This collection presents the state of the art on English-medium instruction (EMI) / Integrating content and language (ICL) in Italian higher education, drawing attention to different critical aspects of the teaching/learning experience and highlighting the perspectives of various educational stakeholders regarding the effectiveness of tertiary study in a foreign language. The chapters draw on a range of methodologies, from multimodal participant observation, to action research, to video-stimulated recall (VSR), to questionnaires and interviews, in examining language policies and practices across various educational settings. Overall, the volume suggests that internationalisation succeeds best when the form of lessons (language) and the content of lessons (disciplinary concepts) are constructively aligned in curriculum planning and delivery. This integration process requires the strategic support of educators to guarantee the quality of learning in multilingual education.
English-language teaching often tends to focus on the product rather than the process (Harmer, 2003; Wette, 2011). This insistence on focusing on the “one size fits all” end product has certainly characterised approaches to syllabus design and the process can either be undervalued or completely disregarded. However, process approaches to syllabus design can actively champion the often-excluded voices of the learners by including them in the decision-making stages of the course. This chapter will present a three-year action research (AR) project whose aim was to modify the advanced English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) syllabus for undergraduate Economics students at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, a university located in a predominantly German-speaking area of Italy, where English is used as a medium of instruction (EMI) on an equal footing with Italian and German. The initial design of the ESAP course was based on a needs analysis done by the Faculty but the students had never been consulted during this process, nor had the academic staff using EMI. Consequently, one of the aims of this AR study was to conduct a thorough needs analysis involving these two main stakeholders. The needs were identified using a mixed methods design that analysed quantitative data gathered longitudinally from three cohorts of students, and qualitative data was gathered from the lecturers using EMI. In syllabus design, since “no one approach can be responsive to learners’ needs” (Graves, 2008, p. 161), the modified syllabus that evolved from this analysis blended a predominantly process approach to syllabus design with elements of a product approach. This blended approach provided opportunities for the learners’ voices to be an intrinsic part of the course by allowing them to negotiate aspects of the syllabus, ranging from the contents and the language skills practised, to the means of assessment. The use of negotiation in the ESAP course also created some of the conditions that have been suggested “[lead] to teaching and learning which is as effective as possible” (Breen & Littlejohn, 2000c, p. 9). Moreover, using negotiation in the ESAP course provided the students with more opportunities to actively use and interact in English, opportunities which had been almost completely missing in the Faculty’s EMI courses.
Aligning Policy and Practice: Linguistic and Pedagogical Strategies for the EMI Classroom
The growing internationalisation of higher education has positioned university lecturers at the “interface between institutional demands and students’ expectations” (Tange, 2010, p. 141). This change process can produce evolving institutional language policies as English medium education in multilingual university settings becomes a common practice (Dafouz and Smit, 2016). The interrelationship between language policy and practice can be critical as non-native English-speaking lecturers deal with issues concerning language proficiency, developing ways to increase student understanding and ensuring that programme quality is maintained (Doiz et al, 2011). This paper presents the results of a research study into EMI teaching practices at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano. A vertical approach to data collection was adopted using semi-structured interviews, classroom observation, and video stimulated recall (VSR). Post-observation interviews employed Coyle’s (2005) critical incident technique, offering lecturers a chance to reflect on examples of good practice and/or problem areas in the EMI classroom. The results of the study showed that despite apparently high levels of individual self-awareness on the challenges of teaching in English, there appeared to be varying levels of effectiveness displayed by lecturers with the capacity to draw upon appropriate linguistic and pedagogical strategies necessary to meet the needs of multilingual and multicultural student audiences. Problems relating to levels of language proficiency, reliance on a limited range of pedagogical approaches, and lack of cultural awareness could be identified as tensions illustrating a gap between EMI teaching practices in the classroom context and language policies at institutional level. Nevertheless, there was also clear evidence of successful alignment between language and didactic strategies underpinning the concept of “language policy as practice” (Bonacina-Pugh, 2012), when classroom practice mirrors institutional language policy which could have wider implications for diverse EMI settings.
