Understanding medical terminology is essential for healthcare professionals. After all, medical terminology allows medical professionals to understand each other and communicate effectively, maintain accurate documentation, safeguard patients and more. If you’re looking for resources for teaching medical terminology, keep reading. You’ll find activities and ideas for engaging today’s students in this foundational healthcare skill, including tools and activities for teaching this important content.
Teaching in Bite-Sized Chunks
Research shows that Generation Z, which most of your students belong to, prefer their content in “snackable” chunks. They are looking for “bite-sized nuggets” of information that can be quickly consumed, understood, and shared. These small bits of knowledge often create deeper meaning through references to shared stories or experiences. In other words, it works for them and their learning.
Generation Z learners are the first to tell you that their attention spans are short. But these kids can utilize even short attention spans if we help them. Here are some great resources for providing bite-sized learning, or micro-learning, with Generation Z students.
- Creating Snackable Content for Generation Z by Lori Gracey
- Overcoming the Most Common Mistake Educators Make Leading Generation Z
- Teachers Meet Generation Z
- Learning From Gen Z – Training For Today’s Workforce
How do these concepts apply to teaching medical terminology? You can adjust your teaching methodology to ensure your methods are visual, interactive and hands-on. Here’s how.
Making Medical Terminology Content Come Alive
The key for making any topic more interesting and engaging is for us to get back to what we learned in school about how to teach: VARK learning styles. There are tons of free questionnaires out there if you are interested in polling your classes to see how your students identify, but when it comes right down to it, it may not be necessary. You will undoubtedly have a mixture of learning styles in your classroom. So if you make a point of mixing in each of the four components, you will find that even the driest of subjects become more interesting and engaging for students regardless of what their learning style is.
Regarding medical terminology, the visual and read/write components are the most commonly found methods for teaching this content. For instance, students may read about word parts and their meanings, then write those words out on worksheets. But to really make medical terminology come alive, don’t forget the other two learning styles. The auditory component is important.
Consider creative ways to incorporate that essential auditory component into your classroom. Can students record themselves and evaluate each other’s pronunciation? Can you do a role-play in class that requires students to speak using medical terminology? In this area specifically, the more practice students get, the better.
Finally, there’s the kinesthetic learning style. What can students physically do in the classroom to help cement their learning? You may consider splitting the class into groups to play games. Display a definition of a medical term and have students use index cards with pre-printed word parts to create the medical term that goes with that definition. Maybe it’s timed against another team. These are just some ideas for getting your students out of their seats and physically doing something engaging.
Resources for Teaching Medical Terminology
Gamification is also a great way to engage Generation Z because that is what they love to do.
- Complete this form to learn how one teacher successfully incorporated gamification in their math classes
- 4 Innovative Ways to Teach With Video Games
These free medical terminology lessons could be sourced for supplemental activities to your own program, textbooks or teacher-created materials:
- Medical Terminology Lessons – Phyllis Rosier – Thomson High School (mcduffie.k12.ga.us)
- Medical Talk Lesson Plan
- Medical Terminology Weaver 6 Flashcards | Quizlet
- All Medical Terminology Trivia Quizzes and Games (sporcle.com)
Videos are an engaging way to add variety to your lessons and many have really good visuals to help students understand the terms they are learning. We recommend:
- Understanding Medical Terminology (8:09)
- Medical Terminology of the Lymphatic System (1:26)
- Medical Terminology for Beginners (45:02)
Meet our Medical Terminology Class Kit
Earlier in this post, we discussed the importance of incorporating all four learning styles. Well, that’s exactly what we did with our new Medical Terminology Class Kit.
The National Consortium for Health Science Education (NCHSE) has developed a recommended four-course framework for high school programs looking to implement a health science pathway. All of these courses integrate medical terminology as a part of their course content. Our Medical Terminology Class Kit can be used to help support and supplement any health science program integrate medical terminology. Let’s take a closer look.
The Medical Terminology Class Kit teaches basic medical terminology while addressing visual, aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic (VARK) learning styles. It includes terminology blocks, context cards, student glossaries, vocabulary cards and of course, curriculum!
There are 17 lessons in the curriculum. The first four focus on how to build and decode medical terminology focusing on prefixes, suffixes, root words and combining vowels. The next 13 lessons are all focused on individual bodily system terminology. Each lesson is a standalone lesson. You could also teach lessons within other courses when appropriate. For example, if you are working on a cardiac unit, you could teach the respiratory system lesson from this program.
Explore individual kit components here.
If you’re looking for more information on teaching medical terminology and other foundational health science concepts, consider these resources:
- This guide includes information on how you implement the Medical Terminology Class Kit as well as other foundational health science learning aids into your classroom
- Use these tips for ideas on how to teach another foundational skill, medical math, in your health science classes
- Watch our complete webinar, “Classroom Resources for Teaching Medical Terminology“