Activating and Managing Micro-Social and Cultural Processes in Anatomy Laboratory Pedagogy

Mu-Sen Kevin Chuang, Anna Filipi (Editor), Marilyn Alicia Baird (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Anatomy instructional methods research and debate regarding dissection and others have been criticized as being overly emotive and lacking the support of empirical evidence in both numbers and quality. Thus far, the positivistic research paradigm has yet to acknowledge and to investigate laboratory teaching and learning as a social practice. Selected findings from a doctoral research using conversation analysis (CA) to investigate anatomy laboratory social interactions are presented.

The doctoral research applied CA method to six audio-visual recordings of anatomy laboratory sessions. The recordings were made at pre-selected time points in a first-year radiography program at an Australian university. They represent teaching-learning interactions between five different anatomy demonstrators and a group of students (n≤34). The verbal and non-verbal actions of participants were analyzed using original footage and finely detailed CA transcripts.

The selected analyses show demonstrator-student interactions to be collaboratively organized through activating, orienting to, and managing relevant implicit classroom cultural processes. Participants signaled and demonstrated their achieved mutual understanding via embodied interaction displays and orientation to membership categories and epistemics in the turn-taking and sequential organization of their talk. Findings suggest that university laboratory pedagogy selectively perpetuates and renews institutional cultural practices.

This investigation demonstrates that the seemingly ‘messy’ teaching-learning processes that often characterize laboratory classes can be systematically analyzed and understood. More importantly, CA makes these laboratory pedagogical practices visible for reflection and reconceptualization. Through CA approaches time poor university laboratory programs can be in a better position to create more effective and efficient laboratory pedagogical practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
EventThe Inaugural Doctoral Students' Conference in Conversation Analysis: Making practice visible: Applications of conversation analysis - Monash University Clayton, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 18 Feb 201619 Feb 2016


ConferenceThe Inaugural Doctoral Students' Conference in Conversation Analysis


  • teaching and learning pedagogy
  • Conversation Analysis
  • Observations
  • anatomy education
  • Laboratory Instruction
  • Higher Education
  • social interaction

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