Introduction

We would like you to think about working with adults learning English as an opportunity to strengthen your communication skills in all areas of your practice. The initial approach we provide works with a group of adults learning English as well as hospital patients with limited understand of written or spoken words. As you use the initial approach, the adults you engage will be improving their ability to make healthy decisions.

The initial approach uses simple words, short sentences, moderate pacing of words, a normal tone of voice, and pauses after you ask and respond to a question. This approach allows you and the adult learners to gauge your understanding of each other. If they respond by words or body language that they understand what you said, you can gradually increase the length of the sentences and your speed of delivery. Alternately, if you observe lack of understanding, reduce, reword, or demonstrate the question.

This calm, gentle approach will help people relax and listen to what you are asking. Being calm is especially important in medical situations when you need to obtain required information.

Simply put, take time to deliver your message, observe the reaction, and reply according to their reaction. The approach engages people because it demonstrates that you are prepared to listen to them. If you feel that you are not connecting with adults with limited English at some point, sit back, relax, smile, and think about a simpler way of saying or demonstrating what you want. People appreciate you taking the time to connect with them. The initial approach is also discussed later in this guide.

This guide builds on the initial approach.

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