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Sharing Perspectives on English-Medium Instruction

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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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The teacher trainer (Suzanne Cloke)

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SUZANNE CLOKE1

The teacher trainer

My first foray into teacher training in EMI was in the spring of 2012 when I was asked to develop a 30-hour experimental course for professors at the University of Padova. I must admit after accepting the challenge of creating these lessons, I felt anxious when I realized I knew practically nothing about the needs of the professors: whether they wanted to work on their general English skills, presentations skills, academic English skills or teaching strategies. I couldn’t find much in the literature. CLIL resources were mostly about teaching content and language through a foreign language at primary and secondary schools, and weren’t really applicable to the university context. When I consulted publishers, all they could offer were texts on English for Academic Purposes written for university students preparing to study abroad in English, not professors preparing to teach their content in English.

Of course, I planned to do a needs analysis the first day and I already had indications from their online course applications, but I wanted to be well-prepared ahead of time. I decided to put myself in the Italian professors’ place and imagine what I would need if I had to teach my course in Italian, a very scary thought. This gave me my first inkling into these professors’ motivation for attending the course. They, experts in their fields, had to be anxious, worried, even scared about standing in front of a...

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