The politics of distraction in English-medium higher education across three global settings: a collaborative autoethnography

Sarah Hopkyns*, Sender Dovchin, Shaila Sultana

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

English-medium instruction (EMI) is on the rise around the world due to globalization, internationalization and neoliberal ideologies which equate English with social capital, prestige, and success in the labour market. While many EMI policies aim to equip students with English as a ‘lingua academia’, produce ‘neoliberal subjects’ and compete in university ranking systems, such policies often overlook larger sociolinguistic, sociohistorical, and sociopolitical issues at play. This article shares findings from a collaborative autoethnography (CAE) involving the three authors as participants, who are based in three global contexts: Australia, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Upon analysis of a series of dialogues amongst the authors, ‘policy distractions’ in EMI higher education were identified which resulted in the sidelining of critical issues related to native-speakerism, translingual discrimination and precarious conditions of students’ translingual practice, (lack of) choice around the medium of instruction, and the postcolonial legacy of unequal Englishes. The paper ends with suggestions for ways in which current EMI policies can be unpacked and disrupted to address larger and more pressing issues connected with complexities and intersections of social and linguistic justice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date6 Jul 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jul 2024

Keywords

  • English-medium instruction (EMI)
  • Politics of distraction
  • Collaborative autoethnography (CAE)
  • Translingual practice
  • Higher Education

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