K.K. Luke


Dr. Luke is a Professor of Linguistics and Chair of the School of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Prior to joining NTU in 2009 he was Professor at the University of Hong Kong and Head of the Department of Linguistics. K.K. is Co-Editor of Chinese Language and Discourse: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal and an editorial board member of several professional journals and book series. He is also a recipient of the Outstanding Researcher Award at the University of Hong Kong (2008). Recently, he has taken an interest in Interactional Linguistics, focusing his analytic attention on talk and social interaction and exploring the interface between talk, cognition and interaction.


Learning Empathy through Authentic Interactions: A Clinical Communication Module for Medical Students in Singapore

Simulation training, widely used in medical education to enable students to learn a range of clinical communication skills, has shown to be pedagogically effective in leading to enhanced patient engagement. Taking a step further, video-recording these interactions have opened up a window of opportunity for repeated reviewing and in-depth learning. In a medical education research project on the potential and uses of simulation training, a set of video recordings was collected, transcribed and analysed with the aim of providing an evidence base to better serve Clinical Communication modules for medical students in a university in Singapore.

The method employed in our investigation, Conversation Analysis (CA), offers a powerful qualitative toolkit that allows for fine-grained details in interaction to be brought into sharp relief. In closely studying recordings of these authentic consultations, we were struck by the richness of the data and its tremendous potential for self-reflection on the part of the learners, as well as potential for the emergence of learning issues through Q&A and group discussions during the feedback session.

In this paper, we focus on the possibility of displaying empathy at critical moments during clinical consultations. We explore the possibility of exploiting the rich potential of the video data to help students sharpen their readiness to respond appropriately to co-participants’ concerns, at moments where such responses are ‘due’, and learn how to navigate between demonstrating empathy and transferring knowledge more effectively. Suggestions will be made towards the end of the presentation as to how video-recordings of authentic everyday conversations can be collected on a smaller scale and used as materials for second and foreign language learning.

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