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Episode 41 Transcript
The Eponym Episode: Modern Use of Terminology
Kevin Patton: Bill Carnegie often said, “The sweetest sound in the world is a person’s own name.”
Aileen: Welcome to The A&P Professor, a few minutes to focus on teaching human anatomy and physiology with host, Kevin Patton.
Kevin Patton: In this episode I revisit adult brain neurogenesis, finding media to use in teaching, and using eponyms, plus a brief discussion about what we call our students.
Kevin Patton: Well, here’s a topic that just keeps coming up, and I think that’s what makes it interesting and fun, and that is the topic of whether adult brains can make new neurons. That is are we doing neurogenesis in the brain as adults. For a long time the common thinking on this was that no, once you reach adulthood, actually long before you reach adulthood, probably most of the time after birth, you’re not really making new brain cells. You’re unconnecting and reconnecting brain cells in order to achieve the plasticity that is necessary for normal human brain function.
Kevin Patton: And then more recently, the idea started growing that yeah, we can do neurogenesis in the adult brain. Back in episode eight I brought up some recent research that claimed to prove that no, that’s really a mistake, that we really can’t continue to make new neurons into and through adulthood.
Kevin Patton: Then I came back in episode 14 with some additional evidence that showed, oh yeah, we can, and that probably what’s going on in our understanding is that the neurogenesis that occurs primarily in the hippocampus of the brain is … it’s not even. We’re not producing the same number of new neurons throughout the entire developmental period. It’s very prolific of course during embryonic and fetal development, and then it slows down once we’re born, and it gets so slow once we’re into adulthood that it’s not likely to really be easily observed, at least not in all the areas of the brain.
Kevin Patton: But as you and I well know, there’s still a lot of work yet to be done in terms of visualizing what’s really going on in the brain. We’re making leaps and bounds in that area certainly, and that is really tipped off to such an explosion of growth and understanding the human brain, but we’re still not at a point where we know even close to everything that’s going on.
Kevin Patton: There was another recent bit of research that came out in the Journal Cell that has identified a population of stem cells from which neurons, new neurons continue to be produced in the adult hippocampus, actually throughout the lifespan. Now one issue with this is that this work was done in mice so it still needs to be confirmed in humans. Mice have a different pattern of development, a different kind of lifespan than humans do, so odds are there are going to be some differences, but there are probably more similarities than there are differences. We’re going to have to wait and see.
Kevin Patton: So this kind of adds some additional evidence that, yes, we are doing neurogenesis in the adult brain and we’re getting closer to understanding exactly how that might be working. It’s just an update here. And it kind of gets to the topic that I was discussing in episode 37, and that is the idea of the last best story.
Kevin Patton: As I mentioned then, I use that phrase a lot in my teaching, and I tell my students that, yes, our understanding of human structure and function changes because we get better technology. We refine the way we ask and answer questions in the experimental method. We start to pull together information that maybe has been out there for a while but hasn’t yet been pulled together and compared and contrasted in ways that give us more insight. So the story keeps getting better and more clear, and as the story develops, sometimes we throw away an idea and then pick it up again later and realize that we shouldn’t have thrown it away in the first place. It might go back and forth a few times. Well, that’s just what makes science fun in my opinion.
Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps. That’s H-A-P-S.
Kevin Patton: I’m going to be giving a workshop on using running concept lists at the annual conference in Portland this May. It’s tentatively scheduled in the last time slot of the last day of the conference. So make sure you plan to stick around until the very end so you don’t miss anything.
Kevin Patton: Those of you who are long time listeners to this podcast may remember way back to episode 28 when I had a conversation with my friend Barbara Waxer who’s a media expert. She was giving us advice on how to find media to use in our A&P course, photographs, illustrations, video, audio, all kinds of things. She also gave us some good advice on how to use it properly.
Kevin Patton: Adam Rich, whose name you’ve heard before because he’s contributed some ideas and questions to this podcast before, was recently listening to episode 28 and he noticed that in the show notes there was a link to Barbara Waxer’s website where she has a list of curated collections where you can easily find some media to use in teaching. But it crosses many different disciplines. It’s not focused just on anatomy and physiology.
