Keynote Speakers

Dr Jim McKinley, University College  London, UK

“The importance of ESP in English medium instruction in higher education”

In non-Anglophone contexts, the internationalisation of higher education is increasingly becoming synonymous with English medium instruction (EMI) and ‘Englishization’. Growth of EMI as a result of internationalisation occured first at the grassroots, classroom level in Europe (e.g. The Netherlands, Scandinavia), where language support was not ‘built in’, and English was used to a varying extent outside classroom contexts. However, with significant growth in EMI due to recent top-down policy initatives further afield in different socio-historic, cultural and educational contexts where proficiency levels are lower, EMI may be conceptualised as a pedagogical approach or a way to improve English proficiency, where English for Specific Purposes plays a more central role. To ensure successful EMI implementation in these contexts is sustainable, research into English language support is needed. Research has found that that ESP is the strongest predictor of success in EMI programs from variables such as motivation, self-efficacy, language proficiency, and vocabulary knowledge. It has been shown in EMI programmes that ESP creates strong self-efficacy raising opportunities. Given the language related challenges that EMI students face, further research is needed on the benefits of ESP in preparing and supporting students for EMI studies. In this talk, I will report on original research in East Asia (China and Japan) including policy scans as well as focus groups and interviews with academics, showcasing the ESP approaches taken in implementing EMI policy in higher education.

My main interests are in research methods in applied linguistics and TESOL, second language writer identity, English medium instruction (EMI) and content and language integrated learning (CLIL) in internationalised higher education, and academic community development. I was principal investigator on the British Academy-funded project ‘Exploring the teaching-research nexus in higher education’ (2018), a project from which I am developing further investigation into TESOL researcher-practitioners. I am currently involved in a project investigating language related challenges in English medium instruction with colleagues from the University of Oxford, funded by EMI Oxford. 
I have published in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Journal of Second Language Writing, TESOL Quarterly, Higher EducationStudies in Higher Education, and System, am an editor of Doing Research in Applied Linguistics: Realities, Dilemmas and Solutions (2017, Routledge), an author of Data Collection Methods in Applied Linguistics (2019, Bloomsbury), an editor of The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (2020), and co-author of Challenges and Innovations in Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (2021, Routledge). I am currently Co-Editor for System.

Dr Elena Bárcena Madera, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain

The inclusive open online teaching of second languages for immediate needs

The concepts of topic relevance and inclusion require special attention in the domain of languages for special purposes on the part of the online teaching community. The standard contents of general-purpose language courses are usually inadequate for those people who need to communicate in the target language speaking community on their first arrival to the country. This partly explains the low popularity of these courses among displaced people, such as refugees and migrants, since they are at risk of suffering social exclusion and cannot count on other complementary forms of language training or support. They are often reluctant about the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of such courses in addressing their communicative requirements in a new country, given the differences with respect to those of other social and professional groups. However, it can be argued that displaced people can benefit from this type of second language courses when they are designed to cover their immediate needs of being linguistically self-sufficient and functional in a host country. The availability, flexibility, and lack of costs of MOOCs for students make them an ideal pedagogical modality for displaced people. However, dropout rates are extraordinarily high on these courses. The plethora of causes identified so far include feelings of detachment and isolation on the part of the course participants and the social, learning and digital cultural divide between them and the course developers. Such feelings may be particularly intense due to complex life conditions and emotional trauma often present in displaced people. Making an online course inclusive both in form and content appears to be a solution to improve course satisfaction and the associated completion rates. A number of linguistic resources and teaching practices that may impact both group exclusion and individual discrimination have been identified, therefore, based on principles and categories from Appraisal Theory. These resources and practices fulfill a double formative goal in second language MOOCs thanks to the strategies used by the teachers and facilitators to address the course participants.  Since language is both the means and the end of such courses, its explicit inclusive nature not only has a direct supporting effect on the students but also serves as a model for them to emulate, causing it to be propagated in their daily communicative situations, both online and face-to-face.