Exploring learner identities in English Medium Instruction (EMI) Programs: Experiences of bilingual university students in Hong Kong

Dr. Yiqi Liu

Assistant Professor
School of Education and Languages, The Open University of Hong Kong


Date: 7 March, 2018 (Monday)

Time: 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Venue: CPD 2.58, Jockey Club Tower



Recent research has documented the rapid growth in the number of secondary schools and universities adopting English as the medium of instruction (MOI) throughout Asia. While there has been a long research tradition in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and a rich literature on the analysis of research writing, the issue of how to support EMI university students has not featured prominently in the research literature. In this talk, the lived experiences of students studying in English Medium Instruction university programs are shared from the perspective of a group of bilingual university students at a large, self-funded university in Hong Kong. Drawing on the students’ narratives of their lived experiences of studying in an EMI program and learning to master academic writing in an applied linguistics course, the analysis reveals that students seem to be ascribing themselves multiple learner identities that are closely associated with their secondary school learning experience and influenced by dominant discourses about universities and secondary schools in Hong Kong. While on the one hand they acknowledged the co-existence of their multiple identities as a language learner, a content learner, and a critical learner, they made reference to their ability in doing EMI studies in relation to the medium of instruction in their secondary schools. Furthermore, it was found students’ learning strategies and outcomes in the EMI program were closely related to their self-ascribed learner identities. Taken together, the study points to the heterogeneous nature of learner identities implicated in the EMI program and the role of ideologies in the larger society about medium of instruction in mediating students’ EMI learning experience and learning strategies. The seminar also calls for a critical and pragmatic approach to understanding bilingual students’ needs in the EMI academic programs.


About the speaker:

Dr Yiqi Liu is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education and Languages, the Open University of Hong Kong and Honorary Assistant Professor in Technology-Enriched Learning Initiatives (TELI), The University of Hong Kong. She teaches and coordinates a variety of courses at both the BA/BEd and MEd levels and researches in discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and bilingual education, in particular content and language integrated learning (CLIL). She has been involved in collaboration with school teachers and university researchers on curriculum design and language education pedagogy in a number of national contexts and is currently the instructor of HKU’s Small Private Online Course (SPOC) “Critical Readings of Popular Culture”. Her recent publications have appeared in journals such as Discourse and Communication, Language and Education, Chinese Journal of Communication, International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.

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