The participants came from various countries in Europe and as far away as Swaziland so lively discussion was guaranteed. Two main issues struck me throughout the seminar:
1. EMP covers a wide range of medical areas but also a wide range of student needs. The inevitable question cropped up ; 'I have to teach a course to dieticians,midwives,physiotherapists etc....do you know of a course book I could use?' We explored this issue which most people appreciate is the difficulty of teaching a 'niche course'. Fortunately, the basics are the same for all health-related courses so we were able, I hope, to give some hints on adding value to a basic health-related course (at whichever level of English).
2. How well can a teacher who has limited or no medical background teach EMP? And, how to up-skill ? We gave a lot of reassurance on this point as it is a common concern particularly as Medical English like Aviation English deals with communications which can have serious outcomes if misunderstood. We looked at the wealth of resources on-line and spent some time reviewing course books which are available. The most important point to get across was that the EMP teacher is a specialist LANGUAGE teacher - the students are the specialists in Medicine or Nursing etc. We urged teachers to set up learning partnerships with students so students share their knowledge with each other and with the teacher.