A longitudinal study on content learning of EMI students in Vietnam from Bourdieusian perspectives

Nguyen, An (2024). A longitudinal study on content learning of EMI students in Vietnam from Bourdieusian perspectives. Journal of English-Medium Instruction (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/jemi.22014.ngu


English as a medium of instruction (EMI) has increased rapidly. This study adopts a Bourdieusian framework to investigate two research questions. First, it examines whether there is a change in the content learning of EMI business students over time. Second, it explores the connection between students’ social milieus and their academic performance in an EMI tertiary context. The study collects GPA scores and background survey data from EMI and Vietnamese-medium instruction (VMI) students over a two-year period. The findings reveal that EMI students experience a greater decline in learning when transitioning from year 3 to year 4, compared to VMI students. Additionally, students with higher levels of cultural capital, as measured by English entry grades and English private tuition time, experience a drop in their academic performance. From a Bourdieusian perspective, the EMI group lacks the necessary form of capital to reproduce their class privilege in relation to the VMI cohort over time. Theoretically, the study reinforces the notion that EMI serves as a mechanism of cultural reproduction that aligns with the unequal distribution of resources. Empirically, it contributes to the understanding of EMI’s impacts, and its implications for policy implementation in Vietnam and similar contexts.

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