Educational Card Games: One Way of Assisting the Communication Skills Development of Nursing Students Whose First Language is Not English

Jonathan Marquez, Joy C Penman
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 20  •  2023  •  pp. 171-184
Aim/Purpose.
This study seeks to determine the impact of a card game intervention in improving the English verbal communication of nursing students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Background.
Many international students studying in Australia experience setbacks in their university studies due to English language difficulties. This paper outlines how an educational card game designed can be played by nursing students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds as an intervention for their English verbal communication development.

Methodology.
The study used a descriptive qualitative approach to analyse the learning experiences of forty-five (N=45) nursing students from CALD backgrounds undertaking their second semester at a metropolitan university in Victoria, Australia after being introduced to an educational card game developed by the first author. The card game was designed to explore the use of English pragmatic markers, which are words, phrases, or verbal cues that signal or emphasise the intentions of the speaker.

Following the intervention, participants were queried in a survey about their experiences with English language speaking and how the game improved their verbal communication skills.

Contribution.
This paper provides knowledge about how a game can be designed to enhance the English verbal communication skills of nursing students from CALD backgrounds which could help them in their clinical placements and their adjustment into Australian society.

Findings.
Three intertwining themes that emerged from the data analysis were education content, skills development, and fun and creativity. These themes signify the importance of providing opportunities for learners to creatively practise the educational content in simulative contextualised situations within a safe, comfortable, and inclusive learning environment.

Recommendations for Practitioners.
Educators still need to consider the importance of inclusivity of students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds as part of successful integration into the culture of their host countries.

Recommendations for Researchers.
The findings emphasise the need for educators and researchers to understand the challenges facing these students in relation to marginalisation and discrimination and how they can design an intervention that is engaging and inclusive.

Impact on Society.
The findings also put forward the awareness of pragmatics as part of both English language learning and integration into the society of a host country as students learn how to express intention appropriately in various interactions. Furthermore, the themes presented in this paper suggest that not only should an educational game or an intervention contain relevant educational content and practical activities for skills development, but they must also be enjoyable by encouraging creativity and social interaction.

Future Research.
The results of this study also open possible future studies that involves the adaptation of a digital version of the card game or possible implementation of the game in other health professional programs in universities and other educational institutes.
card game, nursing, English language learning, ESL, Verbal communication skills
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