English as a Medium of Instruction

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First Adopted in 2015

In many educational contexts around the world, English has undergone an instructional shift as it has changed from its position as a foreign language to a medium of instruction. In other words, English is being used to deliver and teach content in the sciences, math, history, business, and engineering in public and private education and at all stages—primary, secondary, and tertiary. Many stakeholders (e.g., parents, policymakers, and teachers) see English medium instruction (EMI) as a tool for creating opportunities for English learners to achieve success in both educational and workplace environments and join a global academic and workplace community. Because EMI has implications for English learning and the formation of policy and because little empirical research has been conducted on EMI, TIRF seeks research proposals to promote our understanding of this phenomenon. TIRF’s research priority on EMI may be addressed through a number of different research questions, such as the example questions that follow:

  • What are the reasons that EMI is being introduced?
  • When is EMI being introduced?
  • How is EMI being delivered? Are there methods of delivery that are more effective than others?
  • What are the consequences of introducing EMI on teaching, learning, and assessment?
  • What teacher professional development activities and opportunities are being provided for EMI teachers?
  • What do EMI teachers need in terms of professional development?
  • What is the English proficiency level for EMI teachers, and how is it determined?
  • What types of teaching and learning resources are available and being used in EMI contexts?
  • How are code-switching, plurilingualism, and translanguaging dealt with in EMI contexts?
  • What is the role of the EMI teacher in creating opportunities for English learners to achieve success in learning important content and developing language skills in both educational and/or workplace environments?