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Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education

From Theory to Practice- Selected papers from the 2013 ICLHE Conference

Edited By Robert Wilkinson and Mary Louise Walsh

Higher education has seen dramatic changes in the past quarter of a century, notably in the language used for instruction. Universities worldwide are increasingly switching to English enabling them to attract a wide student population. This book presents a new collection of original papers showing how universities apply content and language integrated learning to their instructional contexts. The papers highlight the challenges of theory, policy, programme and course design, integration, and teacher and student competences. The diverse international contexts addressing not just English will be of particular interest to university teachers, educational administrators, linguists and others wishing to understand the instructional landscape of higher education today.
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Introducing EMI instruction in an EFL context: Can the integration of content and language in higher education improve students’ English proficiency?


Abstract In response to global education needs in the twenty-first century, this research addresses the issue of English-Medium Instruction (EMI) at tertiary level in Israel, a trend which is currently in its infancy. We discuss the challenges inherent in this process, building on findings from a recent European project (Tempus-EFA1), in which content courses taught in English were introduced, as a pilot, to the curricula of partner institutions in Israel. We reflect on both the desirability and the efficacy of teaching in English through discussion of survey and panel responses of students and lecturers, which suggest that language learning from EMI is limited without an appropriate support framework. Finally, we consider the type of support that English departments can provide to ensure that the language of instruction does not become a barrier to learning.

Keywords: English-medium instruction, CLIL, internationalization, English-for-All, language support, English proficiency

1.  Introduction

CLIL, which refers to a dual-focused educational approach where the second language is used as a medium of instruction for non-language content (Marsh, 2006), should not refer to English-medium content courses taught without any language support or language sensitive methodologies (Vilkanciene, 2011). In contrast to primary and secondary education sectors, it is questionable whether acquisition of both content and language can occur in a dual-focused approach in higher education (HE) (Vilkanciene, 2011), since most language teachers ← 309 | 310 → would not have the expertise to teach the subject content, and even subject specialists having strong language proficiency...

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