There is an increasing interest in understanding the educational background of anatomy teachers arising from the reported shortage of such staff. This has led to the development of several anatomy graduate training programs, which provide courses on theoretical and practical teaching training as part of their curricula, to prepare graduates for a career in anatomy education. A recent study has reported the design of such a course as part of a Master’s program in Human Anatomy at University College Cork, Ireland. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of students who were enrolled in this course, to apply conceptual knowledge of teaching and learning, to the practical design and delivery of anatomy teaching, and what challenges this posed. Consent was obtained from the students to analyze their reflective teaching portfolios. Analysis showed that students varied from those who demonstrated superficial understanding of core concepts in the teaching and learning, to those who were able to adapt and apply these concepts to their teaching. Moreover, they reported that a lack of experience in educational theory, and the brevity of their exposure to it, was a challenge. This highlights that it is important to equip future anatomy teachers with the necessary skills to build their identity as teachers, in parallel to developing their content knowledge. This highlights the need to develop their intrinsic motivational factors that will help them balance the dual identity both as teachers of, and researchers in, the discipline of anatomy.
Joy Y. Balta1, Gerard W. O’Keeffe2,3, Briony Supple3
1 Division of Anatomy, Department of Biomedical Education & Anatomy, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
2 Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience & Cork Neuroscience Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
3 Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland