Teaching in English Is Not Necessarily the Teaching of English

  •  Julian Chapple    


Described as a “galloping” phenomenon now considered “pandemic” in proportion, the use of English as the lingua franca medium of instruction (EMI) at higher education institutions (HEIs) across the globe is today considered the most significant trend in educational internationalisation. Japan is no exception and a growing number of the nation’s universities are increasingly offering classes–and even entire courses–in English. Seen by some as a panacea for jump-starting the nation’s stagnant internationalisation profile and improving overall English language skills, this paper firstly explores the theoretical background and rationale behind the trend to utilize EMI based on a review of the literature. Secondly, questionnaire data and feedback from Japanese students taking such classes at two, second-tier universities are analyzed to help shed light on attitudes and ascertain the issues as well as highlight some limitations and problems involved with EMI classes. Finally, it concludes with practical recommendations for greater language support activities and warns of the implications of naively equating EMI alone to an automatic improvement in English language ability in the Japanese context.

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