the hygienist questions and watch her go through her daily routene.
3.
I have worked as a dental assistant for almost 5 years after graduating college, I have volunteered at the dental clinic in town and I have helped organize and participated in two dental/medical missions trips, one to Kenya and one to Chile.
4.
The dental industry has been a part of my life since I can remember. My grandpa was a respected dentist in Independence for years and my aunt was a dental hygienist before she had children, actually a former graduate from this program. I have shadowed at a few different dental offices and had extensive conversations with my dentist about the dental field.
5.
No.
6.
I have worked at as a surgical assistant for an oral surgeon for almost a year now, I have received by dental x-ray license, and have done 20 hours of shadowing in a dentists office.
7.
Assisting in sedations, dental cases with general anesthesia at the hospital, internship at an office, dental assisting school, working alongside a hygienist.
15. What are your 2 weakest points?
Top Answer
I can be a perfectionist at times and tend to check my work to reassure myself that everything was completed correctly.
Second Best
I tend to have a tendancy to be perfectionistic. I dislike causing discomfort to a patient I need to remember that sometimes it is necessary to cause a little discomfort in order to completely remove the calculus.
3.
My two weakest points would have to be, that i get very anxious and want to do everything at one time and have to learn to slow down and not get as stressed out.
4.
Perfectionist!
5.
O I can sometimes come off as very quiet when I first meet people so they think I am shy; but I am getting a lot better about this since working in customer service for the last 6 years. Also at the orientation last Saturday it was mentioned that many students come into the program shy but itís taught to them how to be more outgoing and communicate. o I get anxious when I am uncertain or unprepared to do something, for example if I havenít studied enough or if I donít have a plan for an event or know that there is a certain plan in place. I usually prefer to have a set plan, and if not I get anxious about it. E.g. My birthday.
6.
When a patient comes in either in a bad mood or immediately begins to talk down to me, I loose my confidence. I over think things and get stressed out. I also need to be write most things down when I am told to do something because as soon as I start talking with a patient, I will loose that instruction and it may get forgotten.
7.
Compassionate and empatheyic to others.
16. Are you involved in any pre-dental groups?
Top Answer
Apart from working at a Pediatric Dental office for 19 months, I have not been involved in any other pre dental groups.
Second Best
I am a dental assistant.
3.
I plan to be involved in the club this year as well as continue my obsevation.
4.
I have been volunteering with a non profit organization that goes around to local elementary schools and provides kids with free dental care who are not able to afford it. Aside from that and doing dental office observations, I am not involved in any pre-dental groups
5.
I am not involved in any groups per say but I have been shadowing at various dental offices and I am in an intro course to get further information on the profession.
6.
I have worked as a dental assistant for over four years but other than that, no.
7.
I work for a dentist, but thats about it. I would be highly interested in a pre-dental group though.
17. Favorite thing you observed or highlights of your observation experience?
Top Answer
interaction with people and making them feel confident and aware of their dental issues if any and giving them right advise.
Second Best
I enjoyed watching the dentist cut and pull wisdom teeth out. I thought it was so neat. It looked like it would hurt the patient. Good thing they numbed her up!
3.
My favorite aspect during my observation hours were the deep cleanings. It was an intense and impressive procedure.
4.
Watching the patient's satisfaction after a service was the most enjoyable part of observing.
5.
The highlight is that i get to ask questions, meet new people, and get to absorb everything.
6.
When we found an absess in the xray of a patient that wouldn't have been detected otherwise.
7.
I observed in a pedo office and it was amazing how she talked to the kids and educated them as she was scaling or cleaning their teeth. She would talk to them in a way that best fit them and their age group so they could best understand.
18. If you are stressed, what signs occur and what do you do about it?
Top Answer
I deal with stress very well.
Second Best
Sleep deprived and seek advice.
3.
I usually get really frustrated when in a stressful situation. Usually I just step back and take a deep breath. Then I think about what is a priority in what I need to get done. I feel much better after I take the time to think and plan rather than get everything done at once.
4.
if i am stressed i get quiet. and i like discussing my probelems with my husband.
5.
I sometimes can feel my immune system start to weaken and I have to get rest and take a supplement to help me bounce back.
6.
I have a heard time sleeping, when I am stressed I like to go running or do something with just me and my dog to give myself some time to think.
7.
I panic a little and I cry!
19. Describe the people you find most difficult to work with.
Top Answer
I am very much a team player. I want to know that I've been heard, not necessarily that you agree but that you listened. I am very big on mutual respect, making sure everyone feels their opinion is valued and then coming to a group consensus about what the best course to take is. Having said that, traits that undermine that philosophy can present a challenge to work with.
Second Best
People who nit-pick every detail that is not exactly right, someone who talks down to you instead of to you, someone who does not have a good sense of humor.
3.
I dont have difficulty working with anyone. I am very adaptable
4.
