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Unit information: Language and discourse: teaching effective communication in 2020/21

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Unit name Language and discourse: teaching effective communication
Unit code MEEDM0023
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Fowler
Open unit status Not open

PG Cert in TLHP (60 credits).



School/department Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences


Good communication is at the heart of professional relationships in education and health settings. Research demonstrates the importance of good communication skills in providing effective health care and also highlights the need for the explicit teaching of these skills in the health professions. Drawing on the research bases of medical education and linguistics, the unit will help the participants improve their own communication skills and their knowledge of language in order to develop their ability to teach communication in the health professions. The unit offers students opportunities to develop knowledge from relevant fields and then apply it to their own work and teaching. It will also highlight opportunities to access and review research in this multi-disciplinary area. This unit will appeal to participants with an interest in language, communicating to a range of audiences (including patients and fellow professionals) and in the teaching and research of communication skills.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this module and related parts of the programme, the student should be able to:

  1. Identify how language varies according to participants and context and define the discourse communities to which they belong.
  2. Identify and produce effective communication for a range of audiences using a range of modes.
  3. Explore the range of communication skills needed in clinical practice.
  4. Use linguistic tools to analyse an interaction.
  5. Provide detailed and specific feedback on interactions.
  6. Identify how personal attitudes and feelings may impact on communication.

Teaching details

Blended learning approach including online tutorials; interactive discussion boards; activities with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Details


  • Feedback on writing for different audiences and on oral and non-verbal communication skills (peer assessment, self assessment and tutor assessment).
  • Feedback on presentation on discourse community and discourse analysis.


3000-3500 word written assignment (100%)(or equivalent in other media at the discretion of the lead tutor), focused around applying the learning outcomes to students' own experience, professional practice and/or workplace environment, indicative titles are (students would choose one from the following):

  • Design a communications teaching session (to include lesson plan, materials and assessment) and write rationale for choices linking these to communication theory.
  • Use a video of a medical encounter (simulated or actual) with due consideration for ethics and analyse using conversation analysis. Use the analysis as a basis for detailed feedback to the student and an action plan for developing the students' communication skills. Rationalise the choices in the action plan linking these to communication theory.
  • A negotiated title that reflects the learning outcomes for this module and that draws on relevant research.

Reading and References

Please refer to Blackboard site