A critical perspective on the use of english as a medium of instruction at universities

Elana Shohamy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The use of ‘other’ (foreign, second) languages as medium of instruction has become a widespread phenomenon in the past decade in various educational contexts and settings worldwide. In general the approach applies to situations in which academic content, in a number of subjects (e.g. humanities, science), is being taught via languages which are not the native languages of the students but rather via the languages they seek to acquire. The approach is implemented in all levels of schooling, pre-school, elementary (early and late), secondary and especially tertiary. Content based instruction is a general category that embeds a highly complex phenomenon as it covers a variety of language educational practices (Hu, 2008). Some examples include CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), partial immersion and full immersion (where the whole curriculum is being taught in other languages). The approach refers also to programs where students learn via different languages than those used at home or at their community and to situations where immigrants engage in programs where the language of instruction is different than their home languages and the languages they used in schools in the countries where they came from.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish-Medium Instruction at Universities
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Challenges
PublisherChannel View Publications
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781847698162
ISBN (Print)9781847698148
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2012


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