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Teacher Professional Vulnerability under EMI Contexts in Taiwan

Cynthia Tsui
National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan


Higher education has become a tradable commodity as globalization turns universities worldwide into players vying for visibility and student enrollment. To attract international talents while encouraging students’ transnational mobility, English-medium instruction (EMI) programs have mushroomed in the past decade for higher education institutions to uphold their global standing (Dafouz & Smit, 2021; Sahan, Rose, and Macaro, 2021). The current study reports on an experimental EMI program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at a national university in Taiwan. Based on the conceptual framework of teacher professional vulnerability proposed by Lasky (2005), interview data, among data collected for a larger study, from six faculty members and five students who had participated in the EMI program were analyzed. Findings reveal that the more interactions there are between teachers and students in an EMI class, the more openness and rapport would be built in class to support learning. Teachers’ openness about their vulnerability helps develop a trusting and safe learning environment in which students are less likely to perceive their own struggles as a threat. Instead, teachers’ authentic openness validates students’ learning difficulties and helps build empathy towards each other. Pedagogical implications with respect to EMI teacher development and future research are also discussed.


English medium instruction (EMI), teacher professional vulnerability, class interaction, higher education, Taiwan

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023