The blackboard anatomist

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 10 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h345
  1. Anna Harris, postdoctoral researcher, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands
  1. a.harris{at}

Since the early 19th century blackboard teaching has been an important practice in medical schools, building on the work of celebrated artistic anatomists such as London’s Charles Bell.1 I was lucky enough to be taught by another great blackboard anatomist, Peter Lisowski. As first year medical students at the University of Tasmania we would enter his lectures with only a blank blackboard in front of us—no printouts or PowerPoint slides. In a shaking but precise hand he would start to draw, …

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