Active Learning in Higher Education: implementation in EMI context
Goal: To implement different techniques of active learning in Economics English-taught Higher Education modules in a non-English-speaking public Spanish University. Concretely, we use Flipped Classroom and technology supported collaborative learning to promote students actively engaged in their own learning.
Context of implementation: The most widely accepted solution to the conundrum of teaching Economics using English as a medium of instruction (EMI) while aiming at keeping content-wise excellence has proven to be the use of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). It is an umbrella term which encompasses different forms of using language as medium of instruction by integrating language and subject teaching.
Difficulties detected: Nevertheless, teaching in bilingual curricula, under a Content and Language Integrated Learning approach poses a challenge to instructional design as it is necessary to integrate content learning with instructional language practice. On one hand, students are assumed to already have “an adequate command of the language, but many lecturers report the opposite; in any case, overlooking linguistic competence seems unwise as their “school English” can be very different to the academic English they are demanded at university” (Erling and Hilgendorf 2006, p.284). On the other hand, this students’ lack of linguistic knowledge and sophistication for the specific tasks and content which are planned in heavily theoretical-practical degrees such as Economics could arise the feeling that, at some point, either language or content development must be compromised.
Active Learning solutions proposed: To foster content and language-based skills alike, and prevent language from becoming a block to learning degree-specific competencies, is essential that students come to class prepared (linguistic micro-skills, specific terminology, familiarity with concepts,…) through a previous first contact with assigned working materials. Besides, the instructional design developed by instructors should give students the opportunity of performing, alongside content development, linguistic-based designs which help develop their students’ linguistic skills, solve meaning-rooted issues and, first and foremost, contribute to the grasping of concepts and the fostering of skills which are directly related to the discipline. The most suitable instructional approach the, from our point of view, help to overcame all the challenges that EMI through CLIL pose is Active Learning methodologies.
Active Learning approach encompasses a broad variety of instructional techniques whose main characteristic is that are student-centered. So, Active learning designs pose students in the center of its learning process trying to engage them in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and the use of case methods and simulations are some approaches that promote active learning.
The role of technology in Active Learning approach: New technology is drastically changing the conditions in which teaching and learning is conducted and this is also true for higher Education. In this project, we aim to use technology in two different ways……
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