Course Title: English for students of the Health Sciences: Enhancing Student Capabilities

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: English for students of the Health Sciences: Enhancing Student Capabilities

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013

Course Coordinator: Dr Mee Young Park

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 6593

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

The primary capabilities for this course are those relating to students:

  • Motivation for self-improvement.
  • Desire to improve their capability for engaging in academic and discipline specific communication.
  • Ability to translate course learning to broader aspects of their relevant disciplines (programs)
  • Ability to position themselves to maximize learning opportunities for safe and competent clinical, laboratory or other relevant practice.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity for international and local students who have a language background other than English, to build on their current English communication skills, to help them to understand their courses and apply this learning to the study of their particular program. Specifically, this course will develop English language competencies, through a creative learning-teaching process conducted in a safe environment to help students develop effective conversational and written English skills in a variety of socio/cultural, academic, and professional contexts or settings.

This course is based on the premise that students require effective language skills and learning strategies in order to develop confidence and feel successful in their studies. The major target population for this course is students in the Health Sciences programs. The course is offered as a student elective.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Key objective: To develop English skills that help students understand their courses, to converse, to write academic papers and other learning strategies to support success in the students’ program.

This will include the following.
A Students successfully completing the course will have developed their ability to use health sciences course materials to:

  • Analyse the conventions and requirements of different forms of academic writing
  • Synthesise information from multiple sources into a coherent position
  • Learn the relevant discipline’s language
  • Communicate ideas clearly, concisely and effectively in writing, using appropriate grammar, format and referencing
  • Recognise appropriate language use for a range of situations
  • Read academic texts with critical awareness
  • Present information with fluency, accuracy and appropriate pronunciation, intonation and stress
  • Listen actively to others, responding appropriately and seeking clarification where necessary, including in both classroom laboratories and clinical settings
  • Apply referencing convention in assignments

B Students successfully completing the course will also engage in English conversation and writing in order to:

  • Compare and contrast patterns of learning and student teacher expectations between their own culture and the culture in which they are studying.
  • Develop management strategies to accommodate the cultural differences in teaching and learning in order to be successful in the program.
  • Discriminate between essential and non-essential ideas within the context of oral and written communication (lecture content and reading material).
  • Recognise the importance of cross-cultural contributions in the teaching and learning process.

Overview of Learning Activities

A student centred approach will be used that builds on each student’s prior knowledge and language abilities.

Students can expect to participate in small group exercises, critical peer review, self assessment, classroom activities and individual work to consolidate understanding of course content and to apply both English language and study skills to negotiated assessment tasks in their courses.
Learning Tasks can include

  • Class and home based writing and tape recording activities in English
  • Group discussion and team work
  • Class presentation
  • Peer feedback
  • Keeping a reflective journal
  • Formal and informal research and writing
  • Negotiation of needs and interests

Overview of Learning Resources

A range of resources will be made available through the SLC website. Specific course references, websites and online learning from the students’ enrolled courses will also be used for language study purposes.

Overview of Assessment

The assessment tasks are designed to provide for continuous feedback, so that you will have a clear idea of your own progress. Each task will be based on class work and will have been previously demonstrated to you. Tasks are intended to help you to reflect, both on your learning in the course and on using the four key skills of language (reading, writing, speaking, listening) It will include the following assessment.

  1. class participation
  2. group presentation verbal and written power point etc, on relevant issues relating to their discipline
  3. Engage in two way English conversation with other members in the group
  4. develop a portfolio that may incorporate: audiotape conversations in the community and over the telephone in English; critical incidence in their discipline; discharge planning; qualitative assessment of a client etc..
  5. formal essay a topic determined by the lecturer related to their discipline

Successful completion of the course will mean that the learning objectives have been met. The course will be graded as pass/fail. Hence the final result will not impact on the student’s grade point average.