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Psychosocial and cultural barriers to communication skills learning in a South East Asian medical school


Foong, ALS and Sow, CF, Psychosocial and cultural barriers to communication skills learning in a South East Asian medical school, Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 20, (4) pp. 152-163. ISSN 2158-3595 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2020 North American Business Press

DOI: doi:10.33423/jhetp.v20i4.2993


With continuing reports of poor communication skills, this study set out to explore reasons as to why medical undergraduates in a medical school should have difficulties with communication skills learning for competent professional practice of international standards. Volunteers were recruited from third year undergraduate medical students to participate in focus group interviews to provide feedback on their experiences with communication skills learning. Six different groups were set up before saturation point was reached, with each group comprising of between six to eight participants. Qualitative analysis of data by coding and categorization threw up a range of insights into the students' challenges with communication skills learning. Two primary areas explored comprised of barriers to communication skills learning and how lecturers could help students improve communication skills learning. The findings highlight participants' acknowledgement of the issue of communication skills to be a problem. They presented a range of insights into the psychosocial and cultural perspectives that were barriers to their learning. Various teaching and learning factors were highlighted as reasons for challenges to the learning of communication skills. They could serve as guidance for educators and education managers to take on board for enhancing communication skills learning and as indicators for further studies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:teaching, learning, medical students, communication skills, cultural, psychosocial, barriers
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Communication not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Foong, ALS (Dr Andrew Foong)
ID Code:141079
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2020-09-23
Last Modified:2020-10-19

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