English-medium Instruction in Multilingual University Settings

An Opportunity for Developing Language Awareness

Authored by: Emma Dafouz

The Routledge Handbook of Language Awareness

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138937048
eBook ISBN: 9781315676494
Adobe ISBN:


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English-medium instruction (or EMI) principally refers to the teaching and learning of an academic subject (i.e. economic history, chemistry, aeronautical engineering, etc.) using English as the language of instruction, and usually without an explicit focus on language learning or specific language aims. However, applied linguistic EMI research has consistently suggested that to fully benefit from EMI, stakeholders need to be able to develop strategies to increase language awareness. In other words, teachers and learners need to display “[a]‌ conscious perception and sensitivity in language learning, language teaching and language use” (Garrett, 2010: 293). This “heightened awareness may be expected to bring pupils to increase the language resources available to them and to foster their mastery of them” (Donmall, 1985: 7), as well as help develop positive attitudes towards languages, reflect upon their role in effective communication and interaction (Oliveira and Ança, 2011), and promote intercultural competence (Doiz, Lasagabaster and Sierra, 2014). In view of this gap between EMI practice and policies and EMI research, this chapter will describe the current situation in EMI contexts and, concurrently, argue for a pressing need to reflect on, discuss, and increasingly incorporate language awareness foci in these settings.

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