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Language Status, Learning and Use Across Contexts
Policy and Practice

Abstract

Fostering skills development is one of the tenets of education. For a long time, the traditional binary teacher-student interaction was used as the sole approach to teaching and learning but it is now overwhelmingly regarded as insufficient. The present paper reports on an initiative based on the principles of peer learning. The discussion groups and one-to-one sessions in languages, facilitated by native speakers (NS) who are international students in the institution, were set-up to enable language learners to develop their oral skills. While the advantages of the activity for language learners are clear, it is not as easy to determine the benefits for the NS peer-facilitators. The study presents findings from questionnaires and interviews conducted with some of these NS peer-facilitators and discuss the reported impact of the initiative on these students. While personal growth and development of intercultural awareness feature strongly in the data analysis, an enhanced language learning experience and an influential factor in some participants’ educational and career paths are also revealed. These findings are explained with reference to relevant developments in the study abroad, volunteering and peer learning literature. We will conclude that the initiative is a positive tool for international students’ integration into the host institution and offers a novel way for them to socialise and engage in their new learning environment.

Abstract

This contribution reports on the use of genre-based instruction in developing students’ job search pitch skills in a Business English course taught at the tertiary level. The job search pitch (also referred to as personal branding pitch) is viewed as a subgenre of an elevator pitch; it is regarded as an essential communication tool to be mastered and used by students in future job search situations. Drawing on the available literature as well as the author’s own research and experience, the report demonstrates how the generic structure and rhetorical devices contributing to the realisation of the communicative function of job search pitch are incorporated in the job search module of an undergraduate Business English course taught at the University of Economics in Katowice. It also provides a brief account of students’ reflections and observations related to the usefulness of job search pitch skills and the challenges involved in their development.

Abstract

The importance and amount of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) usage and English Medium Instruction (EMI) lectures continue to increase on university campuses as universities worldwide seek to promote internationalization among both the student body and the faculty. While EMI has become a priority, the teaching and learning that occurs within this framework needs to be monitored for effectiveness and efficiency. Many of the teachers and students in these EMI courses do not share a common first language and likely have a first language other than English. Therefore, they are operating in EMI with varying levels of second language (L2) English ability, which can lead to low levels of student comprehension, learning and satisfaction unless the lecturer takes special care in their delivery of content. This paper explores the linguistic composition of EMI lectures in the Swedish context and reports survey findings of students’ self-reported levels of comprehension related to lecture content and their lecturer’s L2 English use. Three case studies are described and illustrate various linguistic factors that can contribute to or inhibit student comprehension in EMI lectures. Pedagogic implications are presented with the intention of supporting EMI lecturers and their students.