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Georgian University, Georgia
Championship participant: the National Research Analytics Championship - "Georgia";
This paper tries to explore the learning of medical English by Georgian students of Public Health. It focuses on the frequent usage of strategy by students in learning medical English, especially terminology and to identify the strategies related to success or failure in learning the target. In brief, this research attempts to clarify the strategies used most and least frequently by the learners; a comparison is also made between high level and low level students concerning the usage of learning strategies of EMP. The research involved gathering date on learners views on their learning needs and expectations, on encountered difficulties in learning Medical English terminologies at university, the degree of importance of proficiency in medical areas of language, and collecting and analyzing learners
Keywords: Medical terminology, learning strategies, EMP, discovery strategies, consolidation Strategies.
Целью нашего исследования является определение значений стратегий обучения в процессе обучения медицинского английского языка на основании опроса студентов факультета здравоохранения. Также, целью исследования является сравнительный анализ на использование стратегий обучения в процессе обучения медицинского английского языка между студентами разного уровня. Исследование, также, предусматривает класифицирование стратегий обучения. На основании проведенного эмпирического исследования мы постарались определить, облегчают ли правильно избранные стратегии обучения метод обучения медицинской терминологии.
Ключевые слова: Медицинская терминология, стратегии обучения, медицинский английский, стратегия исследования.
Introduction: Learning strategies are used by students to help them understand information and solve problems. A learning strategy is a person's approach to learning and using information. Students who do not know or use good learning strategies often learn passively and ultimately fail. Learning strategy instruction focuses on making the students more active learners by teaching them how to learn and how to use what they have learned to solve problems and be successful.
In Georgia, students of Public Health are required to take the course "Medical Terminology "as a complementary part of E M P course to meet the demands of their future jobs. In order to help students learn medical terminology more effectively, we tried to explore the learningStrategies of EMP.
According to Gylys and Wedding medical terminology is a specific terminology used to achieve the purpose of communication in the health care field precisely, such as in writing diagnosis and doctors' notes.
Most medical words are made of roots and affixes. Any single medical term has at least one root determining its meaning and one or more affixes to change the part of speech or change the meaning of the word.
According to Schmitt when students use word parts as an initial word-guessing strategy, they must be careful to check the context to realize if their guess makes sense. Haynes and Baker also found that students sometimes made an incorrect guess about what an unknown word meant in a given text, even though the surrounding context revealed it made no sense.
Medical terminology is a set with a large number of low-frequency words and newly created words. As Nation suggested, teaching students strategies is especially important when it comes to dealing with low frequency words. According to Schmitt high-frequency words should probably be taught, whereas learning low-frequency words will require strategies for determining their meaning.
The term - language learning strategy has been defined in many ways by many researchers. Faerch Claus and Casper (1983) stress that a learning strategy is "an attempt to develop linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in the target language." Richards and Platt (1992) state that learning strategies are "intentional behavior and thoughts used by learners during learning so as to better help them understand, learn, or remember new information." All language learners use language learning strategies either consciously or unconsciously while processing new information.
With the help of the research conducted at the University of Georgia and at the medical University we tried to clarify how could learners use appropriate learning strategies based on the characteristics of medical words, such as realizing meaning from context and using word parts in the process of learning medical words? Chamot and Kupper (1989) indicated that high proficiency language learners know how to use appropriate learning strategies to reach their learning goals. Oxford (1985) asserted that successful learners use a wide range of strategies which are appropriate for their learning tasks.
METHOD and MATERIALS
Participants in the current study were 100 students of public Health at University of Georgia and Medical University. The test for evaluating the subjects' proficiency level in the current study was the Medical Terminology final exam prepared by English teacher at the faculty of public health. This was a specific achievement test, rather than a general proficiency test.The students were required to classify and identify most and lest used strategies. The English questionnaire contained questions concerning medical terminology learning strategies.
This empirical research illustrates the use of such a questionnaire as a tool to:
A . To define the importance of learning strategies
B. How can students categorize learning strategies
C. If good learning strategiesmakes methods of teaching terminologies easier
D.Do high level students use different learning strategies from low level learners?
