English Medium Instruction in a Japanese Global 30 University

James Mckinley

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Japan’s Ministry of Education (MEXT) first acknowledged the shift from traditional EFL goals to ELF goals a decade ago in recognition of the rise of English as a global means of communication. The move to prepare Japan to use ELF in a globalized world has manifested in a number of MEXT initiatives in recent years. In one large initiative, university programs conducted entirely in English have emerged across the country as part of the “Global 30” (G30) project, in a bid to attract international students into the Japanese higher education sector—creating new communities for ELF usage in Japanese universities that rarely existed before.

This study utilized classroom observations and interviews with five different university instructors lecturing in a G30-selected Japanese university. This study specifically focused on elements of both English Medium Instruction (EMI) as well as Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in order to target possible issues related to students’ language support needs.

Data were analyzed to evaluate criticisms of the G30 project (e.g. Burgess, 2010; Hashimoto, 2013), including a lack of integration of local and international students in the program due to perceived linguistic and cultural barriers. Data are also discussed in relation to other EMI studies that highlight the difficulty students face in such programs, which sometimes result in students dropping such classes and even the university altogether (Selzer and Gibson, 2009).

Regarding CLIL, the findings suggest that a better balance of content and language focus and more adequate language support is needed in order to effectively use English as the medium of instruction in this lingua franca setting. In terms of EMI and the G30 initiative, it is clear that better collaboration between programs is also needed in order for the G30 project to succeed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Sept 2014
EventInternational Conference of English as a Lingua Franca - The American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
Duration: 4 Sept 20146 Sept 2014
Conference number: 7


ConferenceInternational Conference of English as a Lingua Franca
Abbreviated titleELF
Internet address


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