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Virginia J Allum

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English for Medical Purposes: Free Online Resources
by Virginia J Allum   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Virginia J Allum

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Blended Learning is generally considered to be an effective way to learn a language. Medical English requires the knowledge of a large body of specific terms which can be practised well using on-line activities and resources.


Blended Learning is the buzz word (or words) of today. Online resources can help make teaching and learning a lot easier. All the better as the following examples are free. Some, like the Cambridge University Press resources are offered as a goodwill gesture to support the materials which teachers and learners may have already bought. They are also a great marketing tool if the resource directs a teacher or learner to buy the book which goes with the resource.
Some of the resources provide practice in areas which may not have been covered or covered slightly in the book they refer to. In the case of 'Cambridge English for Nursing', for example, the bulk of the practice in the books was aimed at verbal communication. There was not a lot of time devoted to written communication, although it was covered in each unit. The Medical Technology resources gave us the opportunity to offer some reading texts which we thought were current and interesting and would stimulate discussion as well.
Some resources are interactive activities such as click and drag or matching activities. Some of these activities may be on a site which offers you the opportunity to either access resources made and donated by others or to make your own. An example of one of these is the Quizlet website (
I always think that it's always a nice idea to share your resources with colleagues and learners.
Cambridge University Press
The ‘Cambridge English for Nursing’ website has a  complete package of free resources linked to the two Cambridge English for Nursing books. The Teachers Notes are available for all units of both books as well as additional teaching resources for Medical Technology, Glossaries and Grammar Practice
The TEFLtastic  Medical English worksheets  on the tefl-net website is a wonderful list of resources . One of my favourites is the Medical joke section. With permission, Alex, (Alex Case,author of I'd like to share this one which is a pair work example:
Student 1: tells the first part of the joke
‘A few days before his proctological examination, a one-eyed man accidentally swallowed his glass eye. He was worried for a while, but there were no ill effects, so he forgot about it.
Once he was in the surgery, the man followed the doctor's instructions, undressed and bent over. The first thing the proctologist saw when he looked up the man's butt was that glass eye staring right back at him.’
Student 2: delivers the 'punch line'
‘"You know," said the doctor, "you really have to learn to trust me."’
The English Med website is  an initiative of Elanguest which is sponsored by the European union's Leonardo Da Vinci project. The Leonardo da Vinci Programme was set up to fund vocational education projects such as training opportunities or larger scale ventures.
The Englishmed project produced medical language practice for doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Simple cartoon figures are used in the short video clips which model the dialogues.
Hospital English
The website contains many free Medical English teaching materials. There are both worksheets and lesson plans for teachers on the site. Topics covered include discussions of diseases such as asthma, diabetes and arthritis and discussion of treatment and procedures. The website offers practice in reading comprehension as well as vocab building.
Quia 'is pronounced key-ah, and is short for Quintessential Instructional Archive. Quia provides tools which can be used by teachers to make their own resources by using the templates on the site. Alternatively, teachers or learners can use resources which have been shared for everyone's use. The Medicine category has almost one hundred activities to choose from. Rank no 1 is 'Directional Terms' and no 2 is 'Medical Terminology'. Well worth checking through to revise terms or set as homework.
Sheppard Software
This was a real find! On the Sheppard Software website, you'll find the Learn Medical terminology game. Click to play and try out your knowledge. As you answer, a voice gives you feedback.
There are apparently 340 questions in all. Each quiz picks 20 questions at random.

Web Site: English for Nursing and Healthcare

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