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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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The cognitive neuroscientist (Antonino Vallesi)


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The cognitive neuroscientist

I started my research career by reading some seminal articles on the mechanisms of human spatial attention. I was endogenously forced to read those articles in English of my own will to update my knowledge on some issues relevant for my Master’s thesis at the University of Padova back in 2002–2003. From that moment, I started being a sort of self-taught reader of scientific English. Soon after graduating, I was accepted for a PhD course in Neuroscience at an international institution, International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste. There, I was committed to using English through all my PhD years by the school regulations, and by the fact that my supervisor, professor Tim Shallice, came from UK. From that moment on, my career developed mostly in English, both in Italy and abroad (e.g. London, Toronto), until I came back to the University of Padova at the end of 2012 as an assistant professor (ricercatore) in cognitive neuroscience.

Once back at my original university, I soon realised that despite the initiatives the central university organisms were starting in order to internationalise the university system, I was back at an essentially Italian institution, both culturally and linguistically. Was this good or bad? I anticipate to the reader that I do not have the final answer, since this is a very complex and difficult issue to settle. I certainly appreciated being able to communicate and teach in my...

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