ARPHA Proceedings 1: 1113-1118, doi: 10.3897/ap.1.e1057
English Medium Teaching in Russian Higher Education: challenges and expectations (Kazan Federal University Case study)
expand article infoEkaterina O. Murtazina, Dilyana D. Sungatullina, Yuliya N. Gorelova
Open Access
The relevance of the research is justified by the global educational perspectives and transformation of the language instruction. English is predominantly changing its status and is more frequently used for delivering science and arts content. Tertiary teachers and researchers in non-English-speaking countries face the challenge of publishing their research findings in internationally circulated journals, participating in the global conferences and moreover delivering their courses in English. Total "Englishization" which is currently underway leads to the increased requirements to the tertiary institutions in terms of academia language proficiency as well as to their significant efforts to be recognized in the global education arena. Besides, the global spread of English has led to a linguistic phenomenon of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), when most if its users are non-natives. Thus, English has become very flexible and English medium instruction (EMI) settings are prime examples of this. Many stakeholders consider EMI as a tool for creating opportunities for English learners and users to achieve success in both educational and workplace environments and join a global academic and business community. However, despite the EMI boom, little empirical research has been conducted on the issue leading to the lack of theoretical and practical background. To fill this void the research group aimed at exploration of the EMI phenomenon in the Russian Federation with the special focus on academia of Kazan Federal University, Institute of Management, Economics and Finance. The study methodology was based on the questionnaires and interviews with the tertiary teachers. The results have depicted that despite the pressing need for courses with English instruction in the curriculum, very few universities provide them, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. The reason is quite obvious – low English proficiency of professors and students on the one hand, and poorly-documented methodological framework for using EMI in the classroom, on the other. The situation is further complicated by the lack of advanced training programs for tertiary teachers where they can increase their language proficiency and learn and practice EMI methodology. Therefore after the exploration of IMEF context in terms of EMI, the authors identified several challenges. Firstly, a significant part of professors who are potentially capable of teaching their courses in English feel quite unconfident about their public speaking in English. Most of them mention problems with students face-to-face communication, accuracy and fluency issue as well as insufficient academic vocabulary and teaching methodology. On the basis of a pre-course survey the authors have developed an introductory short-term course "English for teaching proficiency" with the view to examine academia requirements and design advanced training program for EMI. The post-cost survey has revealed that after the course more than half of the participants (65%) became more confident in terms of language accuracy and content delivery, 100 % - in terms of lecture structuring and public speaking skills. Almost everyone mentioned the value of the materials for their own course syllabus design. However, the respondents indicated the urgent necessity to enlarge the course with the view to enhance and practice academic vocabulary and interactive teaching methodology. Thus the study highlights the effectiveness of the chosen approach.
higher education, medium teaching