The structure of practical classes on human anatomy for foreign students studying at St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University in English

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Human anatomy is a fundamental discipline in the system of medical education, it creates the basis for the subsequent effective study of clinical disciplines. The experience of teaching the discipline to students studying in English is invaluable. The description of approaches, structures and methods of overcoming difficulties during classes with foreign students in the discipline «Human Anatomy» is unique, and has no analogues in domestic and foreign literature.

To analyze the conditions of teaching foreign students of 1–2 courses in English at the St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University.

The experience of teaching human anatomy in English, the peculiarities of interaction with foreign students in the pedagogical process are described, the possible causes of their mistakes, failures and emotional reactions are indicated. The structure (plan) of practical classes and the specifics of teaching human anatomy to foreign students in English are described in detail. The approaches used at each stage of the practical training on the course “Human Anatomy” in groups of foreign students studying in English are described.

Our experience shows that it is most effective to conduct a practical lesson in accordance with the following scheme: (1) the teacher needs to devote more time to organizational and disciplinary issues, especially at the beginning of training (first semester); (2) verification of the written homework is carried out before the start of the oral survey on the previous topic; (3) to consolidate the acquired knowledge, an oral survey is conducted only after a detailed analysis with the whole group of homework; (4) during the explanation of a new topic, the teacher constantly refers to the text of the textbook, the demonstration of images is made sequentially, the description of the drawings correlates with the text of the textbook, and only after that the teacher draws a diagram (organ, vessel). The demonstration of dummies and anatomical preparations is the final stage of explaining the new material; (5) the teacher discusses the homework and the requirements for its implementation. In our opinion, it is mandatory to write a brief summary in accordance with the plan of the topic being studied when doing homework.

This form of practical training involves the repetition of both the studied material at the stage of testing students’ knowledge, and new information obtained in the process of explanation. At all stages of the practical lesson, the volume of individual work with each student of the group increases, which ensures the effectiveness of the lesson as a whole.

Changing the structure of the practical lesson helps foreign students studying in English at the Department of Human Anatomy of St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University to overcome language barriers and orient themselves in educational materials based on the principle of descriptive systemic anatomy. This approach gradually forms students’ skills of independent study of biomedical disciplines and is more effective.

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About the authors

Marina A. Zimina

St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University

Author for correspondence.

Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Anatomy

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

Natalia R. Karelina

St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University


MD, PhD, Dr. Med. Sci., Professor, Head, Department of Human Anatomy

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

Aida R. Khisamutdinova

St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University


MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Human Anatomy

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg

Linard Yu. Artyukh

St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University


Associate Professor, Department of Human Anatomy

Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg


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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files
1. Fig. 1. Structure of practical anatomy classes for foreign students studying in English

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2. Fig. 2. Foreign students studying in English, in anatomical practical lesson

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3. Fig. 3. Visceral surface of the liver. The contents of the liver furrows (preparation, scheme)

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4. Fig. 4. Structure of practical anatomy classes for foreign students studying in Russian

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5. Fig. 5. Survey of students by the head of the Department of Human Anatomy Professor N.R. Karelina

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Copyright (c) 2022 Zimina M.A., Karelina N.R., Khisamutdinova A.R., Artyukh L.Y.

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