Language Centre EMI

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English-medium instruction
at a Dutch university:
What have we learned from a quarter of a
century of experience?
Robert Wilkinson
Maastricht University,
Netherlands
EMI at a Dutch university: overview
• Evaluating 25 years of experience
– EMI perspectives and phases
– EMI and domain loss (national vs. local)
– Curriculum & course design
– Teaching quality
– Collaboration
– Conclusions
Language Centre
EMI: perspectives
• Globalization & demographics
• Domain loss
• Trading practices in HE
Language Centre
Evaluating: phases of EMI
Cross-border European1987
ization
1991
GlobalizConsolidation ation
1995
2002
Monetization
2007
Motivations
recruitment
(internat. &
exch.
students)
Practical
geography
Idealist
multilingualism
Educational
new
new
programmes programmes
Survival
Financial
Language Centre
home
market
(small/
saturated)
recruitment recruitment
(student
(money)
expertise)
international.at-home
new
programmes
profile
(bilingual)
cost of biling.
options
profile
(internat.)
profile
(rankings)
recruitment
(bring in
money)
Domain loss
• EMI → domain loss for L1 (e.g.
Ammon, 2008; Brock-Utne, 2007;
Phillipson, 2003; etc.)
• EMI: prestige functions of social
communication
• Spread to other social spheres (e.g.
Janssens & Marynissen, 2005)
• Reduced creativity in L1
Language Centre
Domain loss
• Favourable treatment of
English/inequitable treatment of L1
(e.g. Brock-Utne, 2007; van Parijs,
2004)
• Employability issues: can EMI
graduates function in L1? (e.g. Melis,
2010)
Language Centre
Domain loss
• Arises because of hegemony of nationstate (e.g. Brutt-Griffler, 2008)
• Nation-states promote advance of
English (foreign language teaching in
schools) (e.g. Grin, 2002)
• National vs. individual institution
Language Centre
An individual Dutch university: EMI
•
•
•
•
•
•
Attractiveness to students
Strengthening of revenue stream
Widening recruitment pool
Success breeds success
Recognition
Students: positioning themselves for job
market
• Students: quality of programme & teaching
Language Centre
Curriculum & course design
• Course design:
– rationale/philosophy, learning goals, content
selection, teaching/learning methods, learner
factors (e.g. motivation), learning context
• Content selection:
– Is programme new or conversion from L1
programme? (EPH or Economics)
– Are disciplines nationally culturally determined or
relatively independent of national culture?
(ES or KE)
Language Centre
Curriculum & course design: EMI
• Broad themes
• In-depth study for student
• No explicit demand to seek material
other than in English
• General theories, principles
• General applications irrespective of
national context
• Narrow depth vs. shallow breadth
Language Centre
Teaching quality: EMI
• Lecturing puts onus on teaching staff
– Pronunciation
– Lack of clarity
– Linguistic flexibility, nuances
– Spontaneous exemplification
– (e.g. Vinke, 1995, 2010; Klaassen, 2001)
• Language: no long-term effect on
learning
Language Centre
Teaching quality: EMI
• Student-centred learning, e.g. PBL
– Emphasis on students’ responsibility for
own learning
• Plan learning, determine interaction, research
& assess own learning
– Active language use
– Lessens reliance of staff language ability
– Development vs. stabilization or
fossilization
Language Centre
Collaboration between content & EAP staff
• Expectations
– Students: quality of content, content
knowledge & language development
– Content staff: stimulate learning of
subject matter; not develop language
ability
Language Centre
Collaboration between content & EAP staff
• EAP staff: monitor, support, instruct
– Academic literacies (esp. writing)
– Language enhancement
– Knowledge of content curriculum
(knowledge structure)
– Team-teaching → parallel/adjunct teaching
Language Centre
Quality: EMI
• EMI: initial negative effect on understanding, no
long-term effect
• No effect on learning outcomes
• Signs of positive effect on learning process
• Slight negative effect on teachers’ teaching, no
relation with student outcomes
• Time-consuming and tiring on teaching staff
• Quality of students’ English related to amount of
time in English
• Minor pronunciation problems can lead to strong
negative reactions from students
• (Vinke, 2010; de Bot, 2011)
Language Centre
Conclusions
• EMI – positive outcomes if well
designed
• EMI – economic benefits to institution
and to student (e.g. Grin, 2002; van
Parijs, 2004)
• English as commodity
• Differentiation need will grow
Language Centre
Conclusions
• EMI at national level
– Domain loss or domain adaptation
– Funding issues: taxpayer revolt?
– Need for full economic analysis
• Political/social level
– Risk of social division – elite (haves/havenots)
– Ghettoization
Language Centre
Thank you
• Robert Wilkinson
• [email protected]
Advance information
Planned ICLHE conference
(Integrating Content & Language in Higher Education)
Maastricht, April 2013
[email protected]
Language Centre
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