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Centre for Global Englishes

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Decolonising English in higher education: Investigating issues of empowerment, access, socio-cultural diversity and global citizenship in English language teaching in multilingual universities

Widening Participation Research Grant, the British Council, 2021-22

Lead researchers: Will Baker and Sonia Moran Panero, University of Southampton

Partner institutions: Prince of Songkla University, Thailand; Hue University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam; University of Al-Qadisyiah, Iraq; Universidad de Quintana Roo, Mexico; Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Funding awarded: £190,009 

The huge rise in the use of English as a global lingua franca is reflected in the rapid spread of English language teaching (ELT) globally including in higher education (HE). Both HE and English are seen as vehicles for opportunities and success with the aim to produce graduates who, as ‘global citizens’, share a common language enabling them to communicate and move across cultures and borders. Furthermore, English is increasingly core to HE through entry and exit exams and compulsory ELT courses. However, there are issues with access to ELT and colonial ideologies associating English with Anglophone settings. In many societies, English is perceived as a language of the elite with quality ELT only available to wealthier students, risking excluding others and further exacerbating existing inequalities. Moreover, persistent ideologies that associate English with Anglophone countries may disempower, rather than empower, those who use English as a lingua franca in multilingual settings, where English use is typically very different from an idealised and limiting monolingual standard native variety. This study will investigate ELT in HE with five case studies of under-researched linguistically and culturally diverse ODA eligible contexts (Colombia, Mexico, Iraq, Thailand, Vietnam) where the importance of English has grown significantly. We seek to uncover the extent to which English is able to bring together and empower students from diverse and often marginalised communities and whether ELT recognises the potential of English as an empowering multilingual franca for intercultural communication or instead maintains a disempowering colonial orientation towards monolingual Anglophone ideologies.

Click here for the recording of the first project colloquium on Decolonising ELT in higher education. 



British Council - New Connections in EMI Turkey Research Partnership Fund 2020

Lead Institution, PI and Turkish team: Yasemin Kırkgöz and Ali Karakas, Çukurova University and Gaziantep University, Turkey

Partner UK university: Dr Sonia Moran Panero, University of Southampton

Funding awarded (£14,000)

“Classroom discourse in EMI courses in Turkey: on the dynamics of translanguaging practices”

As English has become the most widely preferred language and a prestigious choice for education providers and policy-makers, many universities have begun to offer programmes taught entirely in English to compete with each other (Doiz, Lasagabaster & Sierra, 2012).  Choices around the medium of instruction are crucial as they influence students’ comprehension of content, perception of the standards of education and the efficiency of academic tasks. While multilingual students tend to benefit from exploiting their full multilingual repertoires to make sense of their subject, lecturers in Turkish EMI programmes have been observed to insist on English-only teaching models, largely due to policy-related issues (Karakaş, 2016) and the perceived need to avoid ‘wrongdoing’ (Garcia, 2009). However, enforcing monolingual English policy has been associated to issues such as missing critical information, low student participation, requiring more time for comprehension, and a potential negative knock-on effect on learner motivation (Kırkgöz 2014). This project sets out to investigate the dynamics of multilingual EMI classrooms at different departments of social and hard sciences at Çukurova University and Gaziantep University, Turkey. It will investigate the extent to which visible translanguaging practices take place, with which effects and functions, and the attitudes of learners and lecturers towards these practices.


Developing Global Citizens:
Student experiences of intercultural education

Researchers: Jill Doubleday, Will Baker, Alison Dickens, Amina Lechkhab
Picking up on the University of Southampton’s strategic aim of developing “graduates who are confident global citizens,” research has shown that students have an interest in global citizenship and developing the associated intercultural communication skills. However, they are unsure what the university offers with this, and frequently fail to access appropriate courses and training.   This research aims to find out what students think of the university’s provision to help them develop as global citizens. 
The project aims to:
-Compile an overview of all the courses and training events offered by the university in relation to global citizenship and intercultural communication.
-Find out what global citizenship and intercultural communication courses and training students have attended, what they thought of it, and what they would like to see offered.
-Offer guidance to staff seeking to better align their own teaching to contribute to the university’s strategy of developing confident global citizens.
-Funding: University of Southampton CHEP Teaching Enhancement Fund 2020


British Council English Language Teaching Research Partnership Awards.  From English language learners to Intercultural Citizens: Chinese student sojourners development of intercultural citizenship in ELT and EMI programmes

