English Medium Instruction as a Tool of
Internationalization in Higher Education
Ernesto Macaro
University of Oxford: Department of
Education
1
Overview
• What should be the ‘approach’ with regard to
EMI in HE? (Implementation <->Research)
• What are the methodological challenges
presented by EMI research ?
• Some initial findings from a survey of 54
countries
• A research agenda for EMI Oxford
2
Aims of EMI policy in Universities
• To internationalise universities?
• To facilitate learning of subjects by home
students?
• A way of ensuring that home students can
compete in a world market?
• To build/improve English language capacity of
home country?
Are these aims shared by all participants?
3
Aims of EMI policy in universities
• A new multilingual and multicultural tool for
developing intercultural communication?
• Authentic language learning?
• A way of forcing change in HE pedagogy?
Are these aims shared by all participants?
4
EMI Oxford: End-user research-driven approach to EMI
English Medium Instruction
Evolution
University students
University faculty
Policy makers
School students
Secondary school teachers
Parents
Employers
RESEARCH EVIDENCE
5
Phase 1 of project
Aims:
• To map the current situation
• To identify future trends
• Phase 2: online questionnaire investigating
lecturer/teacher attitudes to EMI in their subject
• Phase 3: in depth analysis of smaller number of
countries: Turkey; Italy; Austria
7
Phase 1 Method
• Open ended (essentially qualitative)
questionnaire
• Sent to British Council staff in 60 countries
worldwide
• Primary analysis of data
• Follow up request to plug gaps
• Secondary analysis of data: attempt to quantify
• Caveat: Reliability of data
8
The Field: Public vs. Public Education
Percentage of public vs. private universities
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
Private univer
30%
Public univers
20%
10%
0%
Countries and regions (n=36)
9
Pakistan
Indonesia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hungary
Venezuela
Bahrain
United States
Argentina
Italy
Ghana
Bulgaria
Taiwan
Japan
Germany
Mainland China
Kazakhstan
Qatar
Cyprus
Saudi Arabia
Croatia
Greece
Hong Kong
Czech Republic
Afghanistan
Macedonia
South Africa
Serbia
Vietnam
Netherlands
Sri Lanka
Azerbaijan
Malaysia
The Field: Public vs. Public Education
Percentage of public vs. private secondary schools
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
private secondary schools
20%
public secondary schools
10%
0%
Countries and regions (n=32)
10
In ‘your country’, is EMI officially ‘allowed’ in public sector?
Primary
Education
Allowed
Not allowed
n
percent
29
21
52.7
38.2
Secondary
Education
Allowed
Not allowed
Universities
Allowed
Not allowed
n
43
10
n
percent
39
13
70.9
23.6
percent
78.2
18.2
11
Do official policies or statements on EMI exist?
Not known
Yes
No
13
Policy Changes in Past 10 Years?
Not known
No
Yes
14
General trend in each country
Not known
Mixed
Same
Less
More
15
Examples of “Mixed Trends”
Argentina
Azerbaijan
Israel
Turkey
“More, there is a trend towards increasing EMI at primary
and secondary levels. State schools have mostly stayed
away from it, despite some talks of including EMI in
Buenos Aires.”
“Public primary: less; public secondary: the same; public
HE: more. Private primary, secondary and HE: more. “
“More, universities want to teach more in English. Schools
are not moving in this direction.”
“In HEIs, more. In state schools has become less with the
abolishment of an initial year of EMI in the elite state
Anadolu High Schools. The stated reason for abolishing EMI
here is that pupils were performing poorly in science and
mathematics.”
16
Official backing for ‘trends’
• Croatia: “In the context of the Bologna Process
and increased international mobility as one of its
priorities, the Ministry [has] Action Plan for the
removal of obstacles and strengthening of the
international mobility in education … including
the increase in the number of study programmes
offered in foreign languages”
17
Official backing for ‘trends’
• Uzbekistan: “The presidential decree of 2012
encourages English to be taught, spoken, and
used for business communication at all levels
and at any institution of Uzbekistan be it
journalism, economics or staff of a ministry.”
18
Equivocal official backing
• Hungary: “Government recognises the
efficiency of EMI programmes, ….however, it
claims that EMI affects only a small number
of learners (equal opportunities), and it is
costly to operate (exams, qualified teachers
including native speaker teachers, and
materials and textbooks). New government’s
quality assurance measures might even lessen
the number of currently run programmes.”
19
Public Opinion on EMI
Not known
In favour
Controversial
A
21
Reasons for public opinion to be in favour
In favour
Globalization
Modernization
Social
elite
Status of
English
Diverse
linguistic
needs
Employment
/ Education
market
Attitudes of
parents
22
Reasons why public opinion is divided
Controversial /
Against
Political
reasons
Equality /
Freedom
of study
Poor
comprehension
Demanding
to learn
many
languages
Incompetent
teachers /
generation
gap among
teachers
Lack of
policies
Protecting
national
languages /
cultures
23
Are there enough qualified teachers to teach EMI?
Not known
Yes
No
24
Are there any written guidelines specifying how to
teach in EMI?
Not known
Yes
No
25
Are there any written guidelines that specify Englishonly or permit/encourage codeswitching?
Not known
Yes
No
26
Any stated expectation of language proficiency to
qualify as EMI teachers ?
Not known
Yes
No
30
Is there any provision for EMI on ITE?
Not known
Yes for both
public and
private
Yes for private
only
No
Is there any provision for EMI on TPD?
Not known
Yes for both
public and
private
No
Yes for private
only
31
Initial conclusions from Phase 1
• Long way from a ‘global’ definition (and
consensus!) of EMI and its purposes or
objectives
• Need: a research-driven process approach
which consults stake-holders
• Introduction of EMI in tertiary is opportunistic
& instrumental: effect on secondary
32
Initial conclusions from Phase 1
• Trend is towards much more EMI
• There is official backing but with some
‘interesting’ exceptions
• Public opinion not wholehearted support:
‘controversial’ rather than ‘against’
• Concerns relate to: lack of qualified teachers; no
stated expectations of English language
proficiency; lack of structural or pedagogical
guidelines; little EMI content in ITE and TPD
courses
33
EMI Oxford
Research Agenda
• What is the current and predicted uptake of EMI
globally?
• Who or what is driving EMI implementation?
• What are the different forms of EMI currently being
developed?
• What kind of English? Who owns the language?
• What are the implications for teacher education,
teacher educators and materials developers?
• What are the most sustainable mechanisms of teacher
education and development beyond the immediate
period of engagement on a course?
35
EMI Oxford
Research Agenda
• What levels of English competence enable EMI
teachers to provide quality instruction?
• How would we measure the success of an EMI
programme? Is the learning of academic subjects
improved by EMI? Will it lead to deeper
understanding? If so by which groups of
students?
• To what extent do language assessment systems
need to change (for teachers & students)?
Validity of bilingual examinations?
36
EMI Oxford
Research Agenda
• How does classroom interaction change as
the medium of instruction changes?
• What are the psycholinguistic representations
in the mental lexicon of abstract concepts
encountered in academic subjects through
EMI?
• Do abstract concepts result in restructuring of
a developing bilingual lexicon?
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EMI Oxford
Research Agenda
• What strategies are used by students in EMI
classrooms in oral and written comprehension
tasks?
• What are the psycholinguistic and
sociolinguistic effects on students’ home
language resulting from EMI used in various
phases of education?
39
Thank you for listening!
EMI Oxford
Centre for Research and Development on English as Medium of Instruction
Department of Education
University of Oxford
For further information and particularly if you can help us publicise the
online questionnaire contact: [email protected]
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Researching a Global Phenomenon