Who is the Teacher and Who is the Student? The Dual Service- and Engaged-Learning Pedagogical Model of Anatomy Academy


anatomical sciences education, outreach program, undergraduate education, preclinical service learning, elementary and middle-school engaged learning, mentoring


Anatomy Academy is a simultaneous service-learning experience for preprofessional school undergraduate students and preclinical professional students acting as classroom paraprofessional teachers (Mentors), and engaged-learning experience for fourth to sixth grade elementary school children (Students). Using didactic and kinesthetic active learning teaching strategies in small-group classroom environments, Mentors taught anatomy, physiology, and nutrition concepts to Students. In this study of the program’s early years (2012-2014), overall objectives of improving Mentors’ pedagogical confidence; and Students’ science interest, science knowledge, and exercise self-efficacy were assessed. Mentors showed (89% response of 595 surveyed) improvement in content delivery (P < .001), student engagement (P < .001), classroom management (P < .001), and professionalism (P = .0001). Postprogram Mentor reflections were categorized into 7 major themes that demonstrated personal growth through the service-learning opportunity: (1) realization of an ability to make a difference in the world now; (2) acknowledgment of the importance of listening in teaching; (3) recognition that lives can and will change with “a little love”; (4) insight into the effectiveness of guiding Students through material rather than lecturing; (5) awareness of the value of respect in the learning environment; (6) cognizance of the power of individualized attention to motivate Students; and (7) reflection of one’s own personal growth through the open influence of Students. Students showed (88% response of 1259 surveyed) improvement in science knowledge (P = .014) and exercise self-efficacy (P = .038), but not science interest (P = .371). Thus, while Students are learning more science and becoming more aware of their health, we need to be more overt in our presence as scientists in the educational arena.

Original Publication Citation

Diaz, M. M., Ojukwu, K., Padilla, J., Steed, K., Schmalz, N., Tullis, A., Mageno, A., McCleve, J., White, E., Stark, M. E., Morton, D. A., Seastrand, G., Ray, G., Lassetter, J., Wilson-Ashworth, H. A., Wisco, J. J. (2019). Who is the teacher and who is the student? The dual service- and engaged-learning pedagogical model of Anatomy Academy. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 6, 1-14.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor