Integrating Content and English-Language Learning in a Middle Eastern Information Technology College: Investigating Faculty Perceptions, Practices and Capabilities

Norman Williams, John Beachboard, Robert Bohning
InSITE 2016  •  2016  •  pp. 021-029
The expanding role of English as an international lingua franca has had considerable effects on higher education (HE) provision around the world. English has become the medium of choice for African HE, and its position as a medium of instruction in the Europe and Asia is strengthening (Coleman, 2006; HU, 2009). English-medium tertiary education is also commonplace in the Middle East including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the context of the present study, where the vast majority of courses at university-level are conducted in English (Gallagher, 2011). The increasing use of English-medium programs presents particular challenges for content-area faculty who are in effect called upon to provide disciplinary instruction to students who may not be adequately language proficient. Furthermore, discipline-specific faculty may find themselves sharing responsibility to further develop their students’ English language proficiency. Information technology related schools face unique challenges. A significant majority of IT faculty come from computer science/engineering backgrounds and speak English as a second or third language. Most courses emphasize the development of technical skills and afford relatively few opportuni-ties for writing assignments. While exploratory in nature, the study proposes to identify and evaluate practices that can help IT colleges better develop their students’ proficiency in English.
IT Education, English-medium university courses, English-medium teaching in higher education, multilingual language policy, content and language integrated learning (CLIL), STEM courses, English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
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