EMI lecturers' beliefs against language education policy: the EMI lecturers' gate-opener profile in English language teaching
Guzman Mancho-Barésa and Marta Aguilar-Pérezb
a University of Lleida firstname.lastname@example.org, b Polytechnic University of Catalonia email@example.com
There are tensions in the implementation of EMI in non-English speaking countries for lecturers, one of which is that EMI lecturers underscore their own medium-to-low English proficiency impacting largely on their academic oral fluency (Airey, 2016). Against this backdrop, we aim to explore how language teaching/learning within the context of EMI is discursively construed in language education policy (LEP) at a public university in Catalonia (Spain) and in lecturers’ viewpoints on EMI.
The study follows Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) for language policy (Moore & Wiley, 2015). Data come from two LEP documents issued by the university; from field notes taken from four lectures given by EMI lecturers during a conference held at the university; and from a questionnaire administered to the same lecturers (CEFRL =C1).
In the LEP documentation, language teaching/learning within EMI is construed in terms of gradual implementation of EMI at undergraduate level, the offer of EMI teacher training support, and the need to provide (unspecified) resources to learn languages.
Lecturers’ viewpoints on EMI are compared to the three LEP themes. Firstly, students’ insufficient English competence is seen to hinder the gradual implementation of EMI, even if lecturers still align themselves with the objective of progressive implementation. Secondly, although lecturers welcome EMI training initiatives, they critizise the lack of post-training institutional support. Thirdly, EMI lecturers overtly refuse the role of language teachers, while covertly identifying themselves as human resources for the development of their students’ competence in disciplinary English.
In all, LEP is experienced by EMI lecturers in two different ways: lecturers' main conflicting point with LEP derives from their students’ insufficient English competence leading into their inability to follow EMI courses. However, lecturers overcome such conflict by revealing a profile of a lecturer that provides exposure to English and opportunities for using disciplinary English to their students. Hence, lecturers are profiled as gate-openers because they grant access to the development of professional English. Facing this situation, further instruction in disciplinary English for students and sustainable pedagogic support for in-service lecturers are desirable.
This paper contributes to the study of the impact of academic mobility on the development of students’ intercultural competence (IC). Following Byram, IC is seen as comprising the three components of knowledge, behaviour and attitude. The study adopts a mixed-methods approach, analysing the results of a quantitative pre-stay post-stay survey administered to 110 students from 2 universities in Catalonia (Spain), as well as one student’s discursive construction of this impact during her study abroad (SA). The analysis explores the potential complementarity of the two perspectives. Findings show that for this group of students, SA of between 5 and 10 months had a stronger impact on the knowledge component of IC than on the behaviour and attitude components. The analysis of an individual student’s experiential narratives is used to shed light on the challenge of personal ‘change’ in adapting to the ‘difference’ of the SA context.
Following the Interpretative Policy Analysis approach (Moore & Wiley, 2015), this preliminary study seeks to examine the language policies (LP) that Lleida university has recently implemented to promote EMI. In particular, we analyse how the meanings underlying language policy affect policy enactors (EMI lecturers) as well as their opinions in order to identify points of conflict.
