Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number1 March 2021 Pp. 309-324
Impact of EMI on Omani Engineering Students’ Academic Performance
Holi Ibrahim Holi Ali
Department of English Language & Literature
University of Technology & Applied Sciences
Rustaq, the Sultanate of Oman
Received: 12/31/2020 Accepted: 3/1/2021 Published: 3/24/2021
Using English to teach and learn academic subjects in higher education (HE) across the globe is increasing in popularity. The overarching aim of this study is to examine the impact of English-medium instruction (EMI) on Omani engineering students’ academic performance and their studies in an English-medium engineering programme in Oman. This paper reports on findings from a larger project that was intended to investigate Omani engineering students’ experience of learning through the medium of English in one of the Colleges of Technology in Oman. The study adopted a qualitative interpretative approach with a case study strategy and a purposive sampling technique to look into the impact of EMI on Omani engineering students’ academic performance and their studies. The sample included 12 Omani engineering and 8 engineering instructors who were interviewed along with five classroom observations. The data were collected and generated through semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. They were analysed manually, inductively and thematically using Braun and Clarke’s model (2006). The findings showed that EMI had both positive and negative impacts on the students’ academic performance and their studies.
Keywords: academic performance, EMI, impact; learning experiences, Omani engineering students
Cite as: Ali, H. I. H. (2021). Impact of EMI on Omani Engineering Students’ Academic Performance
Arab World English Journal, 12 (1) 309-324.
Al-Bakri, S. (2017). Effects of English medium instruction on students’ learning experiences and quality of education in content courses in a public college in Oman. Unpublished PhD. Thesis, University of Exeter, UK.
Aguilar, M. & Rodríguez, R. (2012). Lecturer and student perceptions on CLIL at a Spanish university. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 15(2), 183–197. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2011.615906
Airey, J. (2012). I don’t teach language: The linguistic attitudes of physic lecturers in Sweden. AILA Review, 25(1), 64-79. Doi: https://doi. 10.1075/aila.25.05air
Airey, J., & Linder, C. (2006). Language and the experience of learning university physics in Sweden. European Journal of Physics, 27(3), 553-560. Doi: https://doi. 10.1088/0143-0807/27/3/009
Alidou, H., B. Aliou, B. Brock-Utne, Y. S. Diallo, K. Heugh., & H. E. Wolff. (2006). Optimizing Learning and Education in Africa – The Language Factor; A Stock-taking Research on Mother Tongue and Bilingual Education in SubSaharan Africa. Paris: Association for the Development of Education in Africa.
Al-Issa, A. (2017). English as a medium of instruction and the endangerment of Arabic literacy: The case of the United Arab Emirates. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ), 8(3), 3-17. https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/vol8no3.1
Ali, N. L. (2013). A changing paradigm in language planning: English-medium instruction policy at the tertiary level in Malaysia. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 73-92. https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2013.775543
Barnard, R. C. (2014). English medium instruction in Asian Universities: Some concerns and a suggested approach to dual-medium instruction. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 10-22. Doi: https://doi.10.17509/ijal.v4i1.597
Belhiah, H., & Elham, M. (2015). English as a medium of instruction in the Gulf: When students and teachers speak. Journal of Language Policy, 14(3), 3-23. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-014-9336-9
Bradford, A. (2018). It’s not all about English! The problem of language foregrounding in English-medium programmes in Japan. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 40(8), 707-720. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2018.1551402
Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in Psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.
Byun, K., Chu, H., Kim, M., Park, I., Kim, S., & Jung, J. (2011). English-medium teaching in Korean higher education: Policy debates and reality. Higher Education, 62(4), 431-449. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10734-010-9397-4
Chen, H., Han, J., & Wright, D. (2020). An Investigation of Lecturers’ Teaching through English Medium of Instruction—A Case of Higher Education in China. Sustainability, 12, 1-16. Doi:https://doi.10.3390/su12104046
Clegg, J. & Simpson, J. (2016). Improving the effectiveness of English as a medium of instruction in sub-Saharan Africa. Comparative Education 52(3), 359-374. Doi: .https: doi.10.1080/03050068.2016.1185268
Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education (5th Edition) London: Routledge Falmer.
Collins, A.B. (2010). English-medium higher education: dilemma and problems. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 39, 97-110. http://hdl.handle.net/11693/48964
Costa, F. & Coleman, J. A. (2013). A survey of English-medium instruction in Italian higher education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 16(1), 3–19. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2012.676621
Dafouza, E., & Camacho-Miñano, M. M. (2016). Exploring the impact of English-medium instruction on university student academic achievement: The case of accounting. English for Speciﬁc Purposes, 44, 57-67. Doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esp.2016.06.001
Dearden, J. (2016). English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon. British Council: UK. Retrieved November 2015, from www.teachingenglish.org.uk
Dearden, J. (2014). English as a medium of instruction–a growing global phenomenon. London: British Council. Doi: https://doi. 10.13140/RG.2.2.12079.94888
Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide for small-scale social research project (4th ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press.
