A Survey of the Students and Interns’ EFL Writing Problems in Shiraz University of Medical Sciences

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Title

A Survey of the Students and Interns’ EFL Writing Problems in Shiraz University of Medical Sciences

Authors

Nasrin Shokrpour

Mohammad Hossein Fallahzadeh

Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Iran

Bio Data:

Nasrin Shokrpour is an Associate Professor in applied linguistics and the Vice Dean for Educational Affairs in the Faculty of Paramedical Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. She has an MA in TEFL and PHD in Applied Linguistics from Sydney University, Australia. She has published eight ESP books and has also presented at several international conferences

Mohammad Hossein Fallahzadeh is a professor in pediatric Nephrology, lecturing in the Medical School of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. He is widely published and has presented at several international conferences

Abstract

Writing is a complex process reflecting the writers’ communicative skills. To help EFL students write in English appropriately, the teachers must take their major problems in writing into account if they are expecting a favorable outcome. This research is concerned with EFL writing problems at the university level, trying to point out the major difficulties with which Iranian students face when writing their reports. This study aims at determining the defects in writing skill of medical students. The specific objective of this study is to determine whether language skills or writing skills are the major problem areas to which our fifth year medical students and interns are confronted. In order to compare these students, 101 admission and progress notes written in the internal medicine and pediatrics wards by these students were surveyed based on systemic sampling approach. The notes were scored for language skills comprising spelling, vocabulary, grammar and syntax, and writing skills including punctuation, cohesive devices, coherence and organization. Implications of the findings for EFL writing instruction are discussed. Data analysis indicates that Iranian EFL medical students have problem both in language and writing skills, but with a higher percentage of problem in writing skills. Although grammar, vocabulary and syntax are essential for a well written report, other more important areas are significant as well. Language accuracy, although very significant cannot alone result in effective writing; what our students need is also writing skills.

Key words: EFL writing, EFL medical students, language accuracy and writing skills

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Category: 2008