Needs Analysis: Dental English for Japanese Dental Students

| October 18, 2011
Title
Needs Analysis: Dental English for Japanese Dental Students

Keywords: Needs analysis, Dental Students, Dental English, Japan, English for
Specific Purpose

Authors
Omar M.M. Rodis, Naoyuki Kariya, Michiko Nishimura, Seishi Matsumura, Ryo Tamamura
Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University

Bio Data
Dr. Rodis is Assistant Professor while Dr. Matsumura is Associate Professor at the Department of Behavioral Pediatric Dentistry in Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama City (Japan). Dr. Rodis is mainly in charge of teaching the Dental English course and developing the course syllabus, lecture presentations and handouts while Dr. Matsumura assists in the development of the course syllabus.
Dr. Kariya and Dr. Nishimura are Assistant Professors at the Hospital of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama University, Okayama City and assist in the development of the course syllabus, lecture presentations and handouts.
Dr. Tamamura is Assistant Professor at the Department of Oral Pathology and Medicine, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama City, and is in charge of the e-learning segment of the course.

Abstract
Japan continues to rank low in English proficiency tests specially in the academic field. Dental English, also offered as Medical English in some dental schools, is an English course specializing in medical and dental terminologies, dental practice and the development of communication skills and it was introduced into the Japanese dental curriculum in the 1990 s. However, at present, it is only offered in half of Japan s 29 dental schools. There is still no consensus among education officials, dental schools, teachers and students as to what it comprises. Almost 20 years have passed and there is still no core curriculum that has been developed for the course to be implemented in all schools. Additionally, Japanese students have constantly been reported to shy away from English courses when they reach college even after six years of English studies in high school. This article explores the needs of dental students taking Dental English at one of the dental schools offering the course. Surveys and entries by students on the Student-Teacher Shuttle Card were used to present these needs. Assessment of their needs showed that they have changed in their outlook concerning the importance of Dental English for their future professional life as dentists. Students prefer to take more units of the course and also expressed their intentions of becoming international dentists and be ready to face opportunities and challenges concerning the use of English skills. Dental education officials should therefore initiate steps to develop a core curriculum for the course itself, decide on the number of credits it is assigned with, and review the integration of the course into the dental curriculum and national board examinations.

See pages 1-20

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Category: Teaching Articles, Volume 55