Dieticians Course – Introduction

English course for Dieticians  –  Start of new course February 8, 2023

Course description

The idea for this course came up a few years ago out of the realization that some of the patients dieticians will encounter or meet might not speak German and that, therefore, a good foundation of English, focussing on ESP (English for Special Purposes) for dieticians, could be useful in order to be able to communicate and counsel speakers of other languages than German.

In addition, there are many resources (books, magazines and articles; internet, videos like TED talks and Netflix documentaries etc.) in English that dieticians can widely profit from.

My experience with this course over the years has shown that the range of English knowledge is very huge among the participants. Some are capable of fluent conversation, others would profit from a more basic course. It is a situation in which everyone has to have a certain level of patience and tolerance for things that might be too difficult or – on the other side of the continuum – too basic and maybe a bit boring.

Another drawback are the long breaks in between phases of meetings. Therefore it is important to get you on the way to doing things on your own – if you don’t already do that.

Topics in this course will range from anything around food and health, food and diet related diseases, socio-economic aspects of disease and nutrition, dietary concepts, dietary and culinary practises (e.g. history and cultural differences), aspects of patient-dietician communication. We will start with basic vocabulary (food and body related) and gradually move to more advanced vocabulary like body systems, for instance: digestive system, endocrinological system, cardiovascular system etc. We will, of course, not cover the whole range of what you learned during your three years training, especially not the more specific science related details (eg. biochemistry of metabolic processes and the like). However, in the English speaking world, there are several well-written books that go more deeply into aspects of food, nutrition and health, written for non-specialists and therefore highly accessible. The most-recent ones I have been reading are Why We Eat (too much) by Andrew Jenkinson, and The Pegan Diet by Maryk Hyman, both medical doctors. You will find more information on these book and others under Resources and Recommendations.

We will look at current dietary trends, the different concepts and philosophies behind them, and compare them with dietary knowledge as learned by dieticians. We will discuss disease related nutritional recommendations and talk about cooking – traditional and modern (and none at all).

We will read a selection of texts that I will provide, and use the internet as a resource.

In our first meeting(s), I would like to find out your individual English knowledge levels. I prepared the questionaire below for this purpose.

First meeting – Questionaire

MHH English Course for Dieticians               Name_________________________________________

  1. How many years have you learned English (in school or elsewhere)?
  2. Do you speak any other languages?
  3. What is your native language?
  4. Have you ever been to an English speaking country?
  5. Have you read any books in English? (e.g. in school, privately)
  6. Do you read any English magazines or newspapers (paper or online)?
  7. Have any of your studies as a dietician been in English?
  8. Have you watched or do you watch  English/American etc. films in the original?
  9. Do you have any favorite series (TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.)? If yes, do you watch any of them in the original?
  10. Are there any websites related to food, nutrition, and/or health on the internet that you can recommend?
  11. Have you ever heard of TED talks? If yes, have you watched any?
  12. Is there any specific area of the English language you feel you need to practice or review?
  13. What would you like to learn or do in this course?

If there is anything specific you would like to do, be it language related or topical, let me know. For instance, if you come across a text, a video or anything that catches your attention, let me know.