Researchers: Will Baker and Fan (Gabriel) Fang
Final Report can be found here.
The intercultural dimensions of language learning and use having risen in prominence as both ELT and higher education become increasingly international.  Most recently this has been conceptualised through intercultural citizenship education which aims to produce students who are able to function successfully in intercultural situations across multiple communities from the local to the global. However, most discussions are currently at the theoretical level. There is a lack of empirical evidence documenting the extent to which English language learning and use among international students in English medium instruction (EMI) programmes at international universities  leads to the hoped for development of intercultural citizenship. To address this gap this research aims to explore: the degree to which students feel ELT has prepared them for the intercultural aspects of student mobility and EMI; what their perceptions are of English learning and use in ELT and EMI; how both of these relate to their development of intercultural citizenship; and the implications for ELT before, during and after study-abroad. This research will focus on Chinese study-abroad students as the largest group of international students in the UK and a major group of ELT learners. Data will be collected in China and the UK from students before, during and after their study-abroad experiences through questionnaires, interviews and focus groups. The study aims to inform effective practice in ELT to prepare students for student mobility, to support them during EMI and to enable them to develop as globally connected and responsible intercultural citizens.   
In this study we aim to gain a better understanding of Chinese international students’ experiences of learning and using English both in China and the UK. In particular we aim to document and explore:
·         the extent to which students feel ELT has prepared them for the intercultural aspects of student mobility and EMI;
·         what their perceptions are of English learning and use in ELT and EMI;
·         how both of these relate to their development (or not) of a sense of intercultural citizenship;
·         the implications of the above for ELT (including EAP, ESP) teaching before, during and after study abroad. 


Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grant
English as an ASEAN lingua franca: Implications for language education policy and practice

The research workshop aims to explore alternative perspectives to understanding English based on Global Englishes and English as a lingua franca research and the implications this has for language policy and classroom practices. The workshop will allow established scholars and early career researchers from Thailand and the UK to discuss work in this area and consider more sustainable (economically and socially), locally relevant approaches to language ideology, language policy, and language teaching, with the aim of bringing about long-term changes in Thai education. The workshop will bring together a team (Dr Will Baker, Prof Jennifer Jenkins & Dr Julia Hüttner) with international expertise in English as a lingua franca and English language teaching from the Centre for Global Englishes at the University of Southampton and  a team with a wealth of local expertise from Kasetsart University, Thailand, led by Dr Navaporn Snodin. This is scheduled to take place over 4 days in January 2018 in Bangkok. Further details can be downloaded with the application form at the bottom of this page. 



Research into English Medium Instruction (EMI) in Higher Education

Because research into EMI in international university settings is the primary focus of many CGE members' research, we have established a CGE research group devoted to this topic. Members of the Centre's new subgroup will continue to conduct their individual research into EMI in global Englishes contexts such as China, Japan, Latin America, Mainland Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the UK. They will also contribute to the larger Diamond Jubilee Fellowship project in which we are collaborating with Prof Anna Mauranen and her team at the University of Helsinki as well as colleagues at universities in other countries including China, Japan, and the Netherlands. We anticipate that the project will result in at least one edited volume and conference, and that CGE will be recognised as a key world site for research into EMI. Below are examples of current research being conducted in this area.


Linguistic diversity on the international campus

This three year project is funded by the Universities of Southampton and Helsinki, and directed by Jennifer Jenkins and Anna Mauranen. It involves nine teams of researchers in nine universities, one each in: Australia, China, Finland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Spain, UK. The overall aim is to compare and contrast language-related and particularly English language-related issues across the nine institutions. Each team is taking an ethnographic case study approach, and asking the following research questions:
1. To what extent do language practices correspond to stated language polices in the partner institutions? In particular to what extent are other languages than English used/accepted? What kinds of English are use/accepted? What evidence is there of intercultural communicative competence?
2. What are the overt/covert English language expectations of/made of students and staff, and how far do students and staff feel they meet these?
3. What similarities, differences, and implications from questions 1 and 2 emerge across the nine research settings? Are there any particularly noticeable differences between the EMI (non English mother tongue) and English dominant (English mother tongue) settings, and/or across the five EMI settings or across the two English dominant settings?
Data types will include the following:
Documents, e.g. staff development documents, student handbooks, examiner reports, assignment feedback, interviews with home and international students and staff, observation of lectures and seminars, linguistic landscapes.
The outputs of the project will be:
An edited volume to which members of each team will contribute chapters, planned for publication in 2017.

