back to home

Modelling movement in medical education

written by Andrea Wojcik
13/12/17

As the students worked their way from the neck and shoulder down to the knee and ankle learning to examine the musculoskeletal system, instructors pulled out anatomical models as teachers’ aids, but the instructors relied on the models for much more than anatomical recall. They used them to help students better understand how to conduct a physical examination, that is how to “look, feel and move” so as to elicit musculoskeletal maladies. This post zooms in on the final element in the list, describing briefly and preliminarily the role of modelling in teaching students about bodily movement.

 

Hyperbolic modelling

Charles the plastic skeleton was a constant companion of the students in their skills lessons the last five weeks. Even when it seemed he managed to escape to the sidelines, he was pulled front and center to make a point for the class’ benefit. One instructor would temporarily neglect the living, breathing student volunteer who sat on an examination bed in front of the class and instead rely on Charles for demonstrating the limitations of human limbs. The instructor would, for instance, extend Charles’s leg at the hip in the direction of his spine to the point that the leg was perpendicular to his upright back, a move that would have been nothing short of grotesque in someone of flesh and blood. The purely skeletal nature of Charles’s dangling limbs, held together by wire pins, allowed for something the healthy student volunteer did not, a kind of hyperbolic modelling which ironically highlighted the normal degrees of human movement and invited an imagination of the muscles and ligaments needed to adequately limit Charles’s movement.

Charles the skeleton in his sidelined position

Embodied modelling

At times, however, even the models were too limited in their movement, and instructors would default back to the body, but not necessarily to the part of the body under scrutiny. For example, before going through the protocol for examining the knee, an instructor used a model of the knee to zoom in on two ligaments nestled in the hollow between the femur and the tibia. These ligaments prevent the tibia from dislocating. Then the instructor tried to demonstrate what would happen if the ligaments were torn, holding the floating femur with one hand and pulling at the tibia with the other (see my reenactment below). After a few attempts, the instructor put the model down, made fists, and placed them against each other with one forearm running towards the floor and the other towards the ceiling, creating a model of the knee using hands and forearms. This model was easily able to demonstrate the abnormal movement of a dislocated tibia resulting from torn ligaments in the knee.

During the musculoskeletal physical examination block, instructors creatively utilized models and modelling to teach students about bodily movement. This often took the form of using a model to exaggerate an abnormal degree of human movement to ironically invoke the normal. At other times, the models were too securely and representatively constructed to deviate from normalcy for the purposes of education. When this was the case, instructors created models on the spot, using their own body as the resource.

filter entries
Event

Introduction to perfumery

by Rachel Allison
May 17, 2019
Inspiration

Practicing music skills

by Carla Greubel
May 16, 2019
Inspiration

Lost in translation, and in space

by John Nott
March 27, 2019
Event

Time for tinkering

by Anna Harris
February 21, 2019
Event

How smart is “smart” technology?

by Andrea Wojcik
January 11, 2019
Materials

Tools of the teaching trade

by Sally Wyatt
January 10, 2019
Materials

Christmas yarn

by Anna Harris
December 24, 2018
Multimedia

Cooking classes

by Anna Harris
November 26, 2018
Inspiration

Barefeet

by Anna Harris
October 21, 2018
Inspiration

Letterheads

by Anna Harris
September 26, 2018
Inspiration

Postcards

by Anna Harris
September 16, 2018
Materials

Wax museum

by Rachel Allison
August 6, 2018
Publication

Expressive instructions

by Anna Harris
July 31, 2018
Inspiration

Writing resources

by Rachel Allison
July 23, 2018
Event

Meaning and beauty

by Rachel Allison
July 20, 2018
Conference

Correspondence

by Anna Harris
July 16, 2018
Materials

The allure of the archives

by John Nott
June 28, 2018
Event

Methods workshop at UDS

by Andrea Wojcik
May 23, 2018
Event

Probes

by Anna Harris
May 16, 2018
Article

Tricks

by Anna Harris
April 27, 2018
Writing workshop

Beyond the elevator

by Anna Harris
April 6, 2018
Conference

Simulating touch

by Anna Harris
March 27, 2018
Conference

Dancing, moving, unsettling

by Anna Harris
March 9, 2018
Event

Skillshare Writing Workshop

by Rachel Allison
February 25, 2018
Conference

STS in/on Africa

by John Nott
February 19, 2018
Article

A month together

February 8, 2018
Event

Comparison as method

by Anna Harris
February 6, 2018
Publication

Working with bias

by Anna Harris
January 19, 2018
Inspiration

Holiday reading

by Anna Harris
January 3, 2018
Materials

Modelling movement in medical education

by Andrea Wojcik
December 13, 2017
Conference

Embroider meet surgeon

by Anna Harris
October 30, 2017
Event

Sensing with medical students

by Anna Harris
October 9, 2017
Materials

Pagers

by Anna Harris
September 13, 2017

We are hiring!

September 5, 2017
Event

TransPositions Summer School 2017

September 4, 2017
Conference

Ethnographic Experimentation #Colleex

by Rachel Allison
August 7, 2017
Event

Making an omelette

by Sally Wyatt
July 21, 2017
Materials

Tuning forks and electronics

by Sally Wyatt
May 12, 2017
Event

Drawing Instruments

by Rachel Allison
March 20, 2017
Article

Experimenting with collaborative sensory ethnography

by Andrea Wojcik
March 16, 2017
Conference

A sensory training workshop

by Anna Harris
August 29, 2016
Loading