Internationalisation, multilingualism and English-medium instruction: the teachers’ perspective

Aintzane Doiz, David Lasagabaster, Juan Manuel Sierra.
World Englishes

In the newEuropean higher education space, Universities in Europe are exhorted to cultivateand develop multilingualism. The European Commission’s 2004–2006 action plan for promoting languagelearning and diversity speaks of the need to build an environment which is favourable to languages.Yet reality indicates that it is English which reigns supreme and has become the main foreign languageused as means of instruction at European universities. Internationalisation has played a key role in thisprocess, becoming one of the main drivers of the linguistic hegemony exerted by English. In this paper weexamine the opinions of teaching staff involved in English-medium instruction, from pedagogical ecologyof-language and personal viewpoints. Data were gathered using group discussion. The study was conductedat a multilingual Spanish university where majority (Spanish), minority (Basque) and foreign (English)languages coexist, resulting in some unavoidable linguistic strains. The implications for English-mediuminstruction are discussed at the end of this paper.