Uncovering English-Medium Instruction

Glocal Issues in Higher Education

by Branka Drljača Margić (Author) Irena Vodopija-Krstanović (Author)
Monographs X, 142 Pages


English-medium instruction (EMI) is a complex educational innovation and a prerequisite for active participation in the process of internationalizing academia. Given its impact on today’s universities, it is crucial that EMI should be effectively and responsibly implemented.
This book draws on a range of theoretical and empirical insights to explore the implications of EMI for stakeholders and describe the measures that should be taken to capitalize on its strengths and respond to its challenges. Using questionnaires, interviews and classroom observation, the authors investigate two academic communities – one that has undertaken instruction in English and one that has not – to weave together teacher and student attitudes, experiences, expectations and needs, along with comparative findings from classroom practice in Croatian and English.
By analysing EMI in a local academic context against the backdrop of the global higher education landscape, this book offers a glocal perspective and opens up new avenues for reflection and action that will be relevant to
educational institutions undergoing change.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter 1: Staking the EMI territory
  • Chapter 2: Reasons for introducing EMI and the ensuing challenges for universities
  • Chapter 3: An EMI project in the Croatian higher education context
  • Chapter 4: Exploring attitudes, experiences and practices
  • Chapter 5: Outsiders’ perspectives on EMI
  • Chapter 6: Taking stock of EMI (in the Croatian context)
  • Chapter 7: Insights into EMI in practice
  • Chapter 8: Interpreting the data and painting a bigger picture
  • Chapter 9: Final considerations and future implications
  • Bibliography
  • Index

← viii | ix →


We would like to extend our profound gratitude to the students, teachers and institutions that graciously agreed to be part of this project, especially to the teachers who opened their classrooms for observation.

Our sincere thanks also go to Dr Robert Wilkinson and Professor Josep Maria Cots for their support of this book.

We are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers at Peter Lang for their insightful comments, to Christabel Scaife for her help with publishing matters, and to Dr James J. Kimble for his help with the proofs.

Appreciation is likewise due to Walter de Gruyter GmbH for their permission to use copyrighted material.

Finally, we are deeply indebted to our families for their encouragement and continued support throughout our efforts to complete this project. ← ix | x →

← x | 1 →


Staking the EMI territory

The dynamics and intensification of exchange in the world have given rise to the need for a common language, and it is English that has become the world’s lingua franca. The presence of English in different contexts and the multitude of users of the language can be well described using Kachru’s seminal model of three concentric circles of English: the Inner Circle, referring to the ‘traditional cultural and linguistic bases of English’; the Outer Circle, representing ‘the institutionalized non-native varieties’ used in formerly colonized countries; and the Expanding Circle, including ‘the regions where the performance varieties of the language are used essentially in EFL contexts [and] lack official status’ (Kachru 1996: 356–357). The fact that there is a considerably larger number of speakers of English as a second/foreign language has contributed significantly to the spread and status of English (McKay and Bokhorst-Heng 2008) and has also changed the ownership of the language (Widdowson 1994). Although ‘native speakers may feel the language “belongs” to them […] it will be those who speak English as a second or foreign language who will determine its world future’ (Graddol 1997: 10). Today, English is widely used as a lingua franca among speakers of different first-language backgrounds in different contexts (Seidlhofer 2011).

The extensive use of English is said to uphold the process of globalization, which, in turn, promotes the spread of English and entrenches its status (Graddol 2006). From this point it follows that the process of globalization would be inconceivable without English (language proficiency) as a prerequisite for access to the world market and the exchange of information on an international scale. The far-reaching use of English has come to play a pivotal role in multiple domains, such as business, the media and (higher) education. According to Graddol (2006: 74), ‘[o]ne of the most important drivers of global English has been the globalization ← 1 | 2 → of higher education’, where it is increasingly used for communication, collaboration, academic research, project development, mobility and teaching (Hultgren, Jensen and Dimova 2015). Adding to this momentum are ‘the policy-based responses that educational institutions adopt as a result of the impact of globalization’, which have been affecting higher education (HE) institutions at an unprecedented scale (Naidoo 2006: 324). Specifically, ‘[c]hanges in government policies and the social and economic context within which universities operate have resulted in increasing pressure for them to attract more international students and to internationalise their curricula’ (Leask 2001: 389). In other words, international, economic and educational aspirations have generated the need to introduce English-taught programmes (cf. Björkman 2010; Coleman 2006) and have prompted ‘[p]olicy makers [to] consider EMI as a mechanism for internationalising their educational offer, creating opportunities for students to join a global academic and business community’ (Dearden 2014: 16).


X, 142
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2017 (March)
English-medium instruction Higher education Croatian universities
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2017. X, 142 pp.

Biographical notes

Branka Drljača Margić (Author) Irena Vodopija-Krstanović (Author)

Branka Drljača Margić is Lecturer and Head of the English and Applied Linguistics Section in the English Department at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka. Irena Vodopija-Krstanović is Lecturer and Vice-Dean for Education at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka. Branka and Irena run the «Internationalization of Study Programmes» project and the «Language Support for Teachers in EMI» lifelong learning programme.


Title: Uncovering English-Medium Instruction
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153 pages