This chapter aims to unravel the complex array of academic events, called seminars, drawing on the literature and research carried out in the past decades. As seminar tends to be an umbrella term encompassing different realities, two main strands of research are identified. In fact, two different genres can be said to exist even though they are both academic and research-process genres (Swales 1990, 2004; Weissberg 1993). The first is strictly speaking a pedagogic genre that mainly involves small-group interactive teaching and discussion; other labels (e.g. tutorials, colloquia) are sometimes used in different universities. This seminar is usually known as graduate/postgraduate seminar in US universities, while a common type of seminar in the UK is the student-led seminar, in which one or several students are asked to prepare and lead a seminar on a topic they have been studying or researching. In turns, the students share the role of leader. Thus, seminars are used to further disciplinary acculturation of graduate students and they tend to be culminating tasks of courses, providing student speakers with the opportunity to explain and discuss their scholarly work. This type of seminar has been researched from diverse approaches (CA, ethnography, sociolinguistics, genre analysis, etc.) and perspectives: degree of planned /unplanned speech, rhetorical structure, use of metadiscourse and signposting expressions, type of register, tone and formality adopted or as a site of competition for the floor. Among factors affecting oral participation and quantity/quality of participation we find proficiency, cultural and educational background, identity, previous reading, discussion strategies in peer-to-peer interaction, or supportive behaviour participants roles that help participants work collegially when co-constructing knowledge. The other type of seminar is an expert-to-expert extended monologue where an invited speaker informally disseminates his/her research, usually at another university. The speaker addresses a small audience made up of teaching and research staff and doctoral students on a topic he has recently researched or is researching. This second type is a hybrid (Aguilar 2004, 2008), research-process genre (Swales 2004) sharing features with other spoken genres in Dubois’ continuum (1987), like conference presentations, colloquia or local meetings, but also sharing some features with lectures. These seminars tend to occur in an intermediary stage prior to the published journal article, thus providing us with some insight into the developmental process of science, an instance of Bazerman’s informal dissemination of science (1983). Finally, some under-researched topics are going to be pointed to, such as online seminars and expert-to-expert seminars in general.
The present study aims to shed some light on how engineering lecturers teaching in English at a Spanish university view their work (teaching goals) within the current European internationalisation trend of offering courses and master programmes in English. A questionnaire where content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and English-medium instruction (EMI) were differentiated and with questions on their self-attributed duties, training preferences, assessment and internationalisation issues, among others, was prepared. The 41 lecturers who participated were asked to identify the modality they were following and their views related to the key factors in their courses. Findings point to the fact that EMI is the modality they follow and that they do not want to shift to CLIL because they refuse to teach language. To gain qualitative information about their beliefs, six lecturers were later interviewed. These interviews suggested that lecturers attach no importance to language integration. More specifically, they do not usually reflect on their lecturing, they welcome the idea of distinguishing both modalities in higher education (HE), they regard English proficiency as a key factor for all stakeholders and finally they think CLIL better suits less proficient students in HE.
Universities in Catalonia are committed to internationalization, which mainly focuses on student mobility and the use of an international language (mostly English) as the language of instruction. Within the international dimension we find that the concept of Internationalization at Home (IaH) merits special attention, in the sense that it is a way of providing an international experience for those students (the great majority) who do not take part in mobility programs. Within IaH, this study looks at specific courses that promote internationalization, whether because they include international/intercultural contents or because they incorporate the foreign language either as the medium of instruction (i.e. in some way involving the integration content and language, CLIL) or as a tool for international communication (namely languages for specific purposes, LSP). Specifically, this study analyzes the websites and public curriculum/course descriptions for ten different bachelor’s degrees across seven public Catalan universities, identifying those courses that can be classified as IaH according to the criteria above. Regarding intercultural/international content, degree/course descriptions are analyzed to identify the presence (and prominence) of such international topics. CLIL courses are classified, following Greere and Räsänen (2008), in terms of percentage of foreign language use (namely those with less than 25% of foreign language use, as opposed to those with 25% or more of foreign language use). The analysis of the presence and status of LSP courses also sheds light on the international dimension of the curriculum, inasmuch those courses are intended to develop students’ competence in international academic and professional communication. The results of this study, combining information from different types of courses across ten different degrees and universities, can provide a picture of how Catalan universities approach IaH within their curriculum design and whether international policies that are usually enthusiastically embraced by institutions are clearly reflected in actual curricula.
