By | August 19, 2017

Facilitating Connection

By Natalie Becker

Beginning this fall semester, the foreign language department will be offering a new, honors Spanish class taught by Professor Jan Emberson. This class, Spanish for Healthcare Professions, fills a great need for the ACC community. This class has been specifically designed to give these medical students the vocabulary that they will need in order to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients in their native language.

Image by Dreux Carpenter
“It’s a fairly intimate relationship between medical professionals and their patients, and anything that can help make that connection deeper is worthwhile. That is one of the really lovely things about learning a second language. You get to know people on a different level than you would have otherwise. And, when it comes to medical services, being able to have your patient or client feel comfortable talking with you is a real plus for both practitioner and client What a wonderful service these ACC students can provide their patients with being able to speak directly to them in their native language, ” Emberson says.
Emberson fell in love with teaching when she was in graduate school for her masters and accepted the invitation to be a teacher’s assistant. Spanish linguistics has always been her specialty, and she is especially interested in the way that adults learn a second language; making her a perfect fit for the ACC community. When asked about her favorite part of the job, Emberson gushes about the teaching process both in constructing class materials and in the student/teacher relationship.
“I love that creative process of being with the students and being the facilitator. It’s so exciting to be able to be a part of their learning experience. I try to make the classroom as real as possible because it’s very important to me to give the students something that they can use outside the classroom. That’s why I’m so excited about the Spanish for Healthcare Professionals class in particular. It is an obvious applied purpose that is geared towards a certain use. To me, applied knowledge is what we’re after in the foreign language department. We want the students to be able to explore how they can use what they’re learning and why it is important to them,” she says.
Emberson is excited and enthusiastic about the development of this class and is creating her own original teaching materials; drawing from available text-sources as well as a variety of online media, like video clips, which she hopes to use to “bring the material off the page and make it come to life.”
She is especially focused on finding out what medical specialties her students are interested in and helping them formulate their own customized vocabulary so that they can get the most applicable knowledge from this class.
Spanish for Healthcare Professions has been extremely well received by the ACC community, filling up for the fall semester within the first weeks of July. Based on this reaction from students, Emberson predicts further growth in this area.
As she says, “because [the class] filled during the first part of July for the fall, other sections are being explored even now. There’s nothing definitive yet, but whatever the need is we are here to serve the students. If the students want it, I’ll do whatever I can to provide it.”

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