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Title: Stakeholders' attitudes towards English Medium of Instruction for academic subjects in the Japanese higher education context
Author: Curle, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 5751
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Universities around the globe are increasingly implementing English Medium of Instruction (EMI) language policies to teach degree programmes (at both Undergraduate and Graduate level) such as Business Administration, Law, Engineering, and Economics. Ostensibly this is to attract international students, to raise the university's global profile, and to increase the employability of their graduates. Research on whether such policies are perceived as effective by key stakeholders (professors and students) is vast, however, few studies have conducted a large-scale in-depth analysis in the Japanese context. This study therefore aims to fill this gap by examining key Japanese stakeholders' attitudes towards EMI. In doing this, this study makes three original contributions to knowledge: firstly, it is based in a highly under-researched context (Japan). Secondly, it aims to highlight the complexity of attitudes and the numerous dimensions affecting them, rather than pigeon holing attitudes as either positive or negative. Finally, this study makes a methodological contribution by developing an original, robustly validated research instrument to measure attitudes towards EMI in Higher Education (HE). The version developed here is named the Japanese English Medium of Instruction Attitude Scale (JEMIAS). Although developed in Japan, this instrument can be adapted and used in various countries across the globe. Additionally, this instrument could be repeatedly deployed at various time points in order to measure change in attitudes over time. The JEMIAS was developed in two phases: exploratory interviews were conducted with 24 students and 19 professors in order to elicit aspects of focus with regards to attitudes towards EMI. Emerging themes were categorised to create draft items for the pilot questionnaire (Phase 1). This questionnaire was piloted qualitatively with 19 professors and quantitatively with 189 students (Phase 2). Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to select items to form the final version of a valid, reliable attitude scale. This questionnaire was used to collect data for the main study (Phase 3) from 485 students and 57 professors. Follow-up semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 professors and 12 students. This mixed-methods inquiry focused on stakeholders in 6 Japanese universities that were participating in the 'Global 30 (G30) Project'. Concluded in 2014 and replaced with the 'Top Global University Project', this project was launched in 2009 to attract 300,000 international students to Japan by 2020. These universities offer courses and a portion of their degree programmes in English. Key findings were that participants' attitudes fluctuate depending on the topic being discussed and from whose perspective (e.g. professors discussing advantages for students versus professors discussing advantages for themselves). It was clear that for every advantage of EMI there was a disadvantage; resulting in a conundrum with which stakeholders are grappling. A unifying theme that arose was the need for EMI to be directed by students' wants and needs rather than by university/government policy alone. The four main predictor variables (i.e. Gender, Academic Subject, University Type, and Location) were not found to be main predictors of attitude. Instead, Self-Rated English Proficiency was found to be the strongest predictor of attitudes for both professors and students. A complex picture emerges when examining the details of how each predictor predicts each aspect of attitude; one which belies the sometimes simplistic solutions or positions taken by theorists and commentators.
Supervisor: Macaro, Ernesto Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Applied Linguistics