Tagging CLIL and EMI in higher education: surveying Spanish engineering academics
Marta Aguilar (UPC)
The present study aims to shed some light on how engineering academics lecturing in English in some Spanish universities define and view their work (teaching goals, learning objectives) within the current internationalisation trend of offering masters programmes in English. Inconclusive, even contradictory, results in research on CLIL have recently been pointed to, the use of heterogeneous, non-comparable methodological measures in CLIL research being the most probable reason (Ruiz de Zarobe 2013). Maybe because in much research on higher education, CLIL and EMI tend to be used indistinctively (Smit and Dafouz 2012), in this work I posit that it may be advantageous to tell them apart so that stakeholders in higher education know about the two modalities and their pedagogical implications and duties, so that lecturers and students are informed when choosing the focus of the course. After reading a brief definition of CLIL and EMI, 41 engineering academics from three Catalan universities were asked to answer a survey, where they had to identify the modality they were following. Most (97.5 %) engineering academics in the study state that EMI is the modality they, their faculty and their university are following. 71.1 % of them feel at ease with their choice and do not want to shift to CLIL and 21% is either uncertain or does not discard changing to CLIL. They only seem to have different (or not yet formed) opinions when asked if they believe that a lecturer following EMI should receive training adapted to the modality and they are uncertain about the relationship between student low English proficiency and failure to succeed in their course. Finally, they believe specific teacher training is necessary in both foci but significantly more necessary for CLIL lecturers. To gain qualitative and more insightful information, a few lecturers were later interviewed. Most of them would like to have been informed about the two foci before and one third seem quire uncertain about their actual role as academics lecturing in English.
Key words: Higher Education (HE); CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning); EMI (English Medium Instruction); theory of practice.
Y. Ruiz de Zarobe (2013). CLIL implementation: from policy-makers to individual initiatives. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 16:3, p. 231-243.
U. Smit and E. Dafouz (2012). Integrating content and language in higher education. An introduction to English-medium policies, conceptual issues and research practices across Europe. AILA review 25, p.1-12.
Students’ views on their language development in three higher education contexts.
Internationalisation in higher education is mushrooming in Europe (Wächter and Maiworm 2008) and in Spain. The internationalisation drive was initially fuelled by Eurydice’s multilingual Europe objective and the reported beneficial impacts of intensive exposure to the foreign language through content teaching in front of more thinly spread foreign language formal education (Dalton Puffer et al. 2010; Lasagabaster & Ruiz de Zarobe 2010; Ruiz de Zarobe et al 2011; Ruiz de Zarobe 2013; Aguilar & Rodríguez 2012; Muñoz 2012; Aguilar and Muñoz 2013). In higher education, internationalisation is also promoted by mobility, qualification recognition within the new European Higher Education framework and by income-generation needs (Smit & Dafouz 2012; Lasagabaster et al 2013). This work arises from a new reality in a Spanish technical university where both English for Specific Purposes and English for Academic Purposes existence is questioned in a period of expenditure cuts because Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) courses and English-Medium Instruction (EMI) courses may not be regarded as an English teaching offer additional to ESP courses but as an “instead of” option. Following Greere and Räsänen’s (2008: 6) classification of five modalities of foreign language teaching in higher education, we find ESP courses given by language specialists with clearly defined language learning outcomes. Halfway through their classification we find courses given by content teachers through or in the English medium. In this English-medium type of instruction, content teachers do not have any specified English language teaching goals, nor do they assess students’ English competence. Greere and Räsänen (2008) distinguish Pre-CLIL and Adjunct-CLIL varieties depending on the exposure and on whether content and language specialists coordinate. At the other extreme is CLIL proper, courses with a fully dual integration of language across content teaching. This study is placed in a context with ESP, Pre-CLIL (here EMI, for short) and Adjunct-CLIL (here CLIL, for short) courses existing together in the same technical university.
More specifically, this study reports on engineering students’ views on their own language development according to the type of instructional context. Three courses (ESP, EMI and CLIL) were chosen and on their completion students were asked to write about their history as English language learners. A quantitative and a qualitative analysis reflects students show a similar external motivation to study English for their professional life and because they want to work and live abroad. They also deploy some similarities in terms of their past history and the importance of a study/work abroad experience as a turning point in their life. Yet, the way they self-define themselves as language learners, their feelings of being strong-willed autonomous learners and their satisfaction and self-perceived gains after completing the course differ considerably. These differences help us gain further insight into this newly internationalised Spanish university landscape and partly help us identify the different kinds of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation the three contexts seem to entail. This work belongs to a larger study where the development of students’ written competence after completion of the course is also analysed and compared.
Catalan universities are committed to internationalization, as evidenced by the publication of their internationalization policy documents. Taking curricular internationalization as one of the university internationalization dimensions (Wätcher, 2008), it is observable that Catalan universities have implemented curricular internationalization processes, ranging from the selection of competences dealing with foreign language command in the syllabi, to the implementation of these competences through subjects taught through the medium of English. Building on previous research (Mancho-Barés 2012), this paper examines tensions but also good practices within the curriculum internationalization of seven public Catalan universities. Our data come from the public webpages of the degrees and the subjects offered in the last academic year (2011-12). A quantitative analysis is carried out in order to identify competences in foreign language (FL) command from ten degrees in seven universities; and to classify subjects taught through the FL, according to Dalton-Puffer et al.’s (2010) definition of EMI and ICL/CLIL
Preliminary results show that 45% of the degrees includeS the FL competence in the syllabus and wordS it in terms of English communicative competence or practice of specialised discourse. Moreover, 39% of the degrees examined include subjects which have English as the language of tuition. However, only 5.4% of these subjects qualify as ICL/CLIL subjects, as the course objectives and content explicitly include the language component of ICL/CLIL. With these low numbers, little can be done to help students attain FL competence. Consequently, universities should try to raise these numbers, for example by fostering onsite teacher training programs.
This paper reports on a follow-up study of a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) pilot experience with bilingual postgraduate engineering students at a Spanish university. It aimed at examining learners' gains in listening and grammar skills after a CLIL course in English for a semester, in particular whether students' listening and grammar skills were affected similarly and whether participants' proficiency level played a role. Paired-sampled t-tests showed the difference between the mean scores in the pre-and post-listening test was significant but it was not for the pre-and post grammar tests. When students were distributed into three groups on the basis of their pre-test scores, a repeated measures ANOVA showed that less proficient students obtained higher gains in listening and grammar skills than more proficient students.
This study reports on a CLIL implementation process at a technical university that started four years ago. More specifically, it focuses on engineering lecturers’ response to CLIL, namely their reluctance to receive CLIL methodological training, and suggests policies to cope with this reluctance.
Aguilar Perez, Marta.; Rodriguez-Montanes, R. International journal of bilingual education and bilingualism Vol. 15, num. 2-3, p. 183-197 DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2011.615906 Data de publicació: 2011 Article en revista
This study reports on a pilot implementation of Content and Language
Integrated Learning (CLIL) at a Spanish university. In order to find out how
both lecturers and students perceived their experience, several interviews and
meetings took place with lecturers, and an open-ended questionnaire was passed
to students. The meetings and interviews with lecturers yielded important
information about their satisfaction. It was found out that lecturers were mostly
interested in practising and improving their English spoken fluency, they did not
feel that the quality of their teaching had been sacrificed, they had not included
any question on language learning in their assessment and they showed great
reluctance to receiving any CLIL methodological training. As to students’
reactions, analysis of their questionnaires revealed that most of them found the
experience positive. Their self-reported perceived gains unanimously point to the
specialised vocabulary they have learnt and, in the second place, to an
improvement of their listening and speaking skills. The most outstanding negative
aspect they found is lecturers’ insufficient level of English. CLIL training specially
adapted to university teachers is necessary so that lecturers can overcome their
reluctance to a methodological training and thereby the potential of CLIL is
Arjona, F.; Frauca, I.; Calvet, T.; Aguilar Perez, Marta.; Cuevas, M.; Métivaud, V.; Mondieig, D.; Tamarit, J. Ll. Journées d'Études des Équilibres entre Phases p. 148-149 Presentació treball a congrés