Sunday, August 30, 2009

How we learn new terms

Good news for adult students of A&P!

You were probably thinking that you are too old to be learning so many new terms in such a short period of time. Maybe the brain of a child is good at doing this, you might tell yourself, but I'm past the point where this is easy.

Scientists in Finland have been working on how the brain processes the learning of new terms in the left temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. And their results show that it is actually easier for adults with an established vocabulary to add lists of new terms (and their meanings). And learning the meanings (definitions) of the terms appears to be easier than learning the names themselves!

This news further confirms my suspicion that the hurdle is not so much the list of terms themselves as it is one's confidence in their ability to learn them. In other words, it's all about having a winning attitude. In fact, that's one of my key points in the brief Survival Guide For Anatomy And Physiology: Tips, Techniques And Shortcuts I've recommended to you before.

Want to know more about the recent findings?

Familiar And Newly Learned Words Are Processed By The Same Neural Networks In The Brain.
Academy of Finland (2009, August 30).
ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2009
[News release summarizing the study and it's importance.]
Want some tips on learning the terms needed for your A&P course?

Learning Terminology
tips and links from The A&P Student blog
New Terms and Learning Terminology
tips and links from the Lion Den website

Survival Guide For Anatomy And Physiology: Tips, Techniques And Shortcuts
my handy little manual with all kinds of learning strategies

Mosby's Anatomy & Physiology Study and Review Cards
a new collection of study cards for A&P from my friend Dan Matusiak

Terminology for A&P and International Terminology for Anatomy & Physiology
my YouTube videos helping you get starting with learning terms in A&P

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Getting started in a new A and P course

Many of you are just starting (or are about to start) a new A&P course. You will later look back on this course as one of the most interesting and useful courses you have ever taken! But right now, it probably seems a bit overwhelming, eh?

Well, there is a lot to cover in an A&P course . . . especially if you are in a two-semester course or an upper-division A&P course. But, as I tell my own students, it's not really that difficult if you approach it with the right "can do" attitude . . . and armed with the appropriate study skills.

I'll be reviewing some of those study skills over the next few weeks in this blog. So you'll probably want to subscribe to this blog so that you get the articles as they are posted.

To subscribe by way of a feed reader click here. Then choose your feed method.

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I have a few tips to get us started this week:

1. Many experts suggest that for every hour spent in a college class (or lab) you spend two hours working on the course on your own. That's the average. Anatomy and physiology courses are above average . . . which means that you should be working on your own more than two hours per week. So if (in lecture and lab) you are spending 5 hours, then you should be spending more than ten hours working on your own for the A&P course.

This may mean that you have to postpone a trip, a wedding or honeymoon, a divorce, a move, a big sporting event, a job change, that big mountain climb, or other major life events. If they can't be postponed until after you complete A&P, now is the time to consider whether you really want to take A&P this semester! Maybe next semester is the best time for you to start A&P.

2. The only way to "shortcut" anatomy and physiology is to hone your study skills. Reading this blog is a good start. You may also want to consider the Survival Guide For Anatomy And Physiology: Tips, Techniques And Shortcuts. This short and light-hearted look at how to improve your approach to A&P is available through any bookstore—whether at your school, down the road, or online. It's brief, easy to read, and heavily illustrated. You'll be on the right track immediately with this handy little manual.

3. Start scanning through previous posts on this blog. There are several ways to do that. They all involve going to any blog page and using the tools provided in the right column. If you scroll far enough down, you'll find these to be helpful:
Topics—Choose a topic and you'll be taken to several articles that address that topic.

Blog Archive—click on the little arrowheads to list the archive for a particular month. Some readers like to go back to the beginning (or perhaps just one year) and scan through the headlines backwards to the most current posting.

Search—the search box is found at the very top edge of any blog page. Use that to search for all the posts on a particular topic.
Easter egg alert: you can sometimes (not always) find additional tips, resources, or odd treasures by clicking the images found in my blog posts!