It's all in the mime: Actions speak louder than words when teaching the cranial nerves

Kerry A Dickson, Bruce Warren Stephens

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Cranial nerve (CN) knowledge is essential for students in health professions. Gestures and body movements (e.g., mime) have been shown to improve cognition and satisfaction with anatomy teaching. The aim of this pilot study was to compare the effectiveness of didactic lecturing with that of miming lecturing for student learning of the CNs. The research design involved exposure of the same group of students to didactic followed by miming lecturing of CNs. The effectiveness of each lecturing strategy was measured via pre- and post-testing. Student perceptions of these strategies were measured by a survey. As an example of miming, gestures for CN VII included funny faces for muscles of facial expression, kangaroo vocalization for taste, spitting action for saliva production, and crying for lacrimal gland production. Accounting for extra duration of the miming lecture, it was shown that pre- to post-test improvement was higher for the miming presentation than for the didactic (0.47+0.03 marks/minute versus 0.33+0.03, n=39, P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584 - 592
Number of pages9
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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