 Dr Will Baker
Dr Will Baker


“Without English this is just not possible…”:
Studies of language policy and practice in international universities from Europe and Asia

Researchers: Will Baker and Julia Hüttner
Summary: Over the last decade there has been a huge increase in the number of English medium instruction (EMI) programmes offered in higher education institutes (HEI) in non-Anglophone settings, particularly at post-graduate level (OECD, 2010). At the same time the number of international students at HEI in Anglophone countries continues to rise at unprecedented pace ( Such HEIs in both Anglophone and non-Anglophone settings can thus be viewed as part of a network of international universities facing similar issues in offering EMI programmes. While linguistic issues have been part of the EMI discussion in non-Anglophone settings, many questions still remain unanswered and in Anglophone settings there has generally been minimal concern with linguistic issues. Furthermore, there is currently little comparative research undertaken in EMI. Therefore, this study aims to compare English language policy and practice in three EMI settings in the UK, Europe and Asia. 
This study will take a post-normative approach in which second language users of English, or rather users of English as a lingua franca, will be seen as successful communicators within their disciplinary domains, rather than ‘deficient native speakers’; the linguistic practices and policy will be investigated holistically and related to wider sociocultural practices and issues. There will be a focus on:
a. The role English performs within these learning environments, including its relationship to other languages.
b. Participants’ language beliefs, attitudes and ideology towards and about English.
c. Language policies (formal and informal) and the impact of these on linguistic practices.
d. Comparisons between UK, European and Asian EMI programmes
Funding: Adventures in Research, University of Southampton, 2014-15

Professor Jennifer Jenkins


English as a Lingua Franca in the International University.
The politics of academic English language policy.

Researcher: Jennifer Jenkins
Summary: Jennifer Jenkins is currently carrying out research, both individually and with Felix Maringe (Southampton) and Ursula Wingate (King’s College London) into English language policies and practices in English medium universities. The aims of her project are firstly, to explore the extent of the role played by native English norms at a time when English has become a global academic lingua franca; and secondly, to assess the impact of current policies and practices on international students’ self esteem and academic identities, and on native English students’ and staff’s intercultural awareness and communication skills.
The research draws on interview and focus group data collected from various parts of the world, questionnaire surveys, and university web searches. The findings will be published by Routledge in 2013 in Jenkins’s next monograph, English as a Lingua Franca in the International University. The politics of academic English language policy.


Using online learning objects to develop intercultural awareness in ELT: a critical evaluation in a Thai higher education setting.

Researcher: Will Baker
Summary: E-learning offers many new pedagogic opportunities as well as challenges but while it has grown in prominence, it is still far from a normalised part of English Language Teaching (ELT). Similarly, the importance of the cultural dimension in ELT has also gained in importance. However, the use of English as a truly global language, going beyond the traditional ‘native speaker’ English countries, has raised concerns about how users of English are able to cope with the variety of contexts and interlocutors they may encounter. One approach to answering this challenge has been the inclusion among the goals of ELT of intercultural communication skills and the knowledge and attitudes associated with ‘intercultural awareness’ (ICA).
This study will investigate and evaluate the benefits of an online course in intercultural communication and ICA for a group of English language learners in a higher education institute in Thailand. The research aims to produce insights concerning the use of new technologies in online courses to help develop intercultural awareness among English language learners, equipping them for the demands of English as a global language. The research will be conducted in partnership with Silpakorn University in Thailand.
The full report can be downloaded here
Funding: British Council English Language Teaching Research Partnership Awards, September 2010-September 2011.


Multilingualism in English as a Lingua Franca: combining sociolinguistics and cognitive perspectives.

Researcher: Alessia Cogo  
Summary: This project investigates how speakers use various multilingual practices in ELF computer-mediated communication. While the fields of Multilingualism and ELF have been extensively researched in various settings, only a limited number of studies have so far been conducted on the use of multilingual resources in the context of English practices. Furthermore, this project attempts at combining sociolinguistic and cognitive approaches by exploring two crucial phenomena. The first, code-switching, where speakers make use of other languages in their communication, is one of the overt practices used by multilingual speakers. The second is the use of cognates, i.e. words from related languages which are similar and go back to a common source, which is a more covert or cognitive manifestation of multilingualism. The data comes consists of synchronous computer-mediated communication collected at information Technology agencies working with customers from various parts of the world. This project aims to produce insights into the potential of multilingualism in ELF online communication.
Funding: Adventures in Research, University of Southampton, 2012-2013

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