Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why are you here?

I know this sounds like a dopey question, but I'll ask it anyway . . .

Why are you taking this course in anatomy and physiology?

Based on my experience of decades teaching A&P, I've found that all too many students can only answer, "because it's required."

An answer that is much better for the student is, "to learn the concepts of human structure and function that I will need in later courses and in a lifetime career in a health or sports career."

Really, the A&P course is required of you for a reason.  It's not simply to jump through a hoop.  Or to weed out the weak students. The reason is simple.  You cannot fully understand, or even begin to understand, many of the concepts you'll run into later without a thoroughly embedded understanding of the principles of human anatomy and physiology.  Period.

If you pick up ANY textbook from a course in the health professions, you will find references to human anatomy and physiology principles scattered throughout.  Many such textbooks will even refer to "what you learned in your anatomy and physiology course," sometimes providing a quick review before jumping into a more complicated topic.  If you fail to learn your A&P now, then those quick reviews won't be just a review, will they?  They'll be a warning sign that you are about to get into something you are not prepared for!

So why do I ask this question?  And propose a "correct" answer?

Because if you get on board with the "correct answer" now, you'll dramatically change how you study A&P . . . for the better!

The sooner you realize that you'll need all of these concepts to be successful in your later learning--and in your ongoing career--the sooner you will realize that studying for the test just won't cut it.  You have to shift out of the short-term view and start thinking about learning for a lifetime.

Instead of cramming just before a test, to learn some facts that will stay with you for only a few hours, you'll study every day so that you'll never forget what you are learning.  You'll continually review material from previous topics because you'll notice them coming up again and again.

With the long view, you'll also start working on understanding relationships among the various principles you are learning.  You'll begin to see why it's important to know the basic principles deeply because it makes everything you encounter in human science more understandable and thus easier to learn.

Not to scare you, but a conversation I recently had with some teachers in a health-professions program confirmed again for me the fact that you will fail your professional courses if you don't remember most of your A&P.

Isn't that a good reason to evaluate how you approach your studies in A&P?

[Need some help in finding ways to learn more deeply?  Besides asking your A&P professor for advice, why not try the tips I offer my students at the Lion Den Tips & Tools?]