English-medium higher education: dilemma and problems
Eurasian Journal of Educational Research
Ani Publishing, Ani Yayincilik
97 - 110
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Problem statement: "Non-English speaking" countries have no choice but to learn English in order to survive in the international market. Establishing English-medium higher education institutions is one of the educational policies that has been adopted by countries like Turkey, in order to provide a greater advantage for the country in the international market. The purpose of the study: This research was conducted at an English-medium university located in a non-English speaking country in order to assess its effectiveness at the university level from the perspective of students and instructors. The research surveyed the perspectives of the students and instructors based on their rate of foreign language proficiency and their attitudes toward English-medium education. Their recommendations were also gathered to help improve the system. Methods: Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed for data collection and analysis. The research was conducted using a random sampling from a population of 1011 students and 117 instructors. A balanced percentage (10%) of the student and the instructor population, from each faculty, was included in the study. Data was gathered through two sets of questionnaires consisting of closed and open-ended questions. Multiple choice and the Likert Scale format (1 to 5) were used for the closeended questions. Both the instructor’s and student’s questionnaires were prepared in their mother tongue in order to obtain more detailed information. The data was subjected to a quantitative (descriptive) and qualitative (content) analysis Results: The results show that students feel disadvantaged during their college years, due to a self-perceived low language proficiency. Both the students and the instructors believe that if the system is improved it will provide great benefits to the whole university student population, not only in Turkey but in all EU Countries. Conclusions and recommendations: In order to reconcile the instructor’s misgivings, as well as enhance student performance, a middle ground should be found at which students can reach their potential. Therefore, it is recommended that special text be prepared for English-medium educational programs, or for any other language being used in a nonnative environment. It should integrate subject matter, English text, and native language supplemental explanations. Lectures, class discussion, and testing should continue in English, thus retaining the prime advantages of immersion learning techniques. In this way, a student will find ease in continuing to read and communicate concepts in a foreign language. Further, Turkey should expand its language education by promoting the acquisition of a second language in order to have a head start on its own ascension into the global community, modeling itself on the EU aspirations for a majority of their citizens to speak two foreign languages.