Welcome to the second edition to Communicative English for Health Professions, Elementary Level! This new edition is the product of extensive revision and evaluation, not only by me and my students, but by the many instructors who, along with their students, have used the previous edition and have contributed valuable suggestions and comments. The success of the previous edition has been due, in large measure, to the honest and careful appraisal given by language instructors and their students.
Communicative English for Health Professions, Elementary Level, is a communicative textbook designed to enable health-science students at an elementary level of English as a foreign language to communicate in medical-hospital settings. The focus is on the processes of communication and conversational fluency as a goal in conversation classes, rather than on grammar.
To enable a health-science student to converse in a medical setting, s/he must be familiar with a wide range of topics that occur in a hospital environment. The student needs to be able both to respond to and initiate questions on situations, events, and activities that commonly take place during interaction with speakers of English. For this reason, all situations, tasks, and activities are taken from real-life situations that occur in hospital settings, for example, opening a file, asking about the location of medical items, making clinical appointments, giving directions,
expressing opinions about medical services, asking for past medical history, requesting, complaining politely, and so on.
Communicative English for Health Professions, Elementary Level, contains ten units, each made up of two lessons. Each lesson begins with pre-listening questions designed to stimulate student interest and focus on the conversation topic. Discussing the questions in pairs, small groups, or as a class enables students to make better use of their knowledge of the topic as they listen to the conversation. Then a recorded conversation is introduced with a vocabulary section that explains difficult words in the conversation.
Students should be given several opportunities to hear the conversation. First, play the entire conversation without stopping. Then play it again with frequent pauses during which students can repeat the lines. They will also read it afterwards. As they do so, have they practise the ‘read and look up’ technique:
One student looks at the text to be read aloud.
When ready to speak, s/he looks at his/her partner and says a line (or part of a line).
S/he then looks down at the page again for the next line, and again looks up while saying it.
The reader’s eyes should never be in the book while s/he is speaking. This will help students to role-play more naturally. At the same time, it will improve their
Reading fluency by requiring them to take in phrases, rather than read word-by-word. Although students may resist this technique in the beginning, repeated practice will help them see how useful it is.
The Pronunciation Focus section highlights important pronunciation points in each unit. These points are: sentence stress, intonation, rhythm, blending, and reduction. By paying particular attention to these points, you will make your students aware of them.
In the Guided Practice section, every function heard in the conversation is presented and concentrated on separately. Every student is given an opportunity to practise the new functions with a partner or in a small group. The types of practice are controlled so as to suit elementary-level students.
Both lessons in each unit end with a task-based Listening Practice which is designed to help students with real-life listening tasks. Following presentation of the recording, students listen again to check their own answers before comparing them with those of partners or the class.
Grammar and Usage
Communicative English for Health Professions is not meant to be a grammar text and should not be used as one. The author assumes that basic grammar has already been learned, and now the students need practice in using grammar in a natural, conversational setting. However, grammar is carefully controlled so that, as far as possible, the major points of English grammar are reviewed in natural contexts. The units progress in difficulty, although they can be done out of sequence if that seems appropriate or necessary.
UNIT 1: Greetings and Personal Information
UNIT 2: Taking Family History and Describing Hospital Staff
UNIT 3: Location of Medical Items
UNIT 4: Clinical Appointments and Directions
UNIT 5: Giving Opinions
UNIT 6: Taking Past Medical History
UNIT 7: Requesting and Complaining Politely
UNIT 8: Symptoms and Signs
UNIT 9: Questioning Patients and Comparing Medical Services
UNIT 10: Future Plans