Englishization of higher education

Nicola Galloway, Jim McKinley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Internationalization has become a priority for universities around the globe. Many efforts are being made to internationalize curricula, establish and extend international partnerships, publish internationally and conduct collaborative research with international partners to raise international profiles. In non-Anglophone settings, this internationalization has led to an increased focus on teaching content subjects in English, as higher education institutions come under increased pressure to offer programmes that use English medium instruction (EMI) to draw international students and staff (Kirkpatrick, 2011). This Englishization is found in programmes in both the secondary and tertiary sector. EMI is defined here as “an educational system where content is taught through English in contexts where English is not used as the primary, first, or official language” (Rose & McKinley, 2018, p.114). There has been a growing apprehension regarding social justice issues concerning both students who have not had much exposure to English, and academic staff where an ability to teach in English is increasingly a major criterion in faculty hiring decisions. Indeed, Englishization can be seen as either a “threat or opportunity” in internationalized higher education. Phillipson (2015, p.39) argues, “Universities need to be committed to articulating policies that can achieve greater social justice, for instance ensuring that any threat from English is converted into an opportunity that does not impact negatively on the vitality of other languages.” Furthermore, rather unfairly, the number of EMI courses on offer is often used to determine the quality of an institution’s educational provision, and is used to determine government funding and rankings. There is also increased pressure on faculty to publish in international journals; many universities mandate that newly hired staff teach at least some of their classes in English and require students to take at least some EMI classes to graduate.This rapidly expanding provision, however, has not been matched with an extensive body of empirical research. Research has reported the lack of monitoring systems or clear outcomes, which makes it difficult to measure the effectiveness of EMI programmes (Galloway, Kriukow, & Numajiri, 2017; McKinley, 2018; Rose & Galloway, 2019). Internationalization education policy decisions need to be matched with research into the complexities of such rapid developments. Such research is needed to inform effective policy implementation in context sensitive ways. Thus, we outline research questions to prompt urgently needed research to address the broad range of relevant social, theoretical and practical issues, to conduct a needs analysis and facilitate curriculum development. The prompts concern the following calls for research and monitoring systems to investigate the effectiveness of EMI, including the impact on students’ learning, staff experiences, university reputation; as well as a response to recent calls for an examination of the challenges faced by students in EMI contexts (see Macaro, Curle, Pun, An & Dearden, 2018). Also in need of investigation is one of the main driving forces behind Englishization of higher education: to attract students and funding through international student fees.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Questions in Language Education and Applied Linguistics
Subtitle of host publicationA Reference Guide
EditorsHassan Mohebbi, Christine Coombe
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9783030791438
ISBN (Print)9783030791421
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameSpringer Texts in Education
ISSN (Print)2366-7672


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