European Journal of Language Policy

English-medium education in internationalised universities: sketching a way forward

Introduction to the special issue

European Journal of Language Policy (2021), 13, (2), 129–140.

Abstract

The increasing use of English as a medium of education (EME) in higher education has attracted an impressive amount of applied linguistic research, reflecting the pivotal role language plays in teaching and learning processes. This, however, stands in sharp contrast to the equally prolific body of research into the internationalisation of higher education (IoHE) in which the complex linguistic reality of EME - and its potential role in the internationalised classroom - is given little attention. Reviewing the current research and policy agenda, the authors find that the current policy climate offers similar opportunities for conceptual expansion of IoHE and EME, which calls for greater integration of the two fields of study. The authors argue for an interdisciplinary approach, recognising, and more holistically exploiting, the potential of language at the intersection of dynamic and multilayered policies and practices in twenty-first century internationalised higher education.

Die zunehmende Verwendung des Englischen als Unterrichtssprache (English-medium education, EME) in der Hochschulbildung hat eine beeindruckende Menge an angewandtlinguistischer Forschung hervorgebracht, in der die Schlüsselrolle der Sprache in Lehr- und Lernprozessen zum Ausdruck kommt. Dies steht jedoch in scharfem Kontrast zur ebenso umfangreichen Forschung zur Internationalisierung der Hochschulbildung (IoHE), in welcher der komplexen sprachlichen Realität von EME und ihrer potenziellen Rolle im internationalisierten Unterricht nur sehr wenig Aufmerksamkeit zuteil wird. Wenn man die aktuelle Forschungsagenda und strategischen Bemühungen der Hochschulen genauer betrachtet, stellt man jedoch fest, dass das derzeitige politische Klima ähnliche Möglichkeiten für eine konzeptionelle Erweiterung von IoHE und EME bietet. Die Autoren dieses Kapitels sprechen sich für eine stärkere Integration der beiden Forschungsbereiche aus, indem sie für einen interdisziplinären Ansatz plädieren, der das Potenzial der Sprache an der Schnittstelle dynamischer und vielschichtiger Strategien und Praktiken in der internationalisierten Hochschulbildung des 21. Jahrhunderts erkennt und ganzheitlicher nutzt.

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