This article reports on a research process where focussed reflection on pharmacist-patient simulations led to meta-pragmatic awareness and directions for pedagogical practice. The research participants were third-year EAL pharmacy students, who were practising being pharmacists, and pharmacy staff members, who played the part of patients. Analysis of the students' videoed performances showed that some areas of pragmatic weakness had a negative impact on professional communication, including indirectness in advice-giving sequences. Reflection on such indirectness, the focus of this article, occurred in two stages: when the participants were interviewed after viewing their simulations and when participant focus groups were held to discuss research findings a year later. Both the stimulated recall interview and the focus group data showed the value of reflection for the students who observed and commented on the effect their language choices had on the patients, developed a meta-pragmatic language for describing and explaining these choices, and identified areas and possible strategies for language improvement. The research process also assisted pharmacy staff members to clarify their concerns regarding students' pragmatic choices and to suggest teaching activities responsive to the research data. The article illustrates how teachers and students can co-operate to develop ESP and discipline-based pedagogical practice.
- EAL pharmacy students' pharmacist-patient simulations
- Indirect language use