When Caroline Maake describes the knee joint in her lectures on the anatomy of the human musculoskeletal system, she doesn’t merely point out the bones, muscles and ligaments, but explains the ingenious structure that facilitates both stability and freedom of movement. “In my teaching I focus on interdependencies and try to explain why a body part is built in such a way and what the functional consequences are,” the anatomy specialist explains. As one student says, Professor Maake’s inspiring manner allows her to engage students. And this is precisely Maake’s goal: She wants her students to understand the anatomical details of the human body in all their fascinating complexity, as well as their flaws. To do so she uses conventional teaching resources such as slides and occasionally presents a specimen. More important than the technical resources, however, are her fascinating explanations on how everything is connected. “Whenever possible, I try to embed the relevant knowledge into a story,” she says. This approach, which gives students unexpected and interesting insights, leaves medical students in packed-out lecture halls hanging on her every word. Although they could certainly learn about anatomy from books or websites, they clearly do not want to miss out on the added value of Maake’s experience. Behind all this lies a great deal of passion and meticulous preparation. “I think carefully about what I can offer students and make sure I present the topics clearly and well,” she adds.
Caroline Maake, Professor of Anatomy