Supporting non-native university lecturers with English-medium instruction

Satu Tuomainen (University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 2 July 2018



The purpose of this paper is to describe a support course for English-medium instruction (EMI) which continues to expand in European higher education (HE). While the phenomenon of teaching through English is not novel, support for university teachers appears to remain limited despite recognised challenges of EMI such as language proficiency and pedagogical considerations.


In the course non-native university lecturers in Finland were provided a course to practice various elements of English for academic purposes and receive feedback on their teaching. A pre-course needs analysis was used to determine the main causes for EMI concerns with non-native lecturers, and which elements of English they wished to develop during the course. The course itself consisted of six joint meetings, followed by individual teaching demonstrations, and concluded with a post-course analysis.


Findings suggest that Finnish university lecturers were pre-course most concerned about the accuracy, fluency and pronunciation of their academic English. Based on the post-course analysis, the most beneficial elements of the EMI support course were the reflective discussions about EMI, the language practice and receiving individual feedback.

Practical implications

The study suggests that support courses for university lecturers involved with EMI should not cover only language but allow lecturers to share their concerns and experiences and to practice in authentic teaching situations in English.


This study describes a pedagogically effective method to assist and encourage lecturers in HE to the use of English in their instruction.



Tuomainen, S. (2018), "Supporting non-native university lecturers with English-medium instruction", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 230-242.

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