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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 6: Taking stock of EMI (in the Croatian context)


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Taking stock of EMI (in the Croatian context)

The responses show that while the majority of the teachers believe that it is feasible to introduce EMI and that it should be adopted, they do not think that all classes should be offered only in English or that all Croatian-taught courses should also be available in English. In their opinion, English-taught courses should be an ‘option’ or ‘opportunity’ and not be imposed on students (Lasagabaster, Cots and Mancho-Barés 2013: 771). It is interesting that although only half of the teachers feel competent to conduct English-medium classes, the majority are open to the idea of teaching in English. They do, however, require some preconditions to be met before attempts are made at EMI. Clearly, the teachers’ position is that successful participation in EMI is subject to the fulfilment of certain prerequisites. Specifically, when asked whether instruction in English should be introduced, 52 per cent stated that certain preconditions had to be met. On the other hand, when asked whether they themselves would be willing to engage in EMI, only 17.1 per cent made some reference to the prerequisites. What can be noted regarding these positions is that ‘EMI should be introduced’ necessitates institutional support and the securing of financial, organizational and linguistic assistance, whereas ‘be willing to’ entails personal action, emotions and needs, which the teachers are less likely to mention. The former also suggests top-down implementation strategies, which involve calculation...

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