"Language gains in English-medium instruction. A case study"
Presentation language: English.
May 17 at 16:00 Moscow time.
Stefania Cicillini, PhD, Post-doc Researcher & Lecturer in English Linguistics, Dipartimento di Lingue e letterature straniere e culture modern, Università di Torino.
Abstract of the report
Over the last twenty years, the internationalization of education at university level has led many universities in non-English speaking countries to use English as the medium of instruction (EMI). Opening EMI programmes has become a successful strategy used by universities to attract international students and increase their academic prestige. Instead, the students who decide to undertake their academic pathway through English are usually driven by better job opportunities after graduation, by the possibility of creating international relationships and improving their English proficiency.
Although much research has investigated the students’ motivations to opt for EMI education, little is known about the role played by English in the students’ academic pathway and language proficiency. To address this gap, this research focuses on a group of students enrolled in an EMI medical school in Italy and sheds light on their attitudes and beliefs about their language experience. Data were collected from three questionnaires sent in the first two academic years in an EMI medical programme. The data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.
The findings revealed that some students found studying through another language challenging. In addition, by the end of the second year, most of them reported language gains in the four skills, especially in their receptive and vocabulary skills. Taken together, the results may have some implications in the development of additional strategies which may include more consideration of the role of English and its improvement in EMI settings in the Italian context.