IsiZulu Communication Skills Videos for Med Students
UKZN’s Discipline of Rural Health recently hosted a presentation on the use of isiZulu videos to teach communication skills to Medical students. The presentation was the result of interdepartmental and inter-College collaboration with the main aim being to ensure that isiZulu language skills are transferred to medical students from their first year of study to enable them to adequately converse with patients.
The team comprised of Dr Paula Diab of the Discipline of Rural Health, Dr Margy Matthews of the School of Clinical Medicine and Ms Roshni Gokool of the Discipline of African Languages, College of Humanities. Together they illustrated how various videos had been developed to support teaching isiZulu to Medical students.
The team said communication skills teaching did not extend through all the clinical years of training, ie. the fourth to sixth years. While limited isiZulu support and assessment have been introduced by Matthews and Gokool in the second and third years, the language skills learnt in the first year isiZulu course were insufficient to equip students to converse with their patients.
Consequently, there was a need for isiZulu communication teaching throughout the MBChB curriculum.
The concept began with teaching students simple isiZulu, using only basic vocabulary and sentence structure. Scenarios were developed in keeping with the themes as taught in the pre-clinical years (Years one - three).
Thereafter, further videos were developed which involved more complex usage of the language, an extended vocabulary and an understanding of the patients’ responses in order to negotiate a shared management plan.
The final stage of the videos depicted scenarios which also required more complex language but concentrated on culturally-specific scenarios needing an understanding of the Zulu culture and how it overlapped with western biomedical presentations (eg: the use of enemas in children, and a case presentation of “ukutwasa”).
The presentation of a selection of the videos as well as a pilot study currently underway to evaluate students’ opinions was well received by members of the African Language Department, UKZN’s Language Board and the College of Health Sciences.
Potential partnerships were formed and it is hoped that, with the support of the Language Board and Research Office, further videos will be able to be developed for use at all levels and across all courses in the College of Health Sciences.
The presenters were congratulated for their innovative teaching methods and development of the videos to date. Professor Noleen Turner, Academic Leader of African Languages at UKZN, applauded the great work being done by the project team. ‘Truly an example of “promoting greatness”, and enhancing research and teaching through interdisciplinary collaboration,’ she said.
Matthews has been involved in teaching communication skills to Medical students from their first to third year of study. In conjunction with Gokool, an isiZulu teaching module was developed in 2010 for second language isiZulu speakers. Diab has been involved in teaching communication skills during the final year.
- Paula Diab