For many adult EFL/ESL students, understanding and remembering medical terms and medical vocabulary can be difficult. While medical terms might not be every day vocabulary for some people, if an EFL/ESL student needs to go to the hospital or see a doctor, understanding and knowing medical terms can be important. Learning a list of medical terms is really boring though, so I created this free EFL/ESL lesson plan for adult EFL students, so they can learn medical terms while still having some fun.
Time: Need between 90 and 120 minutes to complete this EFL/ESL lesson plan (can be split up into two classes if necessary)
Expected Outcome – EFL/ESL students will understand some basic medical terminology and be able to use the words they’ve learned in a sentence.
Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markets, handout of medical vocabulary, print out of photographs of each main character on Grey’s Anatomy (can find on the internet), and DVD of first season of Grey’s Anatomy TV show.
Step One – When my students arrive in the classroom, I first of all talk to them about the TV show Grey’s Anatomy and tell them the premise of the series (6 interns, who have just graduated from medical school and are starting their first year as doctors). I then give them a handout of photographs of each main character on Grey’s Anatomy and briefly explain who each character is.
Step Two – Handout the second handout which will have all the medical terms that are featured in the episode of Grey’s Anatomy that you chose to show, as well as explanations for each term. If there will be difficulty for students understanding certain medical terms, I also pull up a Thai-English dictionary on the internet and key in some of the words so they can see the meaning in their own language. Of course, you can do this with the language of any EFL/ESL students you’re teaching.
Step Three – I go through the handout explaining each medical term and making sure students understand. Now is the time to ask if there are any questions so explanations can be given before you start showing the TV episode. Most of my students usually understand about 75% once they’ve read the explanations but still may have trouble with the other 25%, which need additional explanations or examples.
Step Four – Now I begin the Grey’s Anatomy TV show. I purposefully choose the first episode of season one as it has some good medical terms in it, plus it introduces all the characters so there’s less confusion. On top of that, it’s very funny, so my students have a good time watching it.
Step Five – Throughout the show, I pause it at parts I presume they may have trouble understanding. I ask questions like “What just happened there?” “What did he/she just ask?” “Why do you think he did that?. I often find, most of my EFL/ESL students get confused in the same places so, after I’ve watched the show with a couple of adult corporate classes, it’s pretty easy to figure out where they’ll have trouble understanding.
If I don’t get a suitable explanation for the questions I ask, I spend a few seconds explaining what just happened or what someone just said, then restart the TV show. I continue to do this until the end of the show.
Step Six – After the show has finished, I ask my students what their impressions were. Did they enjoy it? Which character did they like the best and why? Which did they like the least? Name two medical procedures that happened during the show etc?
Step Seven – Finally, now they have seen the show and seen the medical vocabulary being used, I go around the classroom and ask each student to choose a medical term from the handout and give me a sentence using that term. This helps them remember some of the terms and to be able to use them correctly.
Evaluation/Assessment: 1. participation in class, 2. Student’s ability to understand the TV show and be able to figure out what’s happening, even if they don’t understand 100% of the vocabulary used, 3. ability to be able to use the medical terms from the show correctly in a sentence.
I’ve used this Grey’s Anatomy medical terms and vocabulary EFL lesson plan with more than 100 classes and each class loved the show, learned a lot of vocabulary and practiced their listening skills (Grey’s Anatomy is also good for listening skills as they use a lot of idioms and slang in the show, which is very important for EFL/ESL students to know).
I’ve found it’s more suitable for intermediate and upper intermediate students though, as lower level students have too many problems understanding the vocabulary to really be able to figure out what’s going on.