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Unit information: Language and discourse: teaching effective communication in 2021/22

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 Ms. Tricia Thorpe
Open unit status Not open

PG Certificate in TLHP.



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

Description including Unit Aims

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. It will also offer participants an introduction to the use of language analysis in research. 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 unit learners 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 Information

There will be a mixed method approach consistent with current best practice. This will include presentations by course tutors, large and small group discussions, workshops, individual analysis activities, demonstrations and presentations by participants with structured feedback.

Assessment Information


  • 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.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. MEEDM0023).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.