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Empathy development through ESP: a Pilot Study

Anna O. Stebletsova, Irina Ivanovna Torubarova


The paper is devoted to ethical awareness which has become one of the main concerns in medical education and healthcare nowadays. The paper discusses empathy development in medical students as a significant element of their professional training. It is reported that empathy should be implemented in the academic curriculum of medical schools and universities as a part of a multidisciplinary approach. The authors argue that empathy could be developed in a foreign language classroom. They illustrate their statement by providing real class examples in which empathy-developing content is incorporated in English for specific purposes (ESP) for medical students. The students’ empathy level was measured at the beginning and at the end of the course with a balanced emotional empathy scale (BEES) questionnaire. The analysis of the results of the comparative assessment indicate positive dynamics of empathy levels in the medical students tested, after the course was completed. The authors conclude that ESP can be effective in supporting and improving the required empathy levels of future healthcare workers to help them to deliver their humanitarian services successfully.


Balanced Emotional Empathy Scale (BEES) Questionnaire; Empathy development; ESP (English for Specific Purposes); Medical students; Professional training

Full Text:



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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ecps-2017-016-steb

Copyright (©) 2017 Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS Journal) – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Associate Executive Editor & Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi 

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