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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 geologist (Massimiliano Zattin)

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MASSIMILIANO ZATTIN1

The geologist

The Department of Geosciences has worked actively for the last few years on the promotion of teaching and research to an international audience. Among the different actions, a couple of years ago a group of teachers decided to hold their courses for the Master’s degree in Geology in English. Most of these courses are part of a specific curriculum dealing with hydrocarbon resources, the aim of which is to prepare students for the oil industry. Currently, 50% of the courses are held in English but the aim is to reach 100% in a few years.

As coordinator of the curriculum, I am strongly encouraging my colleagues to move to EMI courses. The first reason, of course, is the scarce appeal that our University currently has among foreign students. The lack of attraction is especially true for Earth Sciences so, for example, the typical number of Erasmus students is less than five per year.

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