The Issue of Medical Students’ Willingness to Communicate in ESP classes

dr Giti Karimkhanlooei, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Iran, ID LLCE2018-340     Abstract: The foundation stone for language learning is being able to communicate. While some learners continue to be more aware of the numerous effects of communication, a large number of learners still prefer to remain reticent. Willingness to communicate(WTC) has been a matter of concern for many researchers over the past decades. This concern has brought about outstanding findings germane to numerous facets. WTC is a multifarious construct in which variety of variables play interwoven roles. Affective factors such as attitudes, anxiety and motivation have a surviving role on language achievement and proficiency (Yashimin 2002). Numerous variables intrude a person’s WTC, such as dreadfulness to speak, the problem of self-image alongside with issues such as introversion and extroversion (Mackrosky 1992). Previous studies report that in Iranian context while students have linguistic competence, they remain silent. A reason may be feeling incompetency to speak (MacIntyre 2000). The other reasons may be teacher’s role as well as personality problems. There is little research on the willingness to communicate in medical English contexts. In view of facts and previous research, in our medical English classes, we face double dilemma. On the one hand, less proficient students communicate in English, while remarkably proficient students may not be willing to communicate. This research might be the first of its kind to carry out this issue in a medical context. The ultimate goal was to find out the reasons in English medical classes and then via putting forward some suggestions, increase the willingness to participate, either as the result of some changes in classroom management or proper attitudinal changes. 100 students took part in this study who were majoring in one of the subfields of medical fields, namely dentistry, medicine and pharmacy. All the examined variables were found to cast a barrier on L2 communication. The results indicated that affective factors may prevent students WTC. Therefore, it is the task of instructors to create a situation void of anxiety to invoke learners to talk and not feel shy.

Key words: Willingness to communicate, English for Specific Purposes(ESP), Medical Students, Communication

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