CONTEXT AND AIMS

An innovative approach

In the past few decades, higher education systems across the world have undergone dramatic transformations centred on globalisation, internationalisation and regionalisation. Often, the system operates under competing and intertwined paradigms: competition vs cooperation, massification vs elitism, homogenisation vs. diversification and the national vs the supra-national with questions raised over the purpose, quality and relevance of education, as well as over equity, access and democracy. Within this context, Linguists have pursued their own agenda, making the ascendance of English as a Medium of Instruction and multilingualism their prime analytic focus.


The project takes a novel and interdisciplinary approach to researching English as a Medium of Instruction, combining expertise from Linguistics and Political Science to gain a more holistic understanding of the linguistic, educational, professional and societal consequences of past decades’ higher education restructuring. By keeping in analytic focus language as well as academic governance, university management and higher education policy, we aim to arrive at a deeper understanding of English as a Medium of Instruction; in turn, addressing big questions about the relationship between politico-economic and linguistic dominance, and how English has risen to become the world’s most widely spoken language.

Our research has two aims: to answer questions about the WHY and the HOW of English as a Medium of Instruction.

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WHY

Tracing the causes of the ascendance of English as a Medium of Instruction

The project aims to further understandings of WHY English is in rapid ascendance in higher education across the world. Whilst a fair amount is known about rational motivations for implementing English as a Medium of Instruction, our research seeks to uncover how priorities in contemporary academic governance may sometimes unintentionally drive the shift to English.

 

HOW

Developing best practices in English as a Medium of Instruction

The project aims to develop best practices in English Medium of Instruction by exploring HOW it can be done without adverse consequences for students, lecturers, institutions and wider society. Our approach is to engage directly with key stakeholders to secure the requisite institutional and political buy-in to effect sustained policy change in the sector.