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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 biostatistician (Roberto Mantovani)

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ROBERTO MANTOVANI1

The biostatistician

My personal reflections on the use of English language in teaching derive from a rather limited and niche experience, i.e., the lectures on experimental plans within a course of applied biostatistics that I give to students enrolled in a PhD programme in Animal and Food Science. Besides this limited environment, I have no other direct experience with EMI. However, I have shared comments and taken part in discussions with other colleagues, and this has somehow also influenced my feelings on EMI. Therefore, the following thoughts can be considered the result of a wider experience shared with other teachers.

My first reflections focus on teaching supports. The majority of teaching activities today are supported by slide presentations that are helpful to both the teacher and the students, who also use such supports as studying materials. In spite of the fact that my English teaching activity has been set in a field in which I feel a lot of confidence, I must acknowledge that it was not so easy to prepare a set of slides that would clearly explain the statistical topics I was asked to present to my students. Despite the availability of many English books and materials downloaded from the web, consequential concepts such as those belonging to statistical theory are not easy to explain, and a particular effort is needed on the part of the lecturer, in my view, to enable the students to fully...

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