University lecturers' perceptions of the role of English in their teaching
Keywords:university teaching, English medium instruction, pedagogical training, professional development
This paper describes international university lecturers’ perceptions about the role of English in their teaching. The lecturers (N=31) of a Finnish university, representing 20 nationalities, attended a pedagogical development course intended to enhance their understanding of communicative skills used in teaching and English-medium instruction (EMI). University programmes with EMI have tripled in the last decade in Europe (Richter, 2019), yet the focus of university lecturers is rarely on the language but on the content (Doiz & Lasagabaster, 2021). A pre-course written reflection task was used to determine how the lecturers defined communicative teaching and the role of EMI in their teaching. Post-course, following teaching demonstrations and peer feedback, the lecturers completed another reflective written task to examine if their approach to EMI had altered. The results indicate that most international university lecturers, both non-native and native speakers of English, pre-course viewed the role of EMI as minimal in their teaching as they expected students to be able to study their field in English. In the post-course analysis, however, many lecturers noted that they had become more conscious of their language use, rate of speech and clarity to be more mindful of their students studying in another language. The study suggests that university lecturers should increase awareness of their use of English in EMI to enhance the quality of their communication and teaching to support students’ learning in a second language.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Satu Tuomainen
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