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      Best teaching practices in anatomy education: A critical review.

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          Abstract

          In this report we review the range of teaching resources and strategies used in anatomy education with the aim of coming up with suggestions about the best teaching practices in this area. There is much debate about suitable methods of delivering anatomical knowledge. Competent clinicians, particularly surgeons, need a deep understanding of anatomy for safe clinical procedures. However, because students have had very limited exposure to anatomy during clinical training, there is a concern that medical students are ill-prepared in anatomy when entering clerkships and residency programs. Therefore, developing effective modalities for teaching anatomy is essential to safe medical practice. Cadaver-based instruction has survived as the main instructional tool for hundreds of years, however, there are differing views on whether full cadaver dissection is still appropriate for a modern undergraduate training. The limitations on curricular time, trained anatomy faculty and resources for gross anatomy courses in integrated or/and system-based curricula, have led many medical schools to abandon costly and time-consuming dissection-based instruction in favour of alternative methods of instruction including prosection, medical imaging, living anatomy and multimedia resources. To date, no single teaching tool has been found to meet curriculum requirements. The best way to teach modern anatomy is by combining multiple pedagogical resources to complement one another, students appear to learn more effectively when multimodal and system-based approaches are integrated. Our review suggests that certain professions would have more benefit from certain educational methods or strategies than others. Full body dissection would be best reserved for medical students, especially those with surgical career intentions, while teaching based on prosections and plastination is more suitable for dental, pharmacy and allied health science students. There is a need to direct future research towards evaluation of the suitability of the new teaching methodologies in new curricula and student perceptions of integrated and multimodal teaching paradigms, and the ability of these to satisfy learning outcomes.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Ann. Anat.
          Annals of anatomy = Anatomischer Anzeiger : official organ of the Anatomische Gesellschaft
          Elsevier BV
          1618-0402
          0940-9602
          Nov 2016
          : 208
          Affiliations
          [1 ] International Research Collaborative, Oral Health and Equity, The University of Western Australia, Australia; School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address: abdalla177@gmail.com.
          [2 ] School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia, Australia.
          Article
          S0940-9602(16)30032-2
          10.1016/j.aanat.2016.02.010
          26996541

          Curriculum, Education, Learning, Modality, Teaching, Anatomy

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