Intercultural English as a Medium and Outcome of Instruction: The Case of the University of Trento, Italy
This paper presents a critical reflection on the role and meaning of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in higher education, grounded on the findings of a survey on EMI conducted by the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for the Quality and Innovation of Didactics (LIQuID) of the University of Trento (Italy). Trento strongly advocates the need to improve its international profile, switching from a local to a global perspective in teaching practice. This is consistent with an internationalisation drive in higher education in Italy and in universities worldwide, for which the adoption of EMI is considered a necessary step. LIQuID thus developed a questionnaire with the aim of investigating faculty members’ self-evaluation as EMI-users as well as their opinion on institutional and didactic aims, teaching practices, and learning assessment methods, comparing, when possible, their experience in teaching in L1 and L2. Data referring to a total of 150 EMI-modules offered in the academic year 2018-19 were collected. Starting from this dataset regarding Trento’s experience, this contribution discusses the adoption of EMI from the local point of view, since internationalisation and one-size-does-not-fit-all policies cannot overlook the specificities of the contexts in which they are implemented. This necessarily leads to a reflection regarding EMI as a global phenomenon. In particular, the survey’s results point at complex teaching-learning dynamics which may be associated to a spiral movement consisting of three laps: first, English is initially employed as a tool (medium) to reach general goals at a university level (i.e., innovation and internationalisation); second, English is used as ESP (English for Specific Purposes) to achieve subject-specific aims (i.e., improvement of students’ specialised language competences and professional profile); third, English as a Lingua Franca fosters the development of linguistic but also intercultural competences, thus mediating the shift from the local to the global context for both the University and the students. This is what I would call EMOI spiral movement, in which inter-cultural English is the Medium and the Outcome of Instruction: English language is the starting point, the medium and the outcome of a multifaceted educational process. Institutional programmes aimed at a truly effective internationalisation of higher education should not disregard the final step of this movement in favour of the others, since a diverse and inclusive university community is grounded upon the nurture of cultural and intercultural competences in addition to linguistic ones
EMI Professional Development in Italy: An Assessment Focus
This paper addresses the issue of assessment in English-Medium Instruction (EMI) and international teaching contexts in Italy. Its aims are twofold: to present the results of a survey of lecturers who teach in English-taught programmes (ETPs) in a northern Italian university regarding their experience of assessment in other cultures, their current assessment practices in ETPs and their attitudes towards assessment; and to report on a module developed as part of an EMI professional development programme that focuses specifically on assessment, feedback and learning outcomes. The lecturers completed the survey before taking part in the training module so educational developers would gain insight into their conceptions of assessment prior to the course. The training module was developed to support lecturers in developing assessment styles and practices that are appropriate for the international learning environment and ETPs.
Learners’ Views of EMI: Non-Native Speaker Teachers’ Competence and ELF in an Italian Master’s Degree Programme
This paper reports on a qualitative study investigating the opinions on English Medium Instruction (EMI) held by Italian students of an EMI Master’s degree programme of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Data for this study were elicited by means of semi-structured interviews and are taken from a larger ongoing doctoral research study of students’ attitudes towards English and its pedagogy that combines descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis. Respondents discussed EMI and Internationalisation at Home (IaH) in relation to a number of other topics, including: non-native speaker teacher (NNST)'s competence, English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) and multilingualism, students’ motivation, international students and teachers. Although the majority of the respondents expressed satisfaction with their learning experience, and they all revealed a positive attitude towards EMI, they were also unanimously critical of the communicative competence in English of the non-native speaker teachers (NNSTs) of the nonlanguage courses. Due to the limited number of instances reported, further research is needed to validate the results. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this paper may provide useful contribution to the task of leading to better-informed ways of integrating
