Teaching Toolbox


Teaching content courses using English as the medium of instruction

EMI (English Medium Instruction) is the practice of using the English language to teach academic subjects in countries where English is not the students’ first language is not English. Non-native English learners form a significant portion of the student body in English medium universities.

In an EMI context, it is crucial to approach classes a bit differently for effective content instruction. When students are learning content in a second language, they may not be able to process the information at the same rate as in their native language.  Although there are English proficiency level requirements to start faculty, it is inevitable that students will have varying levels of proficiency which presents challenges for both students and instructors. 

Traditionally, the students are held responsible for bringing their language proficiency to a level that will enable them to cope with the faculty. They need to practice academic skills and strategies such as note-taking to prepare for lectures. However, we must acknowledge the fact that they are still language learners and that they will need to keep on developing their language skills as L2 learners. As a result, EMI instructors need to be aware of this fact and modify their methods of delivering content, their rate and modes of speech to help boost students’ level of confidence, active engagement and comprehension.   

 This guideline aims to increase your awareness and provide practical strategies to enhance the comprehension and involvement of non-native English learners in your classes. The activities, strategies and tips in this section are aimed at helping learners and instructors minimise the challenges students might be facing when they are studying content in a language other than their mother tongue.