Curriculum development research on nursing English in Taiwan has tended to end at needs analysis, offering little guidance on how to design and implement a course. Our objective was to examine how a course on workplace communication in English for nursing students in Taiwan would emerge in the classroom if teachers and students collaboratively generated language needs analysis and a syllabus of communicative performances. An action research approach was used to guide and document the teaching/learning and research process, and content analysis was used to examine and thematize the data. The research setting was an elective, one-semester nursing English course for students in a Bachelor of Science in nursing program in Taiwan. The participants were 16 third-year students whose first language is Mandarin Chinese, during their first semester of nursing practicum courses. Four types of interactional language (empirical, existential, transactional, discussion) and eight learning strategies emerged during weekly performance development. This study provides an innovative approach to course development in nursing English for foreign and second language users. Collaboratively developing an emergent syllabus of communicative performances in an action research framework can be a productive way to build an English health communication repertoire that is engaging, memorable, and adaptable.
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