The Intercultural Dimension and BELF in the English Course Curriculum of Business Schools: Proposal for an Integrated Model
For a series of historical, economic and geographic reasons, English is considered the language of communication in the business field (cf. Crystal, 2003; Graddol, 2006). Since the last industrial revolution, the models of reference have been the British and American ones, and the hegemony of these two countries has affected also the field of higher education (cf. Phillipson, 2003; Altbach & Knight, 2007) and business schools in particular have followed American standards. Although the economic paradigm may start to slowly shift because of the new challenges represented, for example, by the Asian markets, English is still the main language used in academia and in business (cf. Graddol, 2006; Wächter & Maiworm, 2014). Language use is not a point of discussion in documents concerning the internationalisation of business schools, where it seems to be implicit that English is the medium of instruction, also in countries where English is not the national language. However, merely offering English-taught programmes is not sufficient for any institution that wishes to provide students with an encompassing education which can equip them with the tools to succeed in an increasing globalised, multilingual and multicultural world (cf. Jones, 2013; Bieger, 2011). To this end, from a linguistic and socio-cultural perspective, two main aspects should be more promoted and integrated across the curriculum: awareness of language and cultural features embedded in both academic disciplines and in their models of instructions. Another factor to be considered is that, in the world of work, the kind of English used during the majority of business interactions belongs to the field of BELF - Business English as a Lingua Franca (cf. Kankaanranta & Louhiala-Salminen, 2013; Bargiela-Chiappini et al., 2007). The integration of a linguistic and of an intercultural dimension which takes into account the principles of BELF, may help to improve the students and staff’s intercultural and communicative skills in the context of business education. With this purpose, a model of Business Intercultural Communicative Competence (BICC) is proposed, adapted from Louhiala-Salminen and Kankaanranta’s model (2011), and inspired by Deardoff’s Model of Intercultural Communicative Competence (2006). After a brief description of the BICC model, its possible pedagogical implications will be discussed, providing a series of suggestions for implementing its dimensions in the English course curriculum of business schools.
EMI and Translanguaging: Student Language Use in an Italian English-Taught Programme
Italian universities are striving to enhance their internationalization policies through the implementation of English-Medium Instruction (Costa & Coleman, 2013) and the University of Padova is no exception, with a total of 49 fully English-taught programmes (ETPs) now on offer. Yet this phenomenon is problematic, with ongoing concerns about guaranteeing quality (Beccaria, 2015; Wilkinson, 2013) and ensuring the role and status of the local language, in this case Italian, along with its academic culture (Motta, 2016; Phillipson, 2006). Yet many of the discussions around EMI in Italy fail to take account of its relationship with multilingualism, focusing instead on the implications of teaching and learning in a non-native language. This chapter will attempt to address this gap by looking at EMI in the context of the multilingual university and investigating the impact that this has on student language practices in the classroom. Studies have shown that, even if not officially encouraged, the practice of translanguaging may be adopted in EMI amongst student populations (see for example Goodman, 2017; Guarda forthcoming). Translanguaging in this context refers to “any practices that draw on an individual’s linguistics and semiotic repertoire” (Mazak 2017, p. 5), covering not only code-switching but also cases in which, for example, students speak their native language while writing texts in English. The aim of this article is thus to explore the extent to which students make use of translanguaging during EMI classes, for example during class discussion or collaborative tasks, and their perceptions of their own language use. It will focus on one ETP at the University of Padova, a bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science, which was first introduced in the 2015–2016 academic year. To collect data, an online questionnaire was administered to two cohorts of students, receiving 66 answers, and a quantitative and qualitative thematic analysis was then conducted. Overall the students’ answers appear to indicate that the use of two or more languages can helpthem in verbalizing their content knowledge and may thus enhance their learning process. At the same time, there was great sensitivity to the issue of inclusion, with students always careful that their language choices did not exclude any peers form the interaction. My analysis aims to uncover some of the motivations behind language choices, relating these to the concept of translanguaging agency. It will conclude by reflecting on how translanguaging in EMI relates to issues of diversity in multilingual university settings.
