Language use in an English-medium instruction university in Lebanon
Implications for the validity of international and local English tests for admissions
English-medium instruction (EMI) universities in non-English-dominant contexts often use internationally available tests of English (e.g., TOEFL) and/or locally developed tests to assess the academic English-language proficiency of applicants prior to admission. However, little research has been conducted to establish the extent to which either type of test reflects the real-world classroom discourse, and associated communicative demands, within these often multilingual educational contexts. In this paper, we report on one part of a larger study designed to address this research gap in a particular EMI environment – the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. We collected and analysed samples of language use at AUB through non-participant ethnographic observations and video recordings of eight undergraduate classes across academic disciplines. Findings indicated that classes were varied in nature, shifted between registers and levels of interaction, involved a range of translanguaging and English as a Lingua Franca-oriented phenomena, and included meta-commentary about language use. We argue that speaking and listening constructs in English-language admissions tests used in EMI contexts ideally need to be localised or locally developed to best match the unique language use characteristics of these settings.
Keywords: language assessment, language tests, university admissions, lecture discourse, domain analysis
- Research context
- Aims and research questions
- Sampling of classes
- Data collection procedures
- Translingual practices
- ELF-oriented practices
- Meta-commentary around language use
- Summary of findings
- Comparison with existing admissions tests
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American University of Beirut
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n.d.-b). Accreditation and reaccreditation. https://www.aub.edu.lb/accreditation/Pages/default.aspx
n.d.-c). English language requirements. https://www.aub.edu.lb/admissions/Pages/EnglishRequirements.aspx
n.d.-d). History. https://www.aub.edu.lb/AboutUs/Pages/history.aspx
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