Low levels of English proficiency among Japanese physiotherapists pose serious barriers to implement evidence-based practice and think about their careers in global terms. This retrospective cohort study aimed to investigate the influences of a series of lectures regarding various physiotherapy topics conducted in English, on Japanese undergraduate physiotherapy students’ English vocabulary and international perspectives.
Twelve students from Tokyo University of Technology participated in a total of 60 lectures throughout 2 years. On a weekly basis, 90-minute physiotherapy lectures were conducted in English. Another 12 students who did not participate in lectures were randomly chosen and served as a control group. English vocabulary regarding physiotherapy was assessed through a word translation test. Furthermore, students’ subjective interests in learning English, studying and working abroad, awareness toward the importance of learning English and physiotherapy from foreign countries, and the level of physiotherapy in Japan compared with that in other countries were also evaluated using 11-point numerical rating scale.
English vocabulary scores were significantly higher in the experimental group (P < .01). The effect size was large (3.09). Interest levels in learning English, and studying and working abroad were significantly higher in the experimental group (P < .01). Effect sizes were large (1.89 and 1.11, respectively). However, levels of awareness toward the importance of learning English and physiotherapy from other countries and the level of physiotherapy in Japan were not significantly different between the two groups.
Discussion and Conclusions.
Two-year professional education in English may lead to benefits in English vocabulary related to physiotherapy and motivating students to think about their careers in global perspectives. Based on these findings, educational staff in Japanese physiotherapy schools are encouraged to consider to introduce professional education using English for undergraduate students.