Piloting action at PWSNS Gdynia, English Philology (Poland)

On the 20th November 2016 a group of 9 B.A. English Philology students and their leading teacher, Ms. Justyna Kowalczys, took part in Piloting activities from the HELP project.
The piloted Module 15 “Why do we need intercultural competence in care and healthcare” was given to students in the written version. Additionally, the students were familiarized with the HELP platform.
The students tested all types of the exercises, including the interactive ones:
– Listening 1 – Key Words
– Reading 1, 2
– Speaking 1, 2, 3
– Video Clip 1 – Jafar – impressive!
– Writing 1
– Video Clip 2 – Don’t judge a book by its cover

After having been demonstrated HELP medical modules and after testing one of them (Module 11) the English Philology students were familiarized with the intercultural part of the HELP project. Firstly, the general idea of intercultural training in general fields of life and also in medical environment was presented to the students. They were asked to give examples of conflicts that might arise from intercultural differences, especially in present political and economic EU situation.
The students were creative in listing hypothetical situations, yet they claimed that they only discuss the topic intuitively, sometimes basing on their own experience. What is important, however, they unanimously claimed that they lack professional training and materials in this field of study. Therefore, they were eager to be presented and to practice HELP intercultural modules.
All the presented exercises proved to be “food for thought” and stimulated a lot of discussion and personal involvement of the students. However, the peak was reached after watching two short videos: Jafar and Don’t judge a book by its cover. Even though they do not include lengthy dialogues and the storyline seems basic, there are much emotions and questions evoked.
The students were shown Module 15 and tested it on two levels – they were shown the modules on the HELP platform and additionally all the students were handed in the pdf written versions of the module.
The students only did not experience working with the HELP Learning App which is not ready yet. Therefore, the questionnaires do not cover the part on the HELP Learning App.
The paper versions of the questionnaires were filled in after having completed the module by 9 students.
All of the participants agreed to receive the HELP newsletter.
Strong points mentioned:

  • Innovative incorporation of intercultural topics into EMP learning/teaching
  • Materials are well-selected for B1/B2 levels (even though majority of students present C1/C2 they appreciated the easier level of general English as specific lexis and topics constituted a new issue to them)
  • The topic presented in Module 15 is well and thoroughly presented – good examples and exercises to illustrate the topic
  • Interesting and innovative video clips
  • Interesting and thought provoking; opens minds to intercultural topics
  • It is needed in the current world situation
  • Perfect and impressive that it is accessible to all people
  • Pre-listening exercises (especially long recorded key phrases)
  • Vocabulary exercises

– The B1/B2 level is adequate for students with B1/B2 general English level, as well as for learners with C1/C2 general English.
– It is a comprehensive tool to support group and individualized form of intercultural study.
– Individualized self-study with the moodle platform was appreciated; it is a new tool to this group of students.
– All the students declare to use the platform as a form of linguistic and intercultural self-development.

– Students declare to cover all speaking exercises when they learn individually as they have many international contacts/friends and colleagues from the same profession. They also feel that linguistic correctness will be interchangeably checked.
– The group agrees to use the pictures taken during piloting on the HELP website.
– It is advisable to number all pages in pdf version of every module, as a printed copy creates confusion with the right ordering.

– Key words – the phrase “to reject something e.g. hospital food /examination by a male doctor “ is read out as “to reject something e.g. hospital food or being examined by a male doctor”

The general feedback was very positive. After the students were made familiar with the topic of intercultural training they suddenly realized the lack of this issue in all the training materials they ever had. Additionally, they admitted that I am the first teacher ever mentioning this topic to them during regular classes. The overall comments about the project’s idea and intercultural modules were very supportive and full of admiration (Super, It’s very interesting, Great job, Great idea, Interesting, Useful and helpful for students, patients, nurses).
All the students declared very high overall satisfaction with the module (7 questionnaires – 6 points, 2 questionnaires – 5 points).
During the meeting the students were also given the HELP leaflets, which promotes project dissemination.