E. What are the great differences between them?
Based on the empirical research we revealed that Strategies can be classified into two ways:
I. Discovery Strategies
1. Determination Strategies (To understand new word's meaning by guessing and using materials)
2. Social Strategies (To discover new word's meaning by consulting someone who knows)
II. Consolidation Strategies
1. Memory Strategies (rhyming and moving physically)
2. Social Strategies (To learn and practice vocabulary and interact with native speakers)
3. Metacognitive Strategies (to evaluate one's own learning and plan for learning assignment).
4. Cognitive Strategies (such as repetition and using mechanical means to study medical terminology)
We tried to explore how different level learners gave priority to the strategies.
Most and Lest preferred strategies by proficient Learners
Learning Strategy Students
1. Lexical part in textbook Cognitive 17%
2. Write notes during lesson Cognitive 14%
3. Use Bilingual dictionary Determination 13%
4. Verbal repetition Cognitive 12%
5. Written repetition Cognitive 10%
6. Put medical words on physical objects Cognitive 9%
7. Put medical words on physical objects Cognitive 8%
8. Find out new meaning in the process of group activity Social (consolidating) 7%
9. Consulting teacher for a sentence including the word Social (discovery) 6%
10. Interaction with foreign medical staff Social (consolidating 4 %
The conducted empirical research showed that the most preferred strategies for proficient learners are vocabulary section in the textbook 17 % , taking notes in class gained 14% , bilingual dictionary – 13%, verbal repetition – 12% , and written repetition 10%. The least preferred strategies can be considered interaction with foreign medical staff – 4%, asking teacher for a sentence including the new medical word – 6% , discovering new meaning from group activity- 7%, listening to tape of word lists 8 % and put medical words on physical objects – 9%
Most and Least preferred Strategies by Low-level Learners
Learning Strategy Students
1. Written repetition Cognitive 17%
2. Verbal repetition Cognitive 14%
3. Consult classmates for meaning Social (consolidating) 13%
4. Understand words from textual context Determination 12%
5. Use Bilingual dictionary Determination 10%
6. Put medical words on objects Cognitive 9%
7. Use new medical words in context Memory 8%
8. Listening to word lists Cognitive 7%
9. Consulting teacher for a sentence including the word Social (discovery) 6%
10. Interaction with foreign medical staff Social (consolidating) 4%
The conducted empirical research showed that the most preferred strategies for low level learners are written repetition – 17%, verbal repetition - 14% , asking classmates for meaning – 13%, guessing from textual context – 12% , bilingual dictionary- 10%, The least preferred strategies can be considered interaction with foreign medical staff- 4%, Asking teacher for a sentence including the new medical word- 6%, Listening to tape of word lists – 7%, Using new medical word in sentences – 8% , putting medical words on physical objects- 9%.
Main differences and similarities among students concerning learning strategies can be considered the following: High-level learners remember more effectively, they evaluate their own vocabulary learning better than low-level learners do. Though, students of both levels turned out to be poor at using social strategies to understand new meanings in terminology learning. Comparing the strategies used by high-level learners to those used by low-level learners, we find that written verbal repetition were the most popular strategies among both levels. Realizing that Listening to tape of word lists is one of the least used strategies by all students of medicine that’s the reason why students encountered difficulty in speaking.
Based on the empirical research we can say that all language learners use language-learning strategies in the learning process. The study indicated that students of medicine in general prefer to use written repetition, verbal repetition, and bilingual dictionary strategies. In contrast asking teacher for a new sentence including the new medical word, listening to tape of word list, and realizing new meaning from group activity are the strategies least used by learners. In general, neither low-level nor high-level learners use social strategies to find out new meaning. Considering Cohen & Aphek, (1980) and O'Malley, Chamot, Stewner-Manzanaraes, Russo, & Kupper, (1985) the English teachers of medical terminology can teach learning strategies. However, they should raise the awareness of learners, recognize the suitable strategy for every situation, and suggest learners a variety of strategies and let learners make decision which ones are appropriate for them.
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