Kevin Patton: So Adam was wondering is there a resource that is a little more focused on anatomy and physiology. He was considering putting together something like that himself, but points out that that’s a huge project. Actually in the olden days at theAProfessor.org I had a list of many different images and other kinds of resources that I was curating, and it just got to be too big. So Adam’s right, it’s a huge project and it’s one that’s not really very sustainable, at least not for somebody like me who’s doing a million different things and just doesn’t have time for that kind of a project.
Kevin Patton: If somebody is interested in spearheading something like that, we’d all love to see that, me included. But until we have that, there is something that Barbara did for us right after she did our podcast, and that is she did put together a few resources that are more specific to anatomy and physiology. And what I did with that is I put it into a PDF document and added that to the bonus content that’s on the TAPP Radio app. Remember TAPP, T-A-P-P stands for The A&P Professor.
Kevin Patton: You may recall that there is an app. So you can listen to this podcast on the episode page or in iTunes or Apple Podcasts or Stitcher or Overcast or anyone of a million different places where you can listen a podcast, even on a lot of the radio apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio and so on. You can listen there. But if you listen on the app, you also get some bonus content, usually in the form of PDF files and things that you might be able to access in a few other places, but it’s really handy having it there right in the app.
Kevin Patton: That’s been there for a while, and my intent was to eventually make that into a webpage at theAPprofessor.org and then start adding to it. Adam sort of gave me a good idea of allowing people to contribute to that. So it’s just not me curating it. It’s all of us curating it.
Kevin Patton: I’ve finally gone ahead and done that. There is a page now up at theAPprofessor.org. Just put theAPprofessor.org/media and it should take you there. I also have a link in the show notes and episode page that’ll take you there as well. I have a table there that’s going to list the contributions from Barbara. There’s a handful that I have added in there. There’s also contact form that you can access there where you can contribute some of your ideas on where are some places that all of us who teach anatomy and physiology or anatomy or physiology, where we can go and find some good, useful, curated collections of media, of all kinds.
Kevin Patton: So take a look at it. I’m sure you have some favorites you’re already using. Please, please, please, go ahead fill out the form and let’s populate that with some really golden nuggets that are going to help our colleagues in their teaching of A&P. That’s what this podcast is all about, right? It’s a community effort.
Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and captions for the audiogram of this episode are funded by AAA, the American Association of Anatomists, at anatomy.org. Hey, are you listening to this episode while you’re at the Experimental Biology meeting in Orlando? Maybe enjoying one of the many sessions and other activities sponsored by AAA? Maybe you’re at an anatomy podcast listening party right now hearing this. If so, why not take a moment to tell a colleague about this podcast.
Kevin Patton: In our last episode, that is episode 40, I was talking about eponyms, that is terms that are named after people. An example I gave was the Broca Area or Broca’s Area in the brain named after Paul Broca, and I made an aside that he had massive side burns. I mentioned that because I was using an illustration, a portrait of Paul Broca. And he did have massive sideburns. I mean they are impressive. So it just kind of popped out of my mouth.
Kevin Patton: It wasn’t until after I had recorded episode 40 that I realized that talking about sideburns, sideburns is in itself an eponym. I should’ve made a point of that. So I am now. They’re named after a Union general during the American Civil War, A. E. Burnside. People started calling that growth of hair along the side of one’s face sideburn, so they kind of flipped around his name, but that is who it’s named after, A. E. Burnside general, A. E. Burnside.
Kevin Patton: Oh, I think we have a phone call.
Mike Pascoe: Hello Dr. Patton. Mike Pascoe from the University of Colorado. I just finished listening to your podcast episode on eponym use in anatomy and clinical practice, and it couldn’t be more timely. As you know, you put this episode past me in response to a tweet that I issued recently, and this is just a concept that comes up every semester that I teach, regardless of the healthcare profession population I’m working with, and I am always interested in checking my opinion against the opinions of my colleagues.
