Professional Development for EMI: The Choice of a Blended Learning Format for Training EMI Lecturers at the University of Verona
Keywords:English medium instruction, Internationalization of Higher Education Institution, lecturer beliefs, EMI training course development, blended learning and digital tools
The internationalization of higher education (IoIHE) has led to many changes in university teaching, including the introduction of English Medium Instruction (EMI). This refers to the complete or partial delivery of course contents in English in a context where it is not the first language of the institution. The aim behind such courses is twofold: firstly to create courses that are accessible for overseas students wishing to study abroad and secondly to meet the lifelong learning needs of local students, equipping them with the means to export their own expertise and have the specialized language and content skills to participate in a global community. The introduction of such courses in Italian institutions has not been unproblematic, and EMI has been considered to be a top-down imposition, but if EMI is to be effective, it should, in fact, be driven by motivated lecturers themselves who wish to cater for the needs of their students in a globalized world. Professional development for such lecturers is still lacking or implemented non-systematically at local levels. This article briefly examines the phenomenon of EMI against a backdrop of internationalization and then describes the findings of questionnaires on lecturer confidence and their influence on the course design and teaching approach to EMI lecturer training courses at the University of Verona. The curriculum design of these courses, originally introduced to meet the English language needs of lecturers, is based on an ongoing study, which has shown over the years that the original emphasis has shifted to an awareness of the need for a specific EMI methodology. The course participants have consistently expressed an interest in developing a blended learning approach with the integration of the face-to-face and the digital as a suitable teaching and learning framework.
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