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English as an academic lingua franca in Estonia: students’ a

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Josep Soler-Carbonell

on 24 February 2014

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Transcript of English as an academic lingua franca in Estonia: students’ a

English as an academic lingua franca in Estonia: students’ attitudes and ideologies
Introduction and background
Language and internationalisation: Basic features of the Estonian higher education system
our study
The globalization of education. An increased use of English as an academic lingua franca.
A focus on Estonia: important changes since 1991.
Specific questions:
1) Proportion of EMI courses. Variation in level of studies (BA vs MA) and field of specialisation.
2) Attitudes towards EMI.
3) Difficulty of learning in EMI.
Important and very deep changes in the last two decades.
Internationalisation of HE in Estonia
Tallinn University
Josep Soler-Carbonell and
Hakan Karaoglu

EMI: a complex question, beyond pedagogical issues.
HE: an important domain for 'medium-sized' language communities.
Many questions still to be answered regarding issues of internationalisation of higher education, and the English language in particular.
Our broad question: how do university students in Estonia perceive EMI?

1990: 6 public universities
2004: 49 institutions of HE
2013: 34 institutions of HE
Tuition-fee paying students:
7% in 1993
49% in 2011
Born 1919 as Tallinn Teachers' Seminar
Becomes TLU in 2005
19 Institutes (Departments)
6 Colleges
10 000 students
1 000 employees
500 academics
2,7% foreign students (degree students)
8,7% foreign researchers
5 BA degrees in EMI / 56 in Estonian
11 MA degrees in EMI / 59 Estonian
Online survey early autumn 2013
60 items
N=185 respondents
N=129 Estonians (70%)
N=94 female
N=79 BA students
N=60 Social Sciences
N=30 Arts and Humanities
N=13 Pedagogical Studies
N=24 Natural and Health Sciences
N=121 L1 Estonian
N=93 <25 y.o.
3 Focus group discussions and 2 in-depth interviews.
Social Sciences
in-depth interview with Jaanika
“My academic language is English”
: Right now I can switch from English to Estonian as quickly as possible, I don’t even have to think about it. However, my academic language is English, and that made it so much harder for me to write in academic Estonian, because I am not familiar with the concepts. So that’s really hard for me.
The “problem” with translation
: My problem is, my biggest problem is, how can I, if I have to argue and summarize other people’s thoughts and ideas and then put it into Estonian, how can I do that if I don’t have any training as to how to translate? Lost in translation is a big problem, because the words can mean a lot of different things, and if you are not an expert in the content, then there can be big misunderstandings, especially in philosophy, political theory… so, I understand it, but I can’t put it into Estonian because I don’t know these words and structures. So that’s my problem.
Discussion and Conclusions
1) A shortage of EMI courses
the difficulty of introducing them
2) A very positive attitude and demand for more of them by students
the historical context
3) The Language: a key question
a call for a needs-based analysis and evidence-based policies
Full transcript