Teaching Anatomy PDF – A Practical Guide

Teaching Anatomy PDF – A Practical Guide

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The title of this book, “Teaching Anatomy: A Practical Guide,” deserves some explanation. The word teaching has unfortunately become an unpopular word in educational writing. It is often associated with passive learning with the teacher playing the role of the “sage on the stage.” Knowledge is seen as packages transferrable from the teacher to the students, whose role is only to be receivers of the packages. But to us, teaching involves all activities that a teacher does to help students learn. It involves being both a “sage on the stage” and a “guide on the side.”
With the current trend toward a system-based approach to medical education, a book that focuses on the teaching of anatomy may seem old fashioned. After all, over the past few decades, anatomy has become increasingly integrated into the wider curriculum and is less of an isolated subject. However, this shift in the curriculum and educational philosophy has not destroyed anatomy’s long history as a distinct discipline. Anatomy, especially gross anatomy, still plays a unique role in many healthcare programs: it has frequently become the only practical course that students will experience in the early part of the medical curriculum. Students oftentimes learn gross anatomy from possibly one of the most mystical teaching aids: their first “patients,” the cadavers. Cadaveric dissection provides a unique opportunity for students to be introduced to issues of life, death, and suffering and to learn the “soft” skills of medicine. Through working together in the dissection laboratory, students learn skills like reflection, teamwork, communication, professionalism, and ethics, which are all important to their future healthcare careers.
This book aims to be a practical guide and not an exhaustive reference on educational theories as applied to anatomy teaching and learning. We understand that anatomy teachers work in diverse educational environments, including professional healthcare and undergraduate programs, teaching students with different kinds and levels of preparation. They may need to work within the confines of a set syllabus or designing their own course. They may have preferences for high or low tech materials and have few resources or many. Their backgrounds may be clinical or academic. They often need to convey a large body of knowledge to students in a short time and integrate it into the wider healthcare curriculum. They may need to take part in highly specialized pedagogies, such as problem-based learning, team-based learning, and e-learning. Moreover, since curriculum structures vary among schools, integrating anatomy into the curriculum must be flexibly done.
To help teachers to tackle these challenges, we edited this guide book, which gives practical advice to both novice and experienced anatomy teachers in the diverse educational situations that they commonly encounter. We are the first to admit that we do not know it all, so each chapter is written by an expert on its topic. The aim is to help teachers to give the best learning experiences to their students. We also understanding that anatomy teachers, like most other teachers in tertiary institutions, need to divide their time between teaching, research, administrative duties and sometimes even clinical work. We have invited the expert authors of the chapters to write concisely and in simple language. Text boxes are provided to bring out the key points, to stimulate reflection on the reader’s own situation, or to provide additional practical tips. Educational theories, though not the focus of this book, are selectively included in order to explain the theoretical foundation underlying practical suggestions, so that teachers can appropriately modify the strategies described in the book to fit their own educational environments.
As anatomy teachers, we often hope our students will gaze in awe at the inner universe of the human body, as we once did and, hopefully, still do. The induction of our students to this inner universe is a privilege for us. It deserves to be done well. We sincerely hope that this book can help you to help your students to learn. Learning should be fun. And so should teaching, especially anatomy.

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