Font Size:
  • L
  • M
  • S

Empowering EMI Teaching: Strategies and Stories from Global Educators

The NTNU Resource Center for English Medium Instruction (RCEMI) and the Yushan Scholars Program jointly organized a seminar titled 'English Teaching: Demand Analysis and Value Added' on March 25. Chaired by NTNU Guest Lecturer and University of Hong Kong Professor Emeritus, Amy B. M. Tsui, the event featured Professor Robert Wilkinson and Professor John Airey as keynote speakers, who offered in-depth discussions on the multifaceted considerations necessary for implementing EMI teaching methodology, providing participants with further insights on enhancing the effectiveness of EMI programs within the national socio-political contexts. Panelists Professor I-Jy Chang from the Department of Chemistry and Professor Pei-Jen Lee Shaner from the Department of Life Sciences also shared their strategies and techniques for teaching in English. The seminar, held in a hybrid format, was attended by 100 participants, both online and in-person.

Professor Amy B. M. Tsui is renowned for her extensive contributions to academic resources, particularly in the realm of applied linguistics and subject teaching. She has made significant contributions to the field through her scholarship, published in academic journals including 'Language Issues in EMI (English Medium Instruction) Teaching,' which showcases her adeptness at addressing critical educational challenges. Her ability to foster interdisciplinary collaboration makes her indispensable to all aspects of the EMI effort. Professor Tsui's approach to EMI pedagogy, which encompasses both theoretical and practical aspects, serves as an inspiration for leveraging interdisciplinary cooperation in implementing EMI in education.

Exploring Language Capital and Teaching Practices in Cross-Cultural Contexts

In his lecture, Professor Robert Wilkinson emphasized the significance of the teaching context in EMI. He delved into concepts such as language capital, lexical repertoire, and subject literacy. He discussed the empowering role of language in specific contexts and how an individual's knowledge in a subject may span multiple languages, bridging their native language and English. Wilkinson also shared his experiences teaching in Vietnam, addressing the importance of resolving issues of ineffective instruction through the Vietnamese language, and the necessity for EMI teachers to adapt to linguistic diversity. In ensuing discussions with participants on developing disciplinary literacy and the relevance of EMI in societal contexts, he emphasized the importance of enhancing EMI in national, social, and political contexts, and offered invaluable perspectives on language education that advocate for more inclusive and effective teaching methodologies.

Navigating Language Switching in Subject Teaching

Professor John Airey's research into bilingual teaching focuses on the difficulties students encounter when required to articulate concepts in both English and Swedish. Students often struggle while striving to maintain academic quality, especially first-year students new to English. Professor Airey suggested that students internalize their knowledge in order to realize their bilingual capabilities, and proposed bilingual explanations in collaborations to understand challenges. He emphasized the necessity for educators to adapt their teaching methods to English, and outlined various adaptation strategies, and acknowledged the possibility of time constraints. Professor Airey also stressed variations in subject matter, and the critical role of effective communication skills in academic settings. This sparked a discussion on enhancing faculty and staff's skill sets. His innovative work and in-depth analyses significantly contribute to understanding and overcoming language barriers in education, ensuring student success in multilingual learning environments.

Adaptive Methods for Linguistic Dynamism

Professor Pei-Jen Lee Shaner made adjustments in her teaching methodology in ecology courses taught in both Chinese and English. She observed that while students could cover more topics when and provide more examples when using Chinese, the EMI course covered a narrower range of topics with greater student interaction. Professor Shaner also noted that students often relied on visual aids like charts to articulate their ideas, and used Chinese for clarification and discussion among their peers. She adjusted her classroom teaching methodology in response to these differences, emphasizing direct instruction in Chinese and interaction in English.

Professor I-Jy Chang pointed out the inevitability of learning English and its importance in various fields, concurring with the value of bilingualism and the advantages of fluency in two languages. She shared her innovative use of the flipped classroom model in EMI, enhancing student engagement and language skills by requiring students view pre-recorded class videos, and then uses quizzes and practical exercises in class related to the video. She emphasized the importance of breakout group activities that encourage students to explain new knowledge using English.

Both professors demonstrated remarkable flexibility and pedagogical insight, ensuring that students could effectively grasp ecological concepts in different linguistic environments. Their dynamic and diverse teaching strategies reflect a profound understanding of student learning needs and enrich the educational experience.

This seminar, spearheaded by Professor Amy B. M. Tsui, highlighted the critical importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in addressing educational challenges and enhancing academic achievement through innovative teaching methods. In a survey, participants indicated that the speakers provided significant insight into the need for analysis in EMI taught courses, and broadened their understanding of the diversity in EMI teaching methods. The exchange of knowledge bolstered participants’ confidence in EMI teaching and enriched their instructional strategies.

The event was an opportunity for attendees to engage with expert insights and analyses, as well as to share experiences and methodologies with peers on improving English medium instruction across diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. By focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative approaches, the RCEMI TALK aimed to inspire educators and students towards achieving excellence in the global academic landscape.