Exploring ESP/Medical biology teacher collaboration, and medical students' and their teachers' perceptions of writing needs in an Arab University: a case study.
2010-02-22T10:33:22Z (GMT) by
This study has explored: 1) the perceptions of medical students towards their writing needs (necessities, lacks, and wants) in writing, and also their perceptions towards syllabus, materials, activities, instruction and the effect of writing in English in the MB (Medical Biology) class; 2) differences of perceptions between Medics I and II; 3) the perceptions of ESP (English for Specific Purposes) and MB teachers regarding students’ lacks in writing; 4) collaboration between the ESP teachers and the MB teachers; and 5) the challenges of collaboration. Mixed-method approach was adopted: 267 questionnaires were distributed to Medics I and Medics II students; 16 semi-structured interviews were conducted with students and 9 semi-structured interviews with ESP/MB teachers, coordinators, the Deputy Head of the English language centre and the Dean of Medicine in an Arab university. Findings showed that medical students' perceptions of their writing ‘wants’ were writing practice, reading for different schemata, and grammar practice. Their ‘lacks’ in writing are mainly vocabulary, spelling accuracy and applying grammatical rules in writing. Some students thought they need more guidance, interactive writing activities and innovative general/medical materials. There were no significant differences between Medics I and Medics II students except that Medics II students benefitted more from the writing component. ESP and MB teachers' perceptions regarding the writing needs of the students differed. The data showed similarities regarding the students' and ESP/MB participants’ perceptions of ‘lacks’ such as insufficient reading, paragraph writing and grammar practice. ESP participants believed their students to have more practice in writing while MB participants emphasized content, writing for professional purposes and comprehension of exam questions. Regarding collaboration, the ESP and MB participants showed inclinations to cooperate. However, they had different views on teaching content, the status of the ESP teacher, the use of L1, administrative issues, unclear goals and interpersonal issues.