Rehabilitation English

Richard Caraker

Health Science University

14 March 2007

In 2006 Health Science University (HSU) in Yamanashi Prefecture began establishing a content-based English curriculum for the students in its departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy and social welfare/psychology. The English Department at HSU, working in close cooperation with specialists responsible for providing science and rehabilitation-based materials, is developing a series of textbooks, audio visual materials and dictionaries for the first-and second-year required English curriculum.

The curriculum for first-year English consists of one textbook for the three departments of physical therapy, occupational therapy and social welfare/psychology. Three specialized textbooks for second-year English will be used – one for each department.

Grading of Content

The content of the textbook for first-year required English is graded from lower difficulty in the beginning units to higher difficulty towards the end. In addition, the content progresses from less science oriented material in the initial units to more technical and major-specific content towards the end.

Unit 1 Introduction
  Lesson 1 Introducing Yourself 1
  Lesson 2 Introducing Your Major 4
  Lesson 3 Introducing Your Job 8
  Lesson 4 Everything Has Its Own Name -Helen Keller- 20

Unit 2 Our Body
  Lesson 1 28
  Lesson 2 32
  Lesson 3 35

Unit 3 Basic Medicine
  Lesson 1 Meet Your Muscle 37
  Lesson 2 Bones and Muscles 40
  Lesson 3 Blood (1) 45
  Lesson 4 Blood (2) 50

Unit 4 In The Doctor's Office
  Lesson 1 Medical History 54
  Lesson 2 Family History 58
  Lesson 3 Social History 62
  Lesson 4 Talking About Pain 68

Unit 5 Rehabilitation, Care, and Support
  Lesson 1 Alcoholism 73
  Lesson 2 Geriatrics 79
  Lesson 3 Physical Therapy 86


It was decided that all students should have a good knowledge of technical terms related to rehabilitation science. In addition, they should have knowledge of laypersons’ terminology as well as fundamental communication skills. The students practice medical interviewing, extracting information from case studies, and listening to interactions between rehabilitation specialists and care providers and their clients.

Textbook Development

The earlier sections of the textbook were written by the staff of the English Department. However, much of the textbook was developed using materials provided by specialists in occupational therapy, physical therapy, social welfare, anatomy and physiology. The original text from the specialists was translated into English, and then modified for teaching with various vocabulary, listening, and reading comprehension exercises.

Audio Visual Materials

Native English speakers specializing in rehabilitation and care will be invited to HSU. Their speeches will be videotaped, subtitles added, and made available to students both in and outside of the classroom.

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