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Uncovering English-Medium Instruction

Glocal Issues in Higher Education

Branka Drljača Margić and Irena Vodopija-Krstanović

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.

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Chapter 1: Staking the EMI territory


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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)...

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