Mike Pascoe: So of course, I’m happy to hear that you support my view, and I do agree with you that more healthcare education professionals can learn about the descriptive terms, the better, and the quicker the anatomy educators can adopt these practices, the quicker that they’ll be adopted. So thanks for sharing your viewpoints in a very intentional and organized manner.
Mike Pascoe: And I do want to say that there needs to be some resources out there that allow people to easily cross reference eponyms. So think of this as being a pocket dictionary you take with you on your backpacking trip across Europe. One that I use is a web-based one. It’s called anatomicalterms.info, and basically it’s the Terminologia Anatomica put into a web form, and what it allows for is cross referencing.
Mike Pascoe: So you can search for the ligament of Treitz and you can see that this is the suspensory ligament of the duodenum. You get the Latin. You get and many other foreign language translations for the structure. But it’s really handy, if you hear an eponym and you have no idea what that is, descriptively speaking you can punch that in and get your search result. Or if you think there was an eponym for the cerebral arterial circle, you can search that and then you’ll find Circle of Willis listed there as well.
Mike Pascoe: So again, thanks for the excellent primer on eponyms and toponyms and everything in between, and I look forward to digging in to the backlog of podcast episodes that have flown under my radar.
Kevin Patton: Well thanks Mike for calling in.
Kevin Patton: The first thing I want to mention is that Mike said that he wasn’t yet aware of this podcast until I shared a link to the eponym episode in response to a tweet that he’d sent out regarding eponyms, just around the time that the episode was released. There are a lot of our colleagues who haven’t heard about this podcast yet, even if a few notices have flung past them. So why not take the chances you get to send a link to a colleague who may be interested in a topic that we discuss here, like eponyms for example? The more folks we can bring into this conversation, the more fun it is for everyone, right?
Kevin Patton: So I really appreciate Mike calling in and his enthusiasm for our podcast. And I also really appreciate the resource that he offered us. That is the website, anatomicalterms.info, and I have a link to that in the show notes and episode page if you didn’t quite get that all jotted down right now, or can’t quite remember what it is later on.
Kevin Patton: I checked this out and it’s really a great resource. Not just for us as teachers, but a great resource to share with our students. They’re going to run into eponyms they’ve never heard of in later courses and in their clinical careers, right? If they’ve already bookmarked this resource, they’ll have a handy way to figure things out when they’re stumped. It’s like Mike said, it’s just like having a phrasebook when you’re traveling on your foreign adventures.
Kevin Patton: I’m thinking it may not be a bad idea to actually open it up on the classroom screen and take a look at it and explore it a little bit and tell students to take a moment right then in class, to find it on their device and bookmark it. Or maybe make it into a little small group activity. Maybe give them a couple of questions that they need to figure out what this somewhat obscure eponym is before they can answer the question, just to kind of give them practice in encountering strange and new eponyms and how to quickly find what in the world is being talked about when that happens. It’s just a thought.
Kevin Patton: If you try this though, let me know how it goes. Let us all know how it goes. Call in on the podcast hotline. And okay, blame me if your students come after you in pitchforks because they don’t like it, but I think that they would find that to be kind of a fun activity.
Kevin Patton: Now as Mike mentioned in his call, he and I have struck up a conversation through Twitter messaging, and in that conversation he brought up an interesting point. I had suggested using both the descriptive term and eponym in our teaching. That was a suggestion I had made in episode 40 on eponyms. So I thought we should at least do that for terms where the eponym is still in wide use. And I further suggested that we use the descriptive term as the primary term in our course, but at least expose our students to the eponyms.
Kevin Patton: Well, Mike was wondering about the cognitive load this might place on our students. If you’re not familiar with the term cognitive load, it refers to the amount of working memory resources that you’re using at the moment. The more working memory you have to use, the higher the cognitive load. The higher the cognitive load, the more likely you’ll reach your limit of what you can handle in your thinking and learning at that moment.
Kevin Patton: There are different factors that affect cognitive load limits. What is that maximum? That includes factors that impact or appear in individuals differently. So we can’t say exactly where the cognitive load is for anyone person at any one moment. So as teachers, we don’t want to skate too close to the maximum, not knowing really what that maximum is for all our students anyway. Because if we do that, we might be losing some learning opportunities and maybe be causing some headaches or least some anatomy anxiety. We don’t want to do that. That doesn’t help learning at all. So we do need to be aware of cognitive load in a variety of areas in teaching.
Kevin Patton: So if we use just the descriptive terms, then maybe the cognitive load is more manageable, right? If we just leave out the eponyms entirely, and that’s certainly a reasonable option. I mean, after all, A&P or even just anatomy alone presents a really, really, really high cognitive load as it is. Even if we pair it down to it’s bares minimum, its less is more essentials, it’s still a pretty big cognitive load we’re placing on our students when they’re in our course, just taking everything into account at any one moment that they’re working in our course.
Kevin Patton: Isn’t that bilingual approach where we expose students to the eponym, as well as the descriptive term adding even more cognitive load perhaps unnecessarily? Yeah, that’s a good question. Now I have no idea what the right answer is. Well, okay, I do know the best answer. And that is there is no best right answer. There are a lot of variables there, aren’t there? Until someone does the research, which I think will confirm that there’s no one right answer anyway, that’s all we got.
Kevin Patton: But I think the question is much more important than any answer we come up with anyway. That is the cognitive load question is something we should be asking about everything we do in our courses, from initial course design, to the content of each lesson or module, to everything we ask our students to tackle, everything. When we’re mindful of that question, we can make choices that benefit student learning, right? At least we’re getting closer to doing the best job of it.
Kevin Patton: So as I go forward, I’m going to try to be more mindful of this question of cognitive load as I offer my students some eponyms to consider in my courses. I never give all the possible eponyms anyway. But I’m certainly going to be more careful using them minimally and only when they’re helpful, when I think there’s an eponym that they’re likely to encounter and likely to be confused by at some later point in their experience.
Kevin Patton: Another aspect that this whole question has brought up for me is our role as educators and forming the content of our discipline. I know in science we like to think that what forms the content of anatomy and of physiology and of combined anatomy and physiology is the research that’s going on. Yeah, I agree with that and I understand that, and I think that’s a reasonable way to look at things. But I think it’s also important to look at what we’re doing as educators informing, I don’t know, the corpus, the body of knowledge that we’re training our students in.
Kevin Patton: I mean isn’t it up to us educators to organize things in a way that makes sense so that people can understand it? I mean, aren’t we involved at least somewhat in that process of putting labels on things? I mean our body doesn’t come with labels. I mean we could … I mean this whole eponym thing points out that there’s lot of different ways to name body parts for example. You can name them after people. You can name them after places. You can name them based on some descriptive terminology of where they’re at or what they do or what they’re connected to or something like that. I mean there are a lot of ways to do that. And the descriptive term I come up with might be a different descriptive term than you come up with.
Kevin Patton: Part of that, we’re doing an education. I mean we’re contributing to that. And we’re contributing to passing it along at least, choosing which system we’re going to pass along, and that affects all of science, that affects how science is communicated in anatomy and physiology or any science for that matter. But not only that. We’re also looking at the best way to group things together, group concepts together, group structures together, group functions together, even down to the point of which part of the story is more likely to come before which other part of the story. Those kinds of decisions that we make as educators affect how people understand concepts, at least that’s my belief.
Kevin Patton: Now this idea recalls in my mind a conversation I had many years ago with Ian Whitmore who was chair of what was then called the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology, and that is the body that produced the international list called Termiologia Anatomica or TA. That’s the list that Mike Pascoe just referred to in his call. And it’s considered to be a standard, an international standard. I usually just refer to that in some of the related lists as the international lists, but they are a standard.
Kevin Patton: I called him up and was asking him some questions related to that, and this was quite a while ago when this was all kind of a new idea, and during that conversation he made a really good point that kind of supports this opinion that I’m throwing out there. He said that if we as educators can get folks to adopt a more accurate and uniform terminology, and of course in his mind that would ideally be the list that his committee had just produced, when we educators do that, we’re playing a key role in how scientists communicate it. It’s up to us if we want to make descriptive terms the preferred way of communicating rather than eponyms.
Kevin Patton: So let’s be activists. Let’s join in on that and let’s do that. I’m not saying we should not ever mention eponyms or not ever use them, but I think as we do, we need to point out that this is not the best way to do it, and this is an older way of doing it. And yes, we’re going to still encounter it because we’re in a time of transition now. That’s kind of what I was getting at in the last episode as well.
Kevin Patton: Now in order to be taken more seriously as an educator, I’m really considering adding some big huge bushy sideburns to my look. I’m really thinking that I’ll look more like a respected professor then, right? Okay, maybe not. That’s a dumb idea. Maybe the Vandyke I wear now does that job okay. Oh wow, Vandyke, that’s another eponym for facial hair. Actually what I wear is more of what I would call a Mark McGwire, or at least that’s what we call it in the St. Louis area where I live. Okay, all of these eponyms are overloading my cognition. Let’s just end things right there.
Kevin Patton: Distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the master of science in human anatomy and physiology instruction, the HAPI degree. Most of us take a twisting and winding road before arriving at our A&P teaching roles. If you want to explore an online graduate program that can fill in the gaps and your content expertise and your knowledge of current teaching practice, check it out at nycc.edu/hapi. That’s H-A-P-I. Or click the link in the show notes or episode page.
Kevin Patton: We’ve been talking a lot about eponyms lately, haven’t we? Those are terms based on personal names. But I want to take a few minutes to talk about personal names themselves, specifically student names. At the beginning of this episode I quoted Dale Carnegie as saying, “The sweetest sound in the world is a person’s own name.” And I agree with that. I think that when we use student names and we pronounce them correctly, and we take the extra effort and trouble it takes to not only work on remembering their names, but also work with them to get the pronunciation correctly, I think that means something to students, I think that shows students that their personal identity is important to us and therefore they as a person are important to us.
Kevin Patton: Now I don’t always get it right. As a matter of fact, I frequently don’t get it right. Because as we know, in order to learn something for the long term, we have to practice it, space it out, forget it, practice it again, relearn it, space it, practice, space, practice before it really gets into our long term memory. So I don’t always remember my student names for long term. I don’t always remember the correct pronunciation. But I do encourage my students to help me with that so it does go into my long term memory.
Kevin Patton: I also tell them how I struggle with that and so I encourage them in later months and years, if they see me out and about in the community, to please come up and say hi and tell me how they’re doing, but start it off with reminding me what their name is, using the correct pronunciation of course, and I will probably remember that they were in my class. I’ll probably remember what they looked like and probably remember where they usually sat in class and some other things about them, but the name part of it, that’s going to be the last thing to come back into my memory, if it comes back at all. So I ask for their help with that.
Kevin Patton: But I think just showing the effort of trying to do that, of acknowledging the importance of that, really helps build that connection of trust between me and the student, and the more there is that kind of connection and that realization by students that I want to make the extra effort to be present to them, then they’re going to trust my advice and my help in their learning. So it’s a win-win situation I think.
Kevin Patton: Now there’s another aspect to that that is new to me and I think it’s new to all of us and that is which pronouns we use. Going forward I’ve made a commitment to introduce myself at the beginning of every course, not only with my name and how I prefer to be addressed as their teacher, but I will also tell them that the pronouns that I use are he and his, in order to open the door and invite students to tell me which pronouns they prefer.
Kevin Patton: Now I know I’m going to have the same struggles that I have with learning their personal names if their pronouns that they use are something that wouldn’t have come to me immediately. But I’m willing to make that effort, and I think if I make that effort at recognizing a student’s own personal identity and connecting with them on that level, showing them that respect, I think that’s going to improve the teacher-student relationship, I think that’s going to improve the learning environment, and just I think as a person it’s going to make both of us happier as we interact with each other. Something to think about going forward.
Kevin Patton: Hey, don’t forget that I always put links in the show notes and at the episode page at theAPprofessor.org in case you want to further explore any of the ideas mentioned in this podcast. Don’t forget to call in with your question, comments, and ideas at the podcast hotline. That’s 1-833-LION-DEN. Or 1-833-546-6336. Or send a recording, a written message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aileen: The A&P Professor is hosted by Kevin Patton, professor, blogger, and textbook author in Human Anatomy and Physiology.
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Preview of Episode 42
Kevin Patton: Hi there, this is Kevin Patton with a brief audio introduction to episode number 42 of The A&P Professor podcast, also known as TAPP Radio, an audio laboratory and workshop for teachers of human anatomy and physiology.
Kevin Patton: The upcoming full episode, that is episode 42, is a bonus episode, and longtime listeners know what that means: it means it’s a lot longer than the usual episode, which averages around a half-hour. Yep, this one’s gonna be quite a bit longer than a half-hour, and it’s titled Kevin’s Unofficial Guide to the HAPS Annual Conference.
Kevin Patton: And that name may ring a bell because last year around this time I had, I think it was my first bonus episode, with exactly the same title. But this one is going to be the 2019 edition. Yes, it’s been updated and improved, there’s more content but fewer calories, and there’s all kinds of surprises.
Kevin Patton: It’s not just me talking about it, there’s going to be some other voices, and even some singing and dancing. All kinds of surprises, but you’re just gonna have to tune in in a few days when that episode becomes available.
Kevin Patton: The free distribution of this podcast is sponsored by the Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction, the HAPI degree. Check out this online graduate program at nycc.edu/hapi, that’s H-A-P-I, or click the link in the show notes or episode page.
Kevin Patton: Hey, there’ll be a table at the HAPS annual conference where you can talk to the director of the HAPI program, Dr. Bill Germano, as well as to faculty in the program such as Dr. Frank Bell, or me. I’m on the faculty too.
Kevin Patton: It’s time, once again, for the Word Dissection segment of this preview episode, and this time it’s gonna be a little bit different. Ordinarily, what I do is take a couple of terms that are gonna be coming up in the full episode that are long, perhaps convoluted, scientific terms that may not be familiar to us in typical A&P teaching. Or maybe they are familiar to us, but it just gives us some practice in breaking down word parts, as we do with our students.
Kevin Patton: Well, the upcoming episode is all about the HAPS annual conference, and so I’m not gonna be using any new scientific terms, or probably no scientific terms at all in that episode. So what do I do for word dissections? Well, there are two words that I wanna break down and talk a little bit about their meaning, because I think it’ll get us in the mood for going to Portland, Oregon where the annual conference is in 2019, and having our conference there.
Kevin Patton: And the first word is, yes, you guessed it, conference. Now, this is interesting because it’s using word parts that are part of the terminology that we’re already teaching our students in A&P. In conference, the first word part is con, which we know means with or together. Then the second part, F-E-R, which shows up in a lot of the terms we use in A&P, F-E-R or fer means to carry, or to bear, or to bring.
Kevin Patton: And then the E-N-C-E suffix at the end, it’s what’s often called a noun suffix, that means it’s making whatever word that we’re building, it makes it into a noun, converts it into a noun. So that’s usually applied to an action, a state, or a quality.
Kevin Patton: So if we put that all together, con-fer-ence, it literally means a bringing together. And that is exactly what we’re going to be doing in Portland, right? When we go to the HAPS conference, we’re going to be bringing ourselves together, we’re gonna be bringing our ideas together, we’re gonna be sharing resources, we’re gonna be sharing ourselves and networking. So conference, a bringing together, very apropos. Maybe next time I’ll break down the word apropos.
Kevin Patton: But the next term that I’m actually gonna break down in this preview episode is the word Portland. Well, it’s not just a word, it’s a name, right? Portland is the name of the city in Oregon where we’re going to be conferring for the HAPS annual conference. And that is actually made up of word parts. Port means a port for ships, a harbor area. And then land means land. So these are geographic terms that have been combined. So a port land is an area of land around or near or at a port.
Kevin Patton: The way that Portland got its name is not just because it is, in fact literally, a port land according to the definition of the term. In the early days of European settlers coming in and developing what is now Portland, there were a succession of claim owners of the area looking to develop that area into a city.
Kevin Patton: And at one point it was two claim owners at that time, and they were deciding what kind of name they were gonna have, and they flipped a coin for the right to name this new city that they were envisioning. And the developer who won the right was from Portland, Maine, and so he decided to call this new area in Oregon Portland, after Portland, Maine.
Kevin Patton: Well, Portland, Maine, in turn, was named after another area, and that is the Isle of Portland, and that’s an island in England. It’s actually sorta connected to the southern coast of England by a thin strand of beach. And it’s called either Portland or the Isle of Portland.
Kevin Patton: Where it got its name is lost to history, but it’s basically just because it is, in fact, technically a port land. It was just kind of an organic thing that arose in the language of the local people, based on the fact that it was the land where there was a port.
Kevin Patton: This podcast is sponsored by HAPS, the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology for over 30 years. Go visit HAPS at theAPprofessor.org/haps, that’s H-A-P-S. Be sure to say thanks to HAPS for helping to provide this podcast by mentioning it to the HAPS leadership. Let’s say, while you’re at the annual conference, if you’re coming.
Kevin Patton: I have a book recommendation from The A&P professor Book Club. It’s called Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel. This is a book that I have recommended before, especially in the early episodes of this podcast, and I’ve included it as a link in the show notes and episode pages for many of the episodes throughout this year and a half or so that I’ve been doing the podcast.
Kevin Patton: And the reason why I link to it so often is it’s really done a lot to inform me about my own teaching and my own progress in learning how to become a better teacher of human anatomy and physiology. I’ll give you an example of how it’s helped me.
Kevin Patton: For a long, long time in my teaching I felt that one of my primary roles as the A&P professor was to make A&P easier for students to learn. I figured that the easier it is to learn, the better they’ll learn. Well, it turns out that research shows us that that’s not exactly true.
Kevin Patton: On one hand, if things are too hard, then learning is going to be difficult or maybe even impossible. So too hard isn’t too good. But too easy also isn’t good. It’s the old Goldilocks phenomenon. We don’t want the learning to be easy, we don’t want the learning to be hard, we want the learning to be just right. There is a desirable level of difficulty, and I’m not saying that it’s easy to find that sweet spot, but at least now I’m looking for the sweet spot, I’m not always heading directly toward the easy end of things.
Kevin Patton: And there are a lot of other things in this book that a lot of us, I think, take as the dogma of how things are taught, either based on what we’ve seen or read or what we’ve experienced ourselves as students. And this is helping us wade through all that and looking at what does the evidence tell us. Which processes really do work, which teaching processes are not very effective, and which processes might actually be doing harm to learning?
Kevin Patton: Another thing I like about this book, it’s always fun in a book when somebody you know pops up in it. One of our own HAPS members, Mary Pat Wenderoth, is one of the featured examples in this book. So yes, there’s even an A&P application in here, even though this is meant to be a more generic or general book about teaching and learning in general, and not specific to any one discipline. So you’ll even get a little bit of A&P in there.
Kevin Patton: Now, I could go on and on for days about this book because I love it so much. As a matter of fact, this is a good reminder to me to go back and reread it again and see what little gems I’ve forgotten about, and do some of my spaced practice that I’m always preaching about, go back and practice that again.
Kevin Patton: Anyway, just go to the link in the episode page or show notes, or go to theAPprofessor.org/bookclub, and get the link for this book and all the other books that I’ve recommended as part of the book club.
Kevin Patton: A searchable transcript and a captioned audiogram of this preview episode are funded by AAA, the American Association of Anatomists at anatomy.org.
Kevin Patton: Well, this is Kevin Patton signing off for now, and reminding you to keep your questions and comments and limericks coming. Why not call the podcast hotline right now? Yes, right now, at 1-833-LION-DEN, that’s 1-833-546-6336. Or visit us at theAPprofessor.org, and I’ll see you down the road, maybe in Portland.
Last updated: April 18, 2019 at 21:14 pm