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

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

Anatomy, has in history, been linked to helpful ways to remember structures, branches of nerves, structures passing through foramina, etc. 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, it can help students remember the names and facilitate the engagement of the 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.

core syllabus, cranial nerves, gross anatomy education, learning, memory, mnemonics, retrieval practice, rhyme
1935-9772
1-5
Smith, Claire F.
b696bc5f-7e48-4506-82d8-82e51f258d4c
Border, Scott
67fce2e0-d2cd-43a2-a9cc-e6cb6fd28544
Smith, Claire F.
b696bc5f-7e48-4506-82d8-82e51f258d4c
Border, Scott
67fce2e0-d2cd-43a2-a9cc-e6cb6fd28544

Smith, Claire F. and Border, Scott (2019) The twelve cranial nerves of Christmas: mnemonics, rhyme, and anatomy – seeing the lighter side. Anatomical Sciences Education, 1-5. (doi:10.1002/ase.1846).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Anatomy, has in history, been linked to helpful ways to remember structures, branches of nerves, structures passing through foramina, etc. 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, it can help students remember the names and facilitate the engagement of the 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.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 26 November 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 December 2018
Published date: 3 January 2019
Keywords: core syllabus, cranial nerves, gross anatomy education, learning, memory, mnemonics, retrieval practice, rhyme

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428963
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428963
ISSN: 1935-9772
PURE UUID: becc8a04-652b-4618-b78c-df325b87ec79

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Date deposited: 15 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 05:01

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Author: Claire F. Smith
Author: Scott Border

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