The English-medium paradigm: a conceptualisation of English-medium teaching in higher education

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The discourse on English-medium teaching in higher education uses several terms and concepts to describe practices, very often synonymously. This contribution aims to fill the research gap of a conceptualisation of English-medium teaching in higher education. It will identify relevant approaches and their corresponding terminology, as well as clarify which approaches are most suitable for higher education. Given that the past decades have seen a substantial rise in the use of English as a teaching language in European compulsory schooling (Dalton-Puffer 2011, 182–83), the paper will also draw parallels between the secondary and the tertiary levels of education. At the same time, it will also be shown why insights drawn from research conducted in secondary education cannot simply be transferred to the tertiary level of education.
The main focus of the paper is on the “English-medium Paradigm,” a framework created to identify prevalent instructional types in English-taught programmes at universities in non-Anglophone countries (Unterberger 2014, 45-52). The paradigm is based on terminological and conceptual considerations gained from the critical discussion of English for specific purposes, English for academic purposes, Content and language integrated learning and English-medium instruction literature (e.g. Bhatia 1993; Hyland 2006; Dalton-Puffer 2007; Dafouz and Smit 2014). The paper therefore provides a timely conceptualisation of the varieties of English-medium teaching in higher education which also takes into account pedagogical considerations as well as implications for curriculum design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527 - 539
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 602004 General linguistics
  • 602054 Comparative linguistics
  • 503029 Language teaching research
  • 602

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