Using Teaching Assistants in Anatomy
The teaching assistant has been an invaluable resource in many anatomy teaching programs. Teaching assistants are typically recently medically qualified individuals, with some clinical experience and who are in residency training, or are those individuals undertaking postgraduate training in biomedically related fields such as anatomy. More recently increasing numbers of anatomy courses now use near-peer teaching assistants where students who are more advanced in their studies become teachers in learning activities aimed at students in earlier phases of their learning. Irrespective of the assistant type, when setting up a teaching assistant program a range of features should be considered for incorporation including the selection and training approach, the system for observing and assessing progress, methods of providing feedback and support, and the types of reward mechanisms to be used. When utilized appropriately, teaching assistants have been shown to provide a positive opportunity not only to support student learning but also for developing the skills and knowledge of the next generation of teachers and mentors.
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