Context and justification
Based on the guidelines of the European Language Council and taking into account the demands of the labour market, university students and future graduates are required to have achieved language competence in foreign languages, English in particular. Undergraduate teaching in English entails, in turn, the requirement to have a comprehensive training programme for EMI teachers in order to meet their training needs.
For years, the University of Alicante has been carrying out an EMI programme by both offering courses in English and a training programme for teachers to improve their teaching skills in English. Through the UA Language Service, Language Centre, and Recruitment & Training Service, we offer both general language training to meet the CEFR levels and our Education Science Institute provides training for teaching in English.
Now we are taking a step forward to define the aspects that will make up our EMI teacher’s training. In this sense, we must bear in mind that university teaching must involve mastery of academic and professional language. In the case of English, the level of mastery required is adjusted to CEFR C1 level, in accordance with the CRUE recommendations in the Language Policy Framework Document for the internationalisation of the Spanish university system.
This is why the Office of the Vice President for Quality Assurance and Educational Innovation — within the context of the Institutional Programme on Innovation, Research, Internationalisation and Collaboration in Education (I3CE), 2016-2020 and through the Education Science Institute — has drawn up an action to promote teaching in English called ProF-tEAchIng-I3CE.
ProF-tEAchIng-I3CE was created with the aim of offering specific training to the University of Alicante academic and research staff in order to improve the teaching quality of the courses offered in English, a language currently widely used as a vehicle for communication and transmission of knowledge internationally.
Therefore, ProF-tEAchIng-I3CE is framed in the context of the University of Alicante -Teaching Plan to increase the use of Catalan, English and other languages as media of instruction (PIVALD 2017-2020), which amends PIVALD 2013-2016. We must remember here one of the four goals defined by PIVALD:
d) To provide academic and research staff with the required language skills and abilities to teach in Catalan, English and other languages in undergraduate studies.
Since departments have to assign their courses in languages exclusively to teachers with the appropriate accreditation at the time the courses are assigned, an accreditation system was designed whereby the academic staff had to provide a language level accreditation (Catalan and/or English) to the Recruitment & Training Service: C1 in Catalan and B2 for foreign languages, including English. In order to encourage academic staff members to achieve this accreditation and to develop their language skills in the university setting, the PIVALD Plan is included in Article 8. Teacher's Training Programme:
The Education Science Institute, with the aim of providing teachers with language training in Catalan and English, is coordinating a training programme in these languages, which include reinforcement courses to improve the language level, skills competence and methodological content.
Within this context, the Training Programme for Teaching in English-I3CE (ProF-tEAchIng-I3CE) is presented in this document. It will be coordinated by the ESI in accordance with the competences attributed to it by the PIVALD. The Programme covers the following general objectives: a) establish a stable programme of specific training around teaching in English; b) improve pedagogical training in teaching in English as a language of scientific communication; c) offer better teaching in English to international students who are not fluent in Spanish; d) create collaborative teaching networks around teaching in English.
The following must be taken into account:
1. The Teacher’s Training Programme in English-I3CE (ProF-tEAchIng-I3CE) offers specific training for academic staff members who teach or want to teach in English. In principle, it will be optional and is intended to help achieve the language and methodological skills needed by the academic staff in this context.
2. The specific training of the Programme will be offered through its training pathway, which will be made up of three modules: 1) Digital and Linguistic Tools for EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction) Teachers; 2) English Medium-Instruction (EMI): Reflections, Awareness and Practice (RAP); and 3) Observation and Practice.
3. For teachers to be eligible for this training module:
- They must have a certain level of competence in English, accredited with the corresponding certificate.
- In the case they do not have a previous accredited level, they will must pass a test in order to certify their English level.
4. Once they pass the training pathway, they will be given the corresponding course completion certificate.