Are Danish doctors comfortable teaching in English?

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Lisbeth Nilas, Ellen Christine Leth Løkkegaard, Jacob Brink Laursen, Joyce Kling, Dina Cortes

Background
From 2012–2015, the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and of Pediatrics at the University of Copenhagen conducted a project, “Internationalization at Home ”, offering clinical teaching in English. The project allowed international students to work with Danish speaking students in a clinical setting. Using semi-quantitative questionnaires to 89 clinicians about use of English and need for training, this paper considers if Danish clinical doctors are prepared to teach in English.

Results
The majority self-assessed their English proficiency between seven and eight on a 10 unit visual analogue scale, with 10 equivalent to working in Danish, while 15 % rated five or less. However, one-fourth found teaching and writing in English to be twice as difficult than in Danish, and 12 % rated all teaching tasks in English at four or less compared to Danish. The self-assessed need for additional English skills was perceived low.

Conclusion
Teaching in English was rated as 30 % more difficult than in Danish, and a significant subgroup of doctors had difficulties in all forms of communication in English, resulting in challenges when introducing international students in non-native English speaking medical departments.

Keywords
International students Clinical teaching Teaching in foreign language Doctors’ English skills Self-assessment
Original languageEnglish
Article number420
JournalBMC Research Notes
Volume9
Number of pages5
ISSN1756-0500
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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