Weighing English in the balance : University teachers' perspectives on teaching through a second language

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Pages (from-to)78-86
Journal / PublicationLanguage and Norms
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


English is increasingly used nowadays as a medium of instruction in tertiary education worldwide, facilitating the outward mobility of home universities' staff and students, as well as the inward recruitment of international faculty and students. However, teaching and learning in a foreign language can be a challenging enterprise, and the implications of the trend toward English-medium instruction (EMI) are to date not fully understood. Based on a large-scale survey, this study aims at unveiling the perceptions and experiences of Swedish university teachers involved in EMI. The respondents express a wide array of views and experiences, grouped under ten thematic areas. The respondents' views are often polarised in that they identify both costs and benefits of teaching in English, while describing a reality where little support is provided to augment the benefits and mitigate the costs. These results indicate a need for enhanced communication with all stakeholder groups, to raise critical awareness about impending costs, as a step toward minimizing potential damages and maximizing the benefits of English in higher education today.

Research Area(s)

  • English as a second language, English Education, English as a medium of instruction