University Students and Instructors’ Attitudes towards English Medium Instruction Courses: Voices from Iran

Ali Derakhshan, Mahboubeh Rakhshanderoo, Samantha Curle

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For over the past 20 years, internationalization and globalization have become buzzwords in many universities. English-Medium Instruction (EMI) has been used as one of the main means to respond to these trends. Alongside the rapid adoption of EMI, a huge number of research works have been conducted on the (re)definition of EMI, on both challenges and opportunities of EMI, on the personal and contextual factors for success or failure of EMI, and on the efficiency of EMI. Against the backdrop of these global trends, Iranian universities seem to be left behind. Persian is almost inclusively being used as the medium of instruction at Iranian universities. Nevertheless, the potential implementation of EMI at Iran’s universities and the attitudes of university students and instructors toward the use of EMI have been addressed in a scant number of studies. To shed more light on the growing applicability of EMI, the present study explored the status quo of EMI in Iran’s context through a qualitative study at four Iranian universities. Employing open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, the data were gathered from 12 university students and 12 instructors to better understand their attitudes toward EMI. Implementing inductive content analysis, participants’ responses were codified and interpreted. The results of the content analysis indicated that along with several opportunities offered by EMI courses, participants encountered some severe challenges, which were mainly caused by their inadequate English proficiency. The results also demonstrated that most participants held university administrators responsible for the challenges of EMI courses. To them, in order to reduce the challenges of EMI courses, university administrators should revisit the way EMI courses are being administered at Iranian universities. The findings of the study are expected to help administrators and stakeholders to plan for internationalization strategies considering EMI by determining the possible advantages and/or disadvantages in Iran’s context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnglish-Medium Instruction in Higher Education in the Middle East and North Africa: Policy, Research and Practice
EditorsSamantha Curle, Holi Ibrahim Holi Ali, Awad Alhassan, Sergio Saleem Scatolini
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
ISBN (Print)9781350238541
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2021


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