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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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EMI at the University of Padova: an ecology of learning and teaching (Fiona Dalziel)


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EMI at the University of Padova: an ecology of learning and teaching

1.   Introduction

The aim of this chapter is to investigate the role of University Language Centres in providing training for lecturers involved in English-medium instruction (EMI) within the wider perspective of internationalisation policies. Taking an ecology of learning/teaching approach, it will reflect on how such support is necessarily intertwined with the relationships between the various actors in the process, along with the rapidly evolving dynamics of the use of English as an Academic Lingua Franca in higher educational contexts. I will begin by providing a brief overview of internationalisation policies at the University of Padova together with the roots and the present development of EMI. I will go on to discuss the explicit and implicit ties between the work of the Language Centre at the University of Padova and the latter’s drive to boost internationalisation, suggesting that recent and ongoing changes have important implications for all the activities of the Centre and indeed its whole ‘raison d’être’. The following sections of the chapter will be of a more practical, illustrative nature, outlining the various steps in the introduction of EMI lecturer support in Padova, with specific reference to the LEAP (Learning ← 131 | 132 → English for Academic Purposes) Project, which was launched in 2013; it will be seen that the combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches to EMI support have provided a valuable framework in drawing...

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