Lessons Learned From Teaching Japanese for Medical Purposes to International Students


This work shows the lessons learned from the online course on Basic Medical Japanese for international students conducted between May and July 2020 at Tokushima University. The participants were five graduate students from China, Bangladesh, Thailand, including one male and four females. This course was designed for the learners to master basic medical terms and phrases in Japanese, as well as to be able to make basic conversation in health care context. The course materials were prepared bilingually, consisted of 13 lessons covering practical topics such as “parts of human body”, “basic symptoms”, “medicines and drug store”, “respiratory system”. For each lesson, the learners were introduced to new vocabulary and basic expressions by doing role play, translating sentences, solving quiz, and watching clips. The results of class assessments and end-course assessment had shown improvements of vocabulary capacity and context-based conversation skills for most of the topics. However, the learners showed difficulties in learning topics with more complicated terminology such as “psychiatry”. The learners reported that besides improving their medical Japanese language skills, they had gained more confidence in using Japanese for medical purposes, as well gained motivation for mastering medical Japanese. They found visual aids and English instruction were helpful to absorb the content. These results imply that teaching Japanese for medical purpose may contribute to improving practical Japanese skill and confidence in daily life for international students in Japan.


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