Just someone who is not a team player. If they are not willing to work together to get a job done I find it difficult to work alongside them.
5.
The people I find most difficult to work with are the ones who do not show good team work skills.
6.
Hardly any... I can relate to and work with most everyone.
7.
The people that I prefer not to work with are the ones who will do anything in their power to avoid doing their job. Lazy people are the hardest to work with, although I will always do my best to pick up the slack I perfer to work next to someone who is just as compentent as I am!
20. What are the negative aspects of being a hygienist?
Top Answer
Having uncompliant patients.
Second Best
I honestly just got out of school, so I haven't experienced a whole lot of negativity, but if I had to say one aspect that could be negative might be the physical strain on your hands.
3.
I suppose some negative things would be that it is at base a service job dealing with people. And for every great person, there is a nasty one. Sometimes dealing with people can be hard in totally other ways too such as when you loose someone. But these are all subjective.
4.
One of the few negative aspects of dental hygiene is that it is easy to develope back and neck pain.
5.
I dont think there are any.
6.
Client not complaining with the recommendation to improve their oral health.
7.
Communicable diseases.
21. Describe the people you work with best.
Top Answer
Someone that has high work ethics like I do, someone that is willing to cooperate and lend a helping hand if needed.
Second Best
There is no one type of person I work with better than the next. I am friendly and outgoing and work well and get along with pretty much everyone. I can be a leader or a follower if necessary. I enjoy working with people that are easy going.
3.
I enjoy a variety of people to work with.
4.
I enjoy being around upbeat, happy people.
5.
Non-dramatic.
6.
People who are fun and energetic and really love their job. People who know what they are doing and are well educated about the career.
22. Describe your work ethic.
Top Answer
My work ethic is strong. I feel it is important to use evidence based knowledge when working with patients. I also view my time at work as working time, I am more than happy to help out others during down time.
Second Best
My work ethic is to practice using evidence based information in a preventive manner and always have the clients best interests at heart
3.
I have a very strong work ethic. I am not the kind of employee that will be using my phone during my shift. If a patient cancles at the last minute I will make sure I continure to work by helping in sterilization or by auditing the charts.
4.
My work ethic is very percise. I love to be organized and have everything in it's place before I can start my work. Being organized sets the mood for me for the entire day.
5.
I would say i've very driven, competitive.
6.
I work extremely hard in everything I do. I work as a team player and try to help out in any situation possible.
7.
My work ethic is to always put the customer or patient first. Whatever you can do to make them as comfortable as possible!
23. A patient has AIDs, would you still treat them as a hygienist?
Top Answer
yes..not everyone's truthful about their medical health so you treat everyone the same ie that includes those with AIDS
Second Best
if a patient has AIDS i will still treat them as a hygienist because that is part of my job discription. i am in no position to discrimant agianst anyont because of their condition or background. i would make it my duty to perform the job careful and cautiously.
3.
Thankfully in todays world of Denistry and the general medical world, each individual who is exposed to any type of open wounds or blood exposure has the propper equipment to keep them safe. with the propper PPE no hygienist should ever be exposed to AIDs or any other disease. With this being said, the answer is yes, you should treat every patient as if they have AIDs so you keep yourself protected and the patient protected.
4.
I see no reason why a patient with AIDs, in the right environment, and with the dental hygienist taking proper safety precautions, should not be treated.
5.
Yes, as long as I use the appropriate barriers (gloves, mask, eye protection) then there should not be any concerns.
6.
Yes! everyone should be treated equally.
7.
Yes of course, in a profession like this everyone is treated the same. In Dental assisting class I was taught to always treat each patient as they carry a deadly disease regardless of their health history. Therefore universal precautions should be used. As a hygienist I will never discriminate against anyone because of their health history or their background.
24. What do you think will be your greatest challenge in completing hygienist school?
Top Answer
Balancing my family time and school time, and making sure everyone's needs are met. I know going to school with three kids is tough, but I'll have the family support I need, and we'll be fine. We're tough.
Second Best
I know that is is a tough program but I know that when I am focused on a goal I will do whatever it takes to reach it.
3.
Having a baby while studying.
4.
Being focused enough to continue with my degree instead of entering the work force after two years once becoming an hygienist.
5.
I am aware that it is a tough course and i have prepared myself for it. However i may find the start of the course challenging but once i know the volume of work required i can adapt to the situation.
6.
Juggling being a mom and student.
7.
To balance the study workload and social life. But we can keep a good harmony of both if we know how to plan our study.
25. What type of learner are you?
Top Answer
visual and hands on
Second Best
I am a very hands on learner. I need to physically have something in my hands like models of human organs or dental tools to really get the feel for what I am learning and to fully understand it.
3.
Visual.
4.
Hands on learner.
5.
I'm a visual learner, I like to supplement readings and lectures with pictures and models when I can.
6.
visual
7.
Hands on.