Special Issue - The Impact of the Use of English as Medium of Instruction on Classroom Interaction


Guest Editors:

David Lasagabaster, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain

Aintzane Doiz, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain

English-medium instruction (EMI) is mushrooming in higher education institutions all over the world, as it is considered to be a pillar of the internationalization process in which universities are deeply immersed. The implementation of EMI programmes involves the change of the language of instruction from the students’ and teachers’ L1 to English as a foreign language, which directly impinges on classroom interaction. In fact, studies (e.g. Doiz & Lasagabaster, 2021) reveal that in many contexts classroom exchanges are limited to a few words or short sentences and dialogic lectures are conspicuously unusual. Language proficiency tends to become the main stumbling block that hampers classroom interaction (Konakahara, Murata, & Iino, 2019). Students are reluctant to participate in class mainly due to their lack of confidence in their English that leads to a feeling of discomfort at speaking before their classmates (Evans & Morrison, 2011). Similarly, English proficiency becomes one of EMI lecturers’ main concern, especially spoken fluency and informal interaction skills (Helm and Guarda, 2015).

The limitation of student-teacher interaction entails considerable risks because it may affect content learning. If the stakeholders are unable to express their ideas in English and EMI courses become less interactive, the development of the students’ general and subject-related competences and the construction of students’ knowledge abilities may be negatively affected. Interestingly, whereas classroom interaction has been widely researched in secondary education, there is limited data at the tertiary level (Macaro, 2018). In an attempt to fill this gap and shed some light on classroom talk, the articles gathered in this special issue aim at analyzing interaction from different perspectives that include the role of translanguaging or the teaching mode (face-to-face versus online teaching) in such interactions, as well as how different variables such as motivation, anxiety or pronunciation influence this process. Last but not least, the role to be played by team-teaching and teacher training in improving classroom interaction will also be examined.

Keywords: interaction, translanguaging, face-to-face teaching, online teaching, pronunciation, motivation, anxiety, team-teaching, teacher training


Doiz, A., & Lasagabaster, D. (2021). Analysing EMI teachers’ and students’ talk about language and language use. In D. Lasagabaster, & A. Doiz (Eds.), Language Use in English-Medium Instruction at University: International Perspectives on Teacher Practice (pp. 34–55). Routledge.

Evans, S., & Morrison, B. (2011). The student experience in English-medium higher education in Hong Kong. Language and Education, 25(2), 147–162.

Helm, F., & Guarda, M. (2015). “Improvisation is not allowed in a second language”: A survey of Italian lecturers’ concerns about teaching their subjects through English. Language Learning in Higher Education, 5(2), 353–373.

Konakahara, M., Murata, K., & Iino, M. (2019) English-medium instruction in a Japanese university: Exploring students’ and lecturers’ voices from an ELF perspective. In K. Murata (Ed.), English-Medium Instruction from an English as a Lingua Franca Perspective: Exploring the Higher Education Context (pp. 157–175). Routledge.

Macaro, E. (2018) English Medium Instruction: Content and Language in Policy and Practice. Oxford University Press.