Anatomy teaching assistants: Facilitating teaching skills for medical students through apprenticeship and mentoring

Nirusha Lachman, Kevin N. Christensen, Wojciech Pawlina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Significant increase in the literature regarding "residents as teachers" highlights the importance of providing opportunities and implementing guidelines for continuing medical education and professional growth. While most medical students are enthusiastic about their future role as resident-educators, both students and residents feel uncomfortable teaching their peers due to the lack of necessary skills. However, whilst limited and perhaps only available to select individuals, opportunities for developing good teaching practice do exist and may be identified in courses that offer basic sciences. The Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic offers a teaching assistant (TA) elective experience to third-and fourth-year medical students through integrated apprenticeship and mentoring during the Human Structure didactic block. Aim: This article, aims to describe a curriculum for a TA elective within the framework of a basic science course through mentoring and apprenticeship. Results: Opportunities for medical students to become TAs, process of TAs' recruitment, mentoring and facilitation of teaching and education research skills, a method for providing feedback and debriefing are described. Conclusion: Developing teaching practice based on apprenticeship and mentoring lends to more accountability to both TA's and course faculty by incorporating universal competencies to facilitate the TA experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e919-e925
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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