South Tyrol and the Challenge of Multilingual Higher Education
Since its founding in 1997, the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Unibz) has looked beyond English medium instruction (EMI) as the preferred pathway to internationalisation, opting for a unique trilingual model of higher education with academic programmes delivered through modules taught in German, Italian and English. Additionally, the Faculty of Education offers subjects in a fourth language, Ladin, an ancient Romance language that enjoys a minority status in the Dolomite area. Through its plurilingual policy, Unibz seeks to put into practice a glocal vision: promoting interaction and intercultural exchange in the diverse languages and cultures of South Tyrol, while simultaneously consolidating its role as a multilingual Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Europe. The challenge of delivering multilingual curricula to heterogeneous classes through innovative and effective teaching methodologies that integrate content and language (ICL) puts pressure on continually updating Unibz’s language policy and practices to respond to the shifting needs of students, professors, and other stakeholders. Two critical points have emerged that reveal a gap between the multilingual mission of the university and the implemenation of language policy: first, the need to support students through an embedded approach to multilingualism across the curriculum in order for them to achieve the advanced-level competences in all three main languages required for graduation; second, the need to provide training to professors teaching in their L1 or L2 to classes with mixed linguistic competences, especially in terms of using language for specific and academic purposes (LSP/LAP). This article analyses the effectiveness of the Unibz language-in-education policy (LEP) by examining some critical challenges of integrating content and language in multilingual teaching across academic disciplines. It suggests that constructive alignment can help bridge the policy-practice gap by merging pedagogical, didactic, and linguistic learning aims for multilingual education contexts. An example of this alignment process in the design of a Unibz training programme for professors, “Excellence in Multilingual Teaching in Higher Education”, serves to illustrate how EMI support, embedded in a broader multilingual strategy, can encourage cross-curricular critical language awareness.
CLIL: Internationalisation or Pedagogical Innovation?
CLIL, the popular acronym for Content and Language Integrated Learning, refers to the learning/teaching of a subject in a foreign language and was first officially introduced in Italy in 2010 with the Riforma della Scuola Secondaria di secondo grado and, specifically, in Trentino in 2014 with the Piano Trentino Trilingue. In the latter context, the introduction of mandatory CLIL has meant a massive increase in subject teaching in English and in German throughout Trentino schools, from primary to secondary levels. This significant change to the traditional school curriculum has brought to light both the advantages and disadvantages of internationalisation at the didactic level, which is the general focus of this chapter. Most of the challenges associated with CLIL in the transformation of education in the province of Trentino have not been exclusively related to the linguistic competences of learners, but rather to the wider didactic-pedagogical guidelines provided to teachers for its implementation. In fact, learners, teachers and families are generally very interested in the development of multilingual competences, while the epistemological and didactic reforms necessary for an internationalisation of the curriculum often arouse scepticism, if not outright rejection. The design and implementation of the Trentino CLIL policy has thus generated a lively scientific debate, one which focuses on three main research questions: (1) Can an understanding of linguistic competence, which is often narrowly conceived as knowhow in everyday communication, be broadened and expanded through CLIL? (2) What are the concrete objectives for the development of linguistic competence in nonlinguistic subjects? Which of these aims can be realistically achieved by a majority of learners? (3) What are the basic principles that can contribute to the creation of a genuine CLIL epistemology? This paper examines these questions by presenting the results of a study carried out in Trentino schools as part of the scientific monitoring of the implementation of the province's 2014 CLIL policy, including teacher training for CLIL. The Trentino CLIL plan is a case study of a controversial and complex vision, but one that represents an opportunity for curricular innovation that goes in the direction of the internationalisation of Italian and European schools. Although the case studies analysed here are not strictly linked to EMI contexts in higher education, there is, nevertheless, an implicit connection between CLIL and EMI: the various pedagogical and didactic aspects and critical issues elicited through the introduction of CLIL in a primary and secondary school habitus can also be found in the implementation of EMI in tertiary education. Introducing a foreign language as a vehicle for instruction at all levels of education requires an undeniable change in didactic and pedagogical approaches, which is often difficult to embrace; it is not merely a question of taking on an additional activity, but of a real and profound shift in perspective affecting every single part of the curriculum and all the actors in education. For these reasons, they are worthy of attention and further discussion.
Collaborating Across Continents – The Challenges of Intercontinental Academic Partnerships
Amidst the current climate of concern about the flow of immigrants towards Europe, and the concomitant need for Africans to develop their many resources and talents, E4Impact, a spin-off foundation of the graduate business school in Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore is developing innovative forms of transnational education on social entrepreneurship in Africa. Transnational education (TNE) has been defined as “All types and modes of delivery of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational ser- vices (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a coun- try different from the one where the awarding institution is based” (Council of Europe, 2001). One of the critiques of TNE is that it may be conducted as cultural imperialism, pursuing profit at the expense of traditional educational values, as a means of enabling Western universities to raise revenue needed at home (Ziguras & McBurnie, 2008). The exclusive focus on social impact entrepreneurship within the tertiary education pro- grammes developed by E4Impact, and the academic partnerships that deliver the pro- grammes, are two reasons why the form of TNE discussed in this chapter can survive such critiques. The programmes offer either an MBA or a Certificate and are currently delivered in English, French or Portuguese in countries from all over the African continent, from the Middle Eastern and Northern African countries to sub-Saharan Africa. Conceived as a partnership between the Italian university and a tertiary education institution in Africa, whose faculty work together with the Italian professors towards national accreditation and marketing, the model has had to adapt to diverse contexts, with different universi- ties requiring different models. Although the Italian university behind E4Impact re - mains the original source of the idea and expertise, it is not exporting a monolithic model, but is offering a collaborative educational proposal, which adapts to the context where it takes place. The Chapter takes a two-pronged approach to the topic of collaborating across conti- nents, firstly by describing the model of TNE of E4Impact, and secondly by presenting in-depth interviews with two female students associated with the programme in differ- ent countries. Accordingly, Section 1 situates the MBA programme in the context of transnational education, and recounts how it started as a programme in Italy for Afri- cans. Section 2 narrates the development of the programme, from a rather uncomforta- ble model of international academic franchising to academic social franchising, which is closer to its current format. Sections 3 and 4 present the interviews with a Kenyan graduate and an Ethiopian student 1 , while Section 5 discusses key points which emerge from the interviews. Section 6 looks beyond the specific cases recounted and considers the philosophy, methodology and future of this form of transnational education.
Amidst the current climate of concern about the flow of immigrants towards Europe, and the concomitant need for Africans to develop their many resources and talents, E4Impact, a spin-off foundation of the graduate business school in Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore is developing innovative forms of transnational education on social entrepreneurship in Africa. Transnational education (TNE) has been defined as “All types and modes of delivery of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational services (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a country different from the one where the awarding institution is based” (Council of Europe, 2001). One of the critiques of TNE is that it may be conducted as cultural imperialism, pursuing profit at the expense of traditional educational values, as a means of enabling Western universities to raise revenue needed at home (Ziguras & McBurnie, 2008). The exclusive focus on social impact entrepreneurship within the tertiary education programmes developed by E4Impact, and the academic partnerships that deliver the programmes, are two reasons why the form of TNE discussed in this chapter can survive such critiques. The programmes offer either an MBA or a Certificate and are currently delivered in English, French or Portuguese in countries from all over the African continent, from the Middle Eastern and Northern African countries to sub-Saharan Africa. Conceived as a partnership between the Italian university and a tertiary education institution in Africa, whose faculty work together with the Italian professors towards national accreditation and marketing, the model has had to adapt to diverse contexts, with different universities requiring different models. Although the Italian university behind E4Impact remains the original source of the idea and expertise, it is not exporting a monolithic model, but is offering a collaborative educational proposal, which adapts to the context where it takes place. The Chapter takes a two-pronged approach to the topic of collaborating across continents, firstly by describing the model of TNE of E4Impact, and secondly by presenting in-depth interviews with two female students associated with the programme in different countries. Accordingly, Section 1 situates the MBA programme in the context of transnational education, and recounts how it started as a programme in Italy for Africans. Section 2 narrates the development of the programme, from a rather uncomfortable model of international academic franchising to academic social franchising, which is closer to its current format. Sections 3 and 4 present the interviews with a Kenyan graduate and an Ethiopian student1, while Section 5 discusses key points which emerge from the interviews. Section 6 looks beyond the specific cases recounted and considers the philosophy, methodology and future of this form of transnational education.