The Impact of EMI on ELT Professional Development





Brown, Sarah J.
Clinton, Alison J.

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Asociación Nacional Universitaria de Profesores de Inglés



In this paper, it is our intention to discuss the history of CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) and EMI (English Medium Instruction) training at our university and explain how this has led us to realize that there are two possible areas for professional development for the English language teacher (ELT). EMI potentially provides an opportunity for the ELT to become an English language expert (ELE) accompanying EMI instructors or to become an EMI instructor. We consider the steps we have taken in order to foment content classes in English as a means to increasing internationalized education across faculty. The instruction of content courses in English at the higher education level has been the focus of our particular interest for the past few years at our university and the Language Department has been involved in this part of the university’s internationalization project. The university’s interest in raising its international profile has been top-of-mind for some time now. Not only are the authority figures anxious to improve the university rankings, but they are also interested in attracting foreign students to come to Guadalajara to learn Spanish as a foreign language while they continue studying for credits in their undergraduate programs. These credit-bearing classes, which they study in departments such as mathematics, administration, engineering and so on, are taught in English. The content courses in English (EMI classes) are attended by both foreign and Mexican students, thus providing an international experience for both. Some of the EMI lecturers are native English speakers, but the vast majority are Mexican and English is their second language. Over the years, the university has provided several opportunities for CLIL/EMI training. Faculty members who have undergone this training have realized that EMI requires a change in the instructional methods typically used in a higher education setting. Taking a content class in a language that is not the student’s first language implies a greater challenge; therefore, how these classes are given is crucial. Scaffolding learning is of vital importance in order to make input accessible for the students and to help them achieve the required academic production (class related assignments such as, essays, summaries, reports, presentations, discussions in English). This scaffolding process is familiar to the English language teacher but may not be to the EMI instructor; therefore, this is an area of support provided by the ELE. We go on to discuss the importance of this ELE working alongside the faculty instructor to train, advise, observe, and give feedback and support. Becoming an ELE advisor for EMI instructors is one possible area for professional development. The second area of opportunity that we envision is that of the language professional looking at their own background to appreciate if they have a future as a possible EMI lecturer, especially if their first area of academic study is unrelated to a languages background. This paper provides real-life examples of English language teachers in this role at our university.

Palabras clave

EMI (English Medium Instruction), internationalization, ELE (English Language Expert), CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), paradigm shift, disciplinary discourse, STEM (science, technology, economics, mathematics), scaffolding input, ELT (English Language Teaching) pedadogy, ELT methodology, professional development, education, Mexico, teacher training


Brown, S. and Clinton, A (2020). The Impact of EMI on ELT Professional Development. Towards Greater Professionalization in Language Teaching, Vol.18, México: ANUPI.