EMI, CLIL, & CBI: Differing Approaches and Goals

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Howard Brown, The University of Niigata Prefecture; Annette Bradford, Meiji University

Around the world, the role of English in higher education is changing. Rather than just an object of study, English is now often the language of instruction. In Japan, universities are currently adopting content and language integrated learning (CLIL) and English-medium instruction (EMI), alongside longstanding content-based instruction (CBI) approaches, to convey academic content in English. However, a shared understanding of the goals and outcomes of these approaches has yet to emerge. We argue that key distinctions are based on the relative positions of language and content in learning objectives and assessment. In CBI, content is a vehicle for language learning: The goal is language learning and students are assessed on language performance. In EMI, learning outcomes are tied directly to the content: Language learning is neither planned for nor assessed. Between these extremes, CLIL is an integrated approach with varying degrees of focus on language and content learning.


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