The twelve cranial nerves of Christmas: mnemonics, rhyme, and anatomy - seeing the lighter side

Smith, Claire F and Border, Scott (2018) The twelve cranial nerves of Christmas: mnemonics, rhyme, and anatomy - seeing the lighter side. Anatomical Sciences Education. ISSN 1935-9772

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only until 11 December 2019.

Download (163kB)

Abstract

Anatomy, has in history, been linked to helpful ways to remember structures, branches of nerves, structures passing through foramina et cetera. Scalp is even a mnemonic in itself (Skin, Connective tissue, Aponeurosis, Loose areolar tissue, Pericranium). There has been concern by some educators that using mnemonics or rhymes promotes a surface approach to learning and is unhelpful in establishing long term and meaningful deep learning. This article argues that mnemonics and rhyme can be used, in the appropriate way, at the right time, by students as an important learning strategy. That strategy can help lay a foundation of knowledge to be developed and later built upon, or simply recall information more easily. Mnemonics, like all information that is to be recalled, is consolidated by rehearsal. In examining the neuroanatomy of learning theories, it is therefore possible to suggest that when students begin to learn an area of anatomy, such as the cranial nerves, using a mnemonic or rhyme can help students remember the names and facilitate engagement of working memory processes assisting the student to build a construct for subsequent deeper layers of knowledge. Modern approaches to anatomy education involve a myriad of learning opportunities, but educators must assess the value of each one before recommending them to students. It appears that using mnemonics and rhyme is as valid today as it has been for centuries.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: gross anatomy education, mnemonics, memory, retrieval practice, core syllabus, cranial nerves, learning, rhyme
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Depositing User: Elizabeth Renvoize
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2018 15:36
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 13:19
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/80767

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update