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Research project English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) programs have grown rapidly, yet, little is known about how this impacts the students´ writing skills.
The present dissertation aims to explore writing development in a group of master students. The learners’ writing development will be analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively, using different computational tools and video recordings to determine whether progress is made and how.
The use of English as a Medium of Instruction in higher education has grown in the last 20 years. Universities in non-English speaking countries are choosing to offer more and more courses in English. Given this trend, especially in European countries, it is important to analyze whether the expected outcomes are being met or not and to analyze what it means to the students in the practical level.
The question of whether EMI experiences will benefit the full range of linguistic skills, is one of practical importance, since the main pedagogical reasoning behind programs like this is the assumption that learning through another medium would enhance both language proficiency and academic knowledge. In summary, EMI programs have the potential to attend to the needs of the students in two large areas: Foreign language acquisition and content knowledge. This is important because universities are required to prepare their graduates with the competences to be proficient language users, have the disciplinary knowledge, and be able to function in the global labor market. Under this context, students who choose an English language program may assume that this would allow them to increase their scores on internationally recognized proficiency examples such as IELTS and TOEFL. Such exams test all four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking. A lack of programs in any area might produce a sense of disappointment due to unrealistic expectations about language acquisition while study abroad.
Despite the theoretical and practical interest of finding if the foreign writing skills improve during EMI programs, actual empirical evidence on writing development while studying in English is scarce. The present project aims to fill this void, assessing the writing development that occurs in a two-year master program. The overarching goal is to explore the benefits, or lack thereof, on the students writing ability in both first language and English. More specifically, the aims are:
1. To explore the writing development of EMI master students and the influence of using English outside academic settings in the texts and composition process.
2. To explore the students’ interactions in pre-writing discussions and their influence in the writing process and text quality.
The project aims to increase knowledge of writing development during the study period in an English program in both L1 and FL. While knowledge of writing skills is necessary for students to succeed in college and life, their development during the EMI program is still unclear, especially with a longitudinal approach that registers their writing at various points during a year. In addition, this project aims to work together to increase knowledge about the students 'interactions and the relationship with the students' written texts.