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Home Ricerca News Ricerca Articolo: "Through the Looking-Glass: Reflections of/on empathy in healthcare interpreter education" Raffaela Merlini (2019)

Articolo: "Through the Looking-Glass: Reflections of/on empathy in healthcare interpreter education" Raffaela Merlini (2019)

Prof.ssa Raffaela Merlini

Prof.ssa Raffaela Merlini

The paper investigates empathic conduct in the context of healthcare interpreter education.
Drawing on the concepts of dispositional and interactional empathy, activity frames, roleplaying
vs. role-taking, and situated learning, the study attempts to answer four research
questions: How far does (un)empathic disposition correlate with (un)empathic behaviour
in simulated interaction? Does the didactic frame have an inhibiting effect on students’
expression of empathy? Can empathy be suitably developed in the classroom environment?
Is empathic responsivity a desirable educational goal for healthcare interpreters? A
research protocol was set up, and implemented on a sample of 15 postgraduate student
interpreters. It entailed the administration of a dispositional empathy test, the videorecording
of role-play data, and the collection of post-simulation feedback. The role-play
script was based on an authentic healthcare encounter addressing the highly sensitive issue
of elective abortion. The following are the key findings from the combined analysis of the
three data sets. No systematic correlation between the study subjects’ dispositional and
interactional empathy levels could be established. The influence of the didactic frame, albeit
undeniable, did not turn out to be a major obstacle to the subjects’ manifestation of
empathy. In the classroom environment, empathic skills can be acquired through the
combined use of a variety of tools, with reflective and interactive learning activities being
fundamental to unravel the complex interplay between rapport-building and other motives
for action. Empathic responsivity and, even more significantly, awareness of its effects on
interaction may be valuable learning achievements in healthcare interpreter education, as
they enable students to contribute to the provision of humane medical care while keeping
within the boundaries of professional ethics.

Cultus: the Journal of intercultural mediation and communication (ISSN: 2035 - 2948 e 2035 - 3111) is an international refereed journal focussing on the role of culture in constructing, perceiving and translating reality. The Journal aims to develop an awareness of the interplay between language and culture in communication, by investigating language, languages, cultural models, conflict, mediation and interculturality.

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