English Medium Instruction and the potential of translanguaging practices in higher education

Anna Dillon, Geraldine Chell, Jase Moussa-Inaty, Kay Gallagher, Ian Grey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the UAE, although Arabic is the first and official language (L1), English has become the medium of instruction and the language of discourse in higher education in most subject domains. The pedagogical implications of English Medium Instruction (EMI) in the specific context of higher education in the UAE are not well understood, and research is needed to establish what kinds of support speakers of English as a second or additional language (L2) might need to fully access content knowledge in English without burdening learning. Our empirical work hypothesizes that learning content through L2 may lead to more favourable results if the L1 is explicitly drawn upon as a resource in addition to the L2. This study provided undergraduate students with learning materials in three experimental conditions (Arabic-only, English-only, and dual language). Students' performance was then assessed in three areas of linguistic competence, namely translation into Arabic of a list of English words and phrases, comprehension of an English written text, and translation into Arabic of English words and phrases in context. A series of one way ANOVAs and post-hoc comparisons were carried out to determine differences between the three conditions. The study confirms that overall, for students with an intermediate language level, the presentation of dual language reading materials has a greater impact on their outcomes in comparison with the presentation of reading materials in the L1 or L2 only. This highlights the critical need for raising awareness of translanguaging practices in EMI contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-176
Number of pages24
JournalTranslation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 8 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual language texts
  • English Medium Instruction
  • Higher education
  • Pedagogy
  • Translanguaging
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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