European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 11 - Number S1
Eur J Anat, 11 (S1): 19-30 (2007)

The relationships between attitudes, course aims and teaching methods for the teaching of Gross Anatomy in the Medical Curriculum

Moxham B.J., Moxham S.A.

Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3US, United Kingdom; Barts and the London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of London, Turner Street, London E1 2AD, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT Recent developments in medical curricula have led to marked changes in the teaching of gross (topographical) anatomy. This has resulted from the belief that anatomy is largely "content-driven" and not "skills- based". This presentation describes and evaluates, primarily from the perspective of medical students, different methods of teaching anatomy and includes the "teaching" of such skills as: team skills, relating their dissecting room experience to the study of pathology and to the clinic, relating their experience to medical humanities issues such as their responses to death. The assessment of attitudes was conducted by employing Thurstone and Chave attitude analyses and also a matrix questionnaire that evaluated different methods of teaching anatomy in relation to an array of potential course aims/learning outcomes. Comparisons were made with the attitudes of professional anatomists working in Europe. The findings show that: Medical students and professional anatomists differ little in their evaluation of the importance of anatomy and of the relationships between teaching methods and course aims/learning outcomes; Medical students believe that anatomy is very important to clinical medicine (before entering their medical course, after completing their anatomy courses, and towards the end of their medical training at university); Medical students would prefer that anatomy is taught practically (via dissection, use of prosection, with living and radiological anatomy) than theoretically (via didactic teaching, models, CAL). Because of anatomy's perceived clinical importance, because of the preference for practical teaching and learning, and because both professional anatomists and medical students do not believe that anatomy contributes greatly to other basic sciences, it is suggested that anatomy ought to be a "stand-alone" component in a medical curriculum.

Keywords: anatomy, attitude, conference paper, curriculum, Europe, human, learning, medical education, medical student, skill, teaching

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)