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ICLHE Conference themes and programme

EMI and Englishization: Reflecting on the changing university

Universities have changed rapidly in the past two decades. One of the most visible and controversial changes concerns the language of instruction. English has become a key factor in the internationalization of universities. English-medium instruction or EMI, as it is commonly known, is seen by many as the means through which universities demonstrate the extent of their internationalization. EMI is perceived both as a sign of Englishization of higher education and as an opportunity for students in an ever-globalizing world.

The focus of the conference is not merely on how practitioners design and implement courses when the language of instruction is not the language of the country or region. The conference aims to delve into the effects on other languages, on the nature of knowledge, on the status of a language as academic language, on the quality of teaching and on cultural identity. It is important to reflect on the impact of EMI and Englishization in the past two or three decades, but also on its impact now and what the future might look like. 

This conference invites proposals that address theoretically or empirically the following themes:

  Policy
  Language, status and identity
  Impacts of English-medium instruction
  The nature of knowledge, power, and EMI

The conference also welcomes proposals on traditional themes at ICLHE conferences, such as multilingual programme policy, theoretical and philosophical underpinning for integrated programmes, the integration of content and language, programme and course design, the quality of learning and of programmes, the evaluation and assessment in integrated content and language programmes, and technological developments in programme delivery.

The conference is also interested in integrated programmes that are run through languages other than the dominant local language or English. The call for papers and other contributions will be open by late October 2020.

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Policy

The Policy theme invites contributions that reflect on policies that influence Englishization and its impacts. These include policies addressing internationalization, globalization, harmonization, multilingualism, parallellingualism, integration and assimilation, marginalization and inclusion, as well as language policy and recruitment policy. The theme reflects both language politics and language policy and the ideologies underpinning them. Contributions may focus on impacts at a macro-level, i.e. national or supra-national policies, at a meso-level, i.e. regional or institutional policies, or at micro-level, i.e. programme, course or class level.

  • Explanations and justifications for the rapid Englishization of higher education.
  • The characterization of change in the light of English in higher education.
  • Higher education discourse and conceptual challenges.
  • Tensions between the language policy of the European Union, government and universities.
  • The effect of EMI on the quality of education.
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Language, status and identity

The Language, status and identity theme invites contributions that treat the status of the local language (dominant language, regional language, L1) as an academic language in the light of Englishization. The theme addresses the relative status of languages in the light of Englishization; whether, for example, a national language or a regional language incurs gains or losses of prestige and who perceives the prestige; whether Englishization influences the use of a national or regional language in specific contexts. Contributions to this theme may also consider aspects of identity, for instance the extent to which language is constitutive for the (cultural) identity of a city, region or country.

This theme will also include the role of language in learning and teaching, which may address practices such as translanguaging, lingua franca, and the impacts on the content that is learned. In addition, differences and similarities between practices and perceptions among stakeholder and across disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences are also welcome.

  • The position and status of languages in the light of English in higher education.
  • National and local cultural identity in the light of English in higher education.
  • The role of language in the teaching and learning of content.
  • Differences in the way stakeholders (e.g. politicians, intellectuals, writers, policymakers, university boards, linguists, teachers and students, and support staff) perceive and assess EMI.

  • Differences between natural sciences, humanities, social sciences.
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Impacts of English-medium instruction

The Impacts of English-medium instruction theme invites contributions that report analyses of how EMI influences what is learned and what is taught. The theme will include studies of how teaching methods are or could be adapted to facilitate learning. It includes studies of teaching and learning effectiveness.

The theme also addresses the impact of EMI on the key actors involved, students and teachers, but also administrative and support staff.

The theme also invites studies of the impact of EMI on the wider community, how it changes the institution, the city and the region, including the impact on the vernacular and dialects. It will include the impact on speakers of other languages, for example on speakers of heritage languages or languages of migration.

  • On learning and teaching
  • On the stakeholders: students, staff and administrative staff
  • On the institution, the city and region, the country, the national and regional languages
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The nature of knowledge, power, and EMI

The Nature of knowledge, power and EMI theme invites contributions that investigate the construction of knowledge itself: Does the use of EMI change what is accepted as “knowledge”? How does EMI affect the unpacking of the concept of knowledge? Contributions may address what it means to know something in a discipline and whether a change of instructional language affects this knowledge.

The theme also addresses the nature of power: Does EMI affect power relations? Does EMI allow the key actors to acquire more power? Does EMI change the balance of power in academia? Does EMI offers advantages to some academic disciplines, but disadvantages to others? Do some countries, universities, publishers, and organization benefit more than others? Does it affect the relations between groups in society? How does it affect linguistic justice?

  • How is knowledge conceptualized in the light of EMI
  • Englishization and linguistic justice
  • Englishization and power
  • Dit is er niet
  • Policy

    Dit is er niet
  • Language, status and identity

    Dit is er niet
  • Impacts of English-medium instruction

    Dit is er niet
  • The nature of knowledge, power, and EMI

    Dit is er niet