Interview with Emma Dafouz and Ute Smit

Authors of ROAD-MAPPING English Medium Education in the Internationalised University

1. What was the impetus behind your recent book “ROAD-MAPPING English Medium Education in the Internationalised University”?Dafouz and Smit Nov 2019

Given the exponential growth of the use of English in higher education across the globe, we wanted to argue in detail for our ROAD-MAPPING framework. This model aims to provide a comprehensive theoretical understanding of the different and inter-related factors that come into play when engaging in English-medium education.


2. In the book, you use the term EME—English-Medium Education—rather then the more commonly used EMI. Can you tell us why you chose to use EME and do you hope that the use of EME will become more widespread?

We think that EMI only tells half the story. It does not explicitly refer to education in its entirety, neither does it specify the level of education nor the multilingual nature of most present-day universities. That’s why we prefer the more transparent EMEMUS, which in fact is proposed in our book. EMEMUS stands for English-medium education in multilingual university settings and clarifies the focus and the educational contexts.


3. What is ROAD-MAPPING?

ROAD-MAPPING is a framework to describe and analyze instances of EMEMUS. It consists of six dimensions, which following the acronym are: Roles of English (in relation to other languages), Academic Disciplines, Language Management, Agents, Practices and Processes and Internationalization and Glocalization. Such dimensions are complex in themselves, independent and at the same time interconnected in a dynamic way. At the centre of the framework, overlapping all six dimensions, we place discourse(s) as the access point for examination of EMEMUS realities.


4. How do you hope that the ROAD-MAPPING framework will be used in the future?

Fundamentally, we hope that the framework will entice other applied linguists to try out the viability of the model in other settings. Interdisciplinary collaboration would also be very welcome, engaging other participants such as university management and content specialists. Such cooperation would help to expand the applied linguistic perspective, thus developing the theorization further towards a truly holistic framework. While our focus is on tertiary education, we have come across examples of ROAD-MAPPING being employed in other educational settings too, such as vocational training or primary education. In this regard, we are curious to see in how far ROAD-MAPPING can be adapted to such different scenarios.


5. In which direction do you think future research on EME and EMI should go?

Actually, we do not see the need to be prescriptive about where research should go. People will ultimately investigate what is relevant to their setting. What we think is crucial, nevertheless, is a clear and comprehensive discussion of the educational settings examined. We believe that situated accounts of EMEMUS realities are a necessary requirement for research to move forward and to be of real use to the stakeholders involved.

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