Professional Development in EMI Contexts in the Global North and the Global South: Does one size fit all?

Hultgren, Anna Kristina; Owen, Nathaniel and Shrestha, Prithvi (2019). Professional Development in EMI Contexts in the Global North and the Global South: Does one size fit all? In: XVIII AELFE Congress, Spanish Association of Languages for Specific Purposes, 20-21 Jun 2019, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction) is on the rise across the world (Dearden 2015), and work is underway to (re)consider the training needs of university content lecturers and language teachers to accommodate this new reality (Dafouz-Milne et al. 2018). To date, however, most research has focused on Europe with other regions of the world being less well understood (Macaro et al. 2018). This paper offers insights from one of those lesser explored regions. Focusing specifically on academic reading, it compares the linguistic makeup, language proficiency and reading needs and practices of comparable student populations in two contrastive EMI contexts: one in the Global North and one in the Global South. Using a mixed-methods approach, data was collected from EMI students in STEM and Business Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden, and Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. Students (Nepal = 10, Sweden = 9) were asked to complete reading logs over a period of three weeks, and to complete a questionnaire (Nepal = 69, Sweden = 60), examining academic reading demands and practices. Students (Nepal = 69, Sweden = 60) also took a TOEFL reading test in order for the research team to assess their academic reading proficiency in English. Follow-up semi-structured interviews (Nepal = 21, Sweden = 23) offered insights on students’ general attitudes to EMI as well as their reading practices and strategies. Findings reveal significant differences across the two contexts in terms of 1) the linguistic and cultural makeup of the student population; 2) English proficiency levels; and 3) reading demands and practices. The implications of these findings for teacher professional development programmes are discussed, with the main focus being on whether what works in one EMI contexts is appropriate for another.

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