The Specialized English Language Program (SELP)

English Medical Communication Skills Course

This selective is a 6-credit, seven-hour-per-week English course comprised of the four skill-specific Term 1 classes and one individual weekly tutorial described below. These classes are designed to support first-term veterinary medical and medical students with their coursework and to provide students with the opportunity to develop communication skills that will help them in their clinical rotations and in their future medical careers. Two classes in the course are group specific. The Interviewing class is designed specifically for medical students and the Veterinary Communication class is designed specifically for veterinary medical students.

Skill-Specific Classes

The individual classes that comprise the Term 1 English Medical Communication Skills Course can also be taken by any students interested in improving a specific English skill. In addition, based on results of the diagnostic tests, some students may be placed into one or more of these individual classes to meet admission criteria. The SELP program also offers a communication class designed specifically for Term 2 medical students. The current SELP class offerings for Term 1 and 2 students are described below.

Term One Workshops (SOM and SVM)

The first week of English classes comprises several workshops designed to provide students who will be taking any SELP class with an introduction to important skills which are further developed in several of our classes. These workshops are open to any interested individuals.

Email Workshop

This workshop introduces students to some of the basic guidelines for writing professional and informal correspondence by email. Email protocol and the expression of tone through email is analyzed and discussed.

Research Workshop

This workshop is presented in conjunction with the Basic Science Foundation (BSF) computer workshop. The BSF workshop introduces students to the research resources available to them on the Internet. This SELP segment of the workshop provides practice in selecting appropriate search terms and procedures for a wide range of Internet resources. Evaluation of the quality and usefulness of sample sources is discussed.

Presentation Skills Workshop

In this workshop, students analyze presentations in terms of the appropriateness of content for a specific audience and the effectiveness of the presenter's skills. Basic presentation skills are summarized and students are provided with the opportunity to give a brief presentation and discuss and analyze strengths and weaknesses of the presentations of peers.

Study Skills Workshop

This workshop is presented in conjunction with the Testing and Study Skills Coordinator in DES. A survey of different ways of dealing with the medical course load is discussed, with attention given to the specific difficulties faced when dealing with an extensive amount of reading in a second language.

Test-Taking Skills Workshop

This workshop is presented in conjunction with the testing and Study Skills Coordinator in DES. In this workshop students are introduced to test-taking techniques that can enhance performance on multiple choice tests. In addition, the terms, phrases, and structures of multiple choice tests are examined.

Term One Classes (SOM and SVM)

Formal Communication in the Medical Context

This is an integrated skills task-based class in which students examine and perform a wide range of authentic tasks requiring communication in a formal register. Some of the tasks performed include reading research articles for specific content, giving formal presentations, engaging in professional discussions, and writing formal reports and correspondence.

Informal Communication in the Medical Context

This is an integrated skills task-based class in which students examine and perform a wide range of authentic tasks requiring communication in an informal register. Some of the tasks performed include explaining diseases and procedures to patients, presenting to lay audiences, and writing informal email.

Medical Terminology

This class is designed to help students build their medical vocabulary easily and quickly. It also helps them to interpret medical terms as they are used in medical practice. Finally, it familiarizes them with a range of colloquial vocabulary which they are likely to encounter when speaking to patients.

Communication for the Interview (Medical Students)

This class is designed to introduce students to the medical interview and to help them develop their interviewing skills, specifically in the medical context. These skills are applied in practical ways including the interviewing of simulated patients. Students have the opportunity to review, discuss, and evaluate these interactions.

Veterinary Communication (Veterinary Medical Students)

This class has been specifically designed for veterinary medical students. It replaces the interviewing class taken by medical students. This is an integrated skills task-based class in which students examine and perform a wide range of communication activities required in the veterinary medicine context.

Individual Grammar/Pronunciation Tutorials

Each student enrolled in any of our classes will also be scheduled to do a one hour weekly individual tutorial. This tutorial is designed to give the student and the instructor an opportunity to meet to ensure that feedback on individual assignments is understood and can be incorporated into future work. It also allows students to receive personalized attention and to work on specific grammar or pronunciation problems. Individualized feedback is the mainstay of developing language skills to a high level of proficiency.

Term Two Classes (SVM)

Medical Communication Skills

This class is designed to enhance a variety of skills necessary for students' success in the clinical years, as well as in their careers as physicians. In addition to a variety of class activities designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop a full range of communication skills such as pronunciation/enunciation, speaking, writing, reading, and listening, in a wide range of medical contexts. Students have the opportunity to practice these communication skills with simulated patients.

Individual Tutoring Sessions

Premedical Classes

These classes include supplemental language-focused tutorials for several premedical courses such as Introduction to College Writing, Advanced College Writing and Abnormal Psychology; skills-development courses; and workshops to address weaknesses often faced on standardized examinations. The SELP instructors also provide individual tutoring to premedical students, in order to improve their oral communication, reading, writing or grammar skills.

Individual Assistance and Tutorials

Assistance from the SELP instructors is always available. They will meet individually with any student or faculty member, native speaker or non-native speaker of English, to work on any English language skill such as letter writing, resume writing, presentation skills, pronunciation, or reading comprehension.