Dörnyei & Taguchi (2010). Questionnaire in second language research: construction, administration, and processing. UK: Routledge.
Dutcher, N. (2004). Expanding Educational Opportunities in Linguistically Diverse Societies. Washington, DC: Centre for Applied Linguistics.
Ekoç, A. (2020). English medium instruction (EMI) from the perspectives of students at a technical university in Turkey. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44(2), 231-243.Doi:https//doi. 10.1080/0309877X.2018.1527025
Guo, H., Tong, F., Wang, Z., Min, Y. & Tang, S. (2018). English-vs. Chinese-medium instruction in Chinese higher Education: A quasi-experimental comparison. Sustainability 10(11), 1-17. Doi.https://doi. 10.3390/su10114230
Hamid, M. O. (2011). Globalisation, English for everyone and English teacher capacity: Language policy discourses and realities in Bangladesh. Current Issues in Language Planning, 11(4), 289-310. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2011.532621
Holi, I. H. (2020). Lecture comprehension difficulties experienced by Omani students in an English medium engineering programme, Cogent Arts & Humanities, 7(1), 1-17. Doi:https:// doi:10.1080/23311983.2020.1741986
Holi, I. H. (2018).Omani Engineering Students’ Experiences of Learning through the Medium of English. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Huddersfield, UK.
Huang, D. (2015). Exploring and assessing effectiveness of English medium instruction courses: The students’ perspectives. Procedia – Social and Behavioural Sciences, 173, 71 – 78.Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.02.033
Kakepoto, I. Omar, N. A. M., Boon, Y., & Iqbal, S., M, Z. (2012). Perspectives on oral communication skills for engineers in the engineering profession of Pakistan. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Literature, 1(5), 176-183.Doi:https//doi.10.7575ijalel.v.In.5p.176.
Lin, T., & He, Y. (2019). Does Bilingual Instruction Impact Students’ Academic Performance in Content-Based Learning? Evidence from Business School Students Attending Bilingual and L1 Courses. Sustainability 11, 1-18.Doi:https://doi: 10.3390/su11010263
Kedzierski, M. (2016). English as a medium of instruction in East Asia’s higher education sector: a critical realist Cultural Political Economy analysis of underlying logic. Comparative Education, 52(3), 375-391.Doi:https://doi:10.1080/03050068.2016.1185269
Kim, Y. (2020). The Value of Interactive Polling and Intrinsic Motivation When Using English as a Medium of Instruction. Sustainability 12, 1-13.Doi:https://doi:10.3390/su12041332
Kim, S.K, Sohn & S., Y. (2009). Expert system to evaluate English medium instruction in Korean Universities. Expert Systems with Applications 36(9), 11626-11632.Doi:https://doi. 10.1016/j.eswa.2009.03.026
King, J.M. (2014). An exploratory investigation into content teacher views on English as a medium of instruction policy enactment in the UAE Feral Tertiary Sector. Unpublished PhD thesis, the University of Exeter. http://hdl.handle.net/10871/17359
Kirkpatrick, A. (2011). English as an Asian lingua franca and the multilingual model of ELT. Language Teaching, 44(2), 212-224. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444810000145
Macaro, E., S., Curle, J. Pun, J. An., & J. Dearden. (2018).A Systematic review of English medium instruction in Higher education. Language Teaching, 51(1), 36–76. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444817000350
Montgomery, S. (2004). Of towers, walls, and fields: Perspectives on language in science. Science 303(5662), 1333–1335.Doi:https:// doi:10.1126/science.1095204
Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd). Newbury Park: Sage.
Phuong, Y., H., & Nguyen, T. T. (2019). Students’ Perceptions towards the Benefits and Drawbacks of EMI Classes. English Language Teaching; 12(5), 88-100.Doi: https://doi: 10.5539/elt.v12n5p88
Querol-Julián, M., & Camiciottoli, B.C. (2019). The Impact of Online Technologies and English Medium Instruction on University Lectures in International Learning Contexts: A Systematic Review. ESP Today, 7(1), 1-23. https:// doi.org/10.18485/esptoday.2019.7.1.1
Rogier, D. (2012). The effects of English-medium instructions on language proficiency of students in higher education in the UAE. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Exeter, UK.
Raddawi, R., & Meslem, D. (2015). Loss of Arabic in the UAE: Is bilingual education the solution? International Journal of Bilingual & Multilingual Teachers of English, 30(2), 85-94.
Scatolini, S. S. (2020). Perceptions of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in Oman. In Sergio Saleem Scatolini and Milton A. George (eds), Education and society in the Middle East and North Africa: English, citizenship and peace education (pp. 117-138). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Shohamy, E. (2013). Critical perspective on the use of English as a medium of instruction at universities. In A. Doiz, D. Lasagabaster and J.M. Sierra (Eds.), English-medium instruction at universities: Global challenges (pp. 196-210). Multilingual Matters, Bristol: UK. Doi:
Sivaraman, I., Al Balushi, A., & Rao