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Sharing Perspectives on English-Medium Instruction


Edited By Katherine Ackerley, Marta Guarda and Francesca Helm

English is increasingly used as a medium of instruction in European higher education not only in northern countries, but also in the European ‘south’. This volume is fruit of a project which was carried out in a public university based in the north-east of Italy with the aim of delivering professional development for university lecturers engaged in EMI. It begins with an overview of the European context, the Italian context, and some of the arguments against the indiscriminate spread of English as a medium of instruction in higher education. The volume then focuses on the microcontext of the university, giving voice to the various stakeholders in EMI. These include researchers, lecturers, administrative staff, those involved in professional development and students. The central part of the volume presents the views and experiences of twelve EMI lecturers from a range of academic disciplines. In sharing these perspectives on EMI, the volume hopes to stimulate critical dialogue and research on the many issues involved in this aspect of internationalisation in higher education institutions.

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Trends and issues in English-medium instruction in Europe (Robert Wilkinson)


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Trends and issues in English-medium instruction in Europe

1.   Introduction

English-medium instruction (EMI) has yielded what is now becoming a vast literature of research articles and books. A cursory search in Google Scholar yielded 550 articles and books over the past six years using the search terms ‘English-medium instruction’ or ‘EMI’, ‘higher education’ or ‘university’. Only 50 more appear if the time span is widened to ten years, and a further 72 if widened to ‘any time’ (see Figure 1 for this exponential growth)2. It is noticeable that a substantial number of recent articles are concerned with EMI in east and south-east Asian countries, most notably China, South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia (e.g. Brown/Adamson 2012; Bradford 2013; Kaur Gill/Kirkpatrick 2013; Kirkpatrick 2014), and earlier published articles often focused on Hong Kong. This growth presents a challenge to making sense of current trends in EMI.

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