Education Articles – The Challenge of Learning Englishes for Refugee Professionals by Dr. Gabriel John Roberts
The article covers the variety of English that refugee doctors have to learn. This includes not only formal academic English for the IELTS exam and medical English for their profession, but also dialectical English in locales where they will be working.
This presents an enormous challenge for refugee doctors and learning to cope with the flexibility of language in three discrete registers can take up valuable time that arguably could be better spent keeping up with developments in their specialist area.
There is no magic wand here, but if we consider the adjustment to different styles of English that is required, an adjustment which is necessary because other L1 English speaking patients are not asked to make, then we must again recognise the Sysephean task that refugee doctors are confronted with.
Training refugee costs 1/10 of the cost of training doctors in the U.K. yet we confront them with barriers such as an English test on unconnected global topics with ever increasing requirements for doctors and other healthcare professionals, followed by two Professional Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) tests. Perhaps a combined test of language and professional knowledge with combined training would support refugee doctors, the NHS and patients more efficiently and effectively.
About the author Dr. Gabriel John Roberts:
Dr. Gabriel John Roberts is the Subject Leader for the Cardiff Metropolitan University BA English Language Teaching (Joint Hons) Programmes and a lecturer in ESP on the MA TESOL Programme. His research is on language assessment, with a focus on Refugee Doctors attempting to pass the IELTS test.