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Students' perceptions of body painting as a tool for learning anatomy.

Finn, G. M. and McLachlan, J. C. (2010) 'Students' perceptions of body painting as a tool for learning anatomy.', Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Conference 2010 Glasgow, UK, 4-8 Sep 2010.


Background: Alternative approaches to anatomy teaching are becoming popular in response to a reduction in timetabled anatomy teaching and a decline in the number of body donors. This study ascertained students’ perceptions of body painting (BP) as a tool for learning anatomy. Summary of work: 133 medical students participated in 24 focus groups (2007-09). Data analysis utilised a grounded theory approach. Summary of results: 5 themes emerged: 1) BP as a fun learning activity, 2) BP promoting retention of knowledge, 3) factors contributing to the memorability of body painting, 4) removal from comfort zone, 5) the impact of body painting on students' future clinical practice. Conclusions: Students perceive BP to be a fun learning activity, which aids their retention of the anatomical knowledge acquired during the session. Sensory factors, such as visual stimuli, especially colour, and the tactile nature of the activity, promote recall. Students' preference for painting or being painted is often dependent upon their learning style. Take-home messages: BP is a useful adjunct to traditional anatomy and clinical skills teaching. The fun element involved in the delivery of this teaching defuses the formal academic context, promoting a positive learning environment. The undressing involved encouraged students to consider issues surrounding body image; this informs their attitudes towards future patients.

Item Type:Conference item (Paper)
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Record Created:04 Feb 2011 16:41
Last Modified:17 May 2012 10:08

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