Fostering English-Medium Instruction (EMI) Through Flipped Learning

Fostering English-Medium Instruction (EMI) Through Flipped Learning

Alberto Andujar (University of Almeria, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2318-6.ch016


This chapter explores the possibilities of the flipped learning methodology to foster and improve English-medium instruction (EMI) at a higher education level. The design principles of EMI and flipped learning, and the most relevant theoretical frameworks for each of the fields are discussed. Moreover, factors to be considered when implementing the flipped learning model in EMI contexts are presented. Blended learning environments such as the flipped learning model may become a support during EMI, facilitating the development of interaction and collaborative work, and giving rise to a task-based communicative-oriented environment. At the same time, the flipped model may help overcome some of the challenges presented in the EMI literature.
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The increasing need to foster English language development and English-medium instruction (EMI) at secondary schools as well as higher institutions has led to the exploration of different possibilities for language tuition and practice. At university contexts where factors such as internationalization are highly dependent on the courses offered in English and where university students are required language certificates to access university grants, teaching methodologies become an indispensable part of the process (Sánchez-Pérez & Salaberri, 2017). However, the importance given to EMI has varied widely depending on the existing curriculums and government policies. Whereas some non-English speaking countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland or Norway quickly realized the importance of EMI and where English is used for postgraduate studies (Airey, 2009; Saarinen, 2012), others such as Spain or Italy took more time to incorporate the necessary changes into its language curriculums to keep pace with the common educational needs. As for Spanish universities, cross-curricular student immersion is still not present in tertiary education and only partial programmes or double routes are offered at a university level (Cots, 2012). In this vein, Jiménez-Munoz (2015) highlighted that in Spain there has been little to no adjustments as regards to the already existing modules which were taught in the native language. This situation does not only affect students willing to enroll courses at foreign universities but also teachers who need to meet the language requirements to give classes in English. Teachers have struggled with the new challenges of EMI environments such as their inability to solve language-related episodes, the difficulty to know what language level to expect in order to adjust their classes, or simply the challenge of using a foreign language to teach the contents (Airey, 2013; Jenkins, Cogo & Dewey, 2011).

In this context of transition where many universities and teachers have to give shape to new curriculum designs incorporating EMI, and where the linguistic competence of teachers and students seems necessary for a successful implementation of such curriculum, learning methodologies become an essential element in play to achieve the educational aims. Mainly, these learning methodologies could help overcome a number of shortcomings such as the abovementioned in order to achieve successful teaching and learning in EMI contexts.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cognitive Load: Refers to the total amount of mental activity that the working memory can handle.

Glocalization: Refers to the need for universities to work at a local and global level in order to attract international students as well as those who belong to minoritized communities.

EMI: English-Medium Instruction. Refers to a type of tuition in which English is used to teach academic subjects at high schools and higher institutions where English is not the first language.

Design Principles: Refers to a series of pedagogical recommendations that involve the design of a learning environment.

Flipped Learning: A type of blended learning methodology in which the contents and explanations are given in advance normally through video, and in-class time is devoted to assessing students’ understanding, foster collaborative work and critical thinking.

Blended Learning: A type of learning that combines teacher presence with online tuition in which between a 20% and 79% of the class contents and activities are delivered online.

Internationalization: The process of exchange between higher education institutions and nations which normally takes place within the public domain.

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