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The case for EMI-Local

Patrick Strefford1, Justin Harris2
1Kyoto Sangyo University, Kyoto, Japan. 2Kindai University, Osaka, Japan


This presentation will introduce the concept of ‘EMI-Local’, which the authors consider to be not only a practical approach, but the only effective way to implement English Medium Instruction (EMI) classes at the majority of institutions of higher education in Japan, and other similar contexts throughout Asia. While there has been a major policy push for EMI, and it has been adopted to varying degrees at the majority of universities in Japan, there are a number of factors that severely limit successful implementation that would result in positive learning outcomes for the students involved. Some of these factors are structural in nature and concern the practices and processes of the institutions themselves. Other factors are related to the individuals, which include not only the students, but also teachers. We outline these factors and explain how they have led us to conclude that ‘EMI-Local’ is the most effective approach to learning. To support our assertion, this research includes in-depth interviews with students who have, or are now, taking EMI classes at an institution of higher education in Japan.

In addition, within the academic community, the predominance of a linguistic focus within EMI theory and practice (Macaro, 2022) means that much of what is called EMI cannot in fact be EMI, which is an interdisciplinary approach to learning. EMI must be a combination of a focus on the non-language academic content area, as well as an appreciation of the learners as non-native speakers. We therefore call for a true interdisciplinary approach to EMI, which we term ‘EMI-Local’.


English Medium of Instruction

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023