We’re big fans of EALTHY. Medical English is such an interesting field and delivered in many different ways by practitioners around the world - at medical universities, nursing colleges, English language schools and in private teaching settings. EALTHY is the one organisation looking to bring these disparate approaches together to create an international community of practice.
The annual conference is their annual flagship event. We have loved attending in the past and have always been struck by the great variety in keynotes, talks and workshops, as well as the excellent dinners and networking opportunities. Clearly, face-to-face events have not been possible for some time, so we were delighted when EALTHY announced the Virtual Symposium to take place on 17th September.
The SLC Academic team all attended and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive - on the line up, the timings and on the use of the Gather Town immersive virtual environment.
Jo Langford, known by students around the world as #OETJo thanks to her YouTube videos, reported the following:
We attended EALTHY conference 2021 on virtual “Gather Town” and were able to walk around virtual rooms, just like a real conference. We were able to pop in and out of the rooms, view posters and sit in one of the coffee lounges and chat to other attendees.
The lunchtime keynote presentation “The real value of simulation. Three reasons for role-play” given by John Skelton, Professor Emeritus from Birmingham University Medical School was of particular interest. Role play is such an important part of the learning process for our Medical English and OET students. It really helps them activate language and use it in a real context and the use of role-play is something that is now widely use and expected in the classroom.
It was great to have an OET strand to visit this year, with several interesting talks on OET including one on OET Pharmacy from OET’s Rebecca Bush. It was also a great chance to network with other OET teachers and share experiences and expertise.
Alexia Sporidis, our senior exams teacher, gave a well-attended workshop on the OET Speaking paper, OET speaking: Driving the role play forward using question forms to encourage patient interaction and meet the clinical communication criteria.
Here’s what she had to say:
OET is an effective way to train health care professionals to communicate effectively in a patient-led environment, and creating a realistic role play not only helps students to achieve their OET goals, but also allows them to have greater and effective communication with their patients. Our OET students regularly state how their OET training has helped them to communicate better in their day-to-day health care environments, and therefore, I felt this was an area that could be further explored.
My presentation was based on creating a ‘natural‘ dialogue, where accurately formed lexical chunks are prepared and applied to any consultation setting, demonstrating how generating accurate language can help students better prepare for any role play, and manage any task that they are presented with.
At EALTHY this was workshopped, and it was interesting to see how teachers found some of the tasks quite challenging, demonstrating the importance of how students can benefit from being prepared in this way over the length of a course – consequently producing effective communication that they can use with confidence.
A huge thanks to Catherine Richards and her team for putting on such a great day. We’re all hugely looking forward to the next one - fingers very much crossed - in person!