English-Medium Instruction in Japan: Discussing Implications for Language Teaching

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Howard Brown, University of Niigata Prefecture

Reference Data:

Brown, H. (2016). English-medium Instruction in Japan: Discussing implications for language teaching. In P. Clements, A. Krause, & H. Brown (Eds.), Focus on the learner. Tokyo: JALT.

Over one third of Japanese universities offer undergraduate content classes taught in English. These classes are often designed for domestic students and serve less than 10% of the student body in most cases. Generally, these classes do not form full-degree programs taught in English; rather, most English-medium instruction (EMI) programs are a part of students’ mainly Japanese-medium degree. For language teaching and teachers, EMI seems to have implications in 4 areas. First, language teachers may have new roles as language programs implement EMI classes. Also, due to EMI, domestic learners engage with English differently, implying changing needs for language students. In addition, growing EMI also implies both more need and potential for communication between language and content faculty. Finally, the rising popularity of EMI in higher education may lead to positive washback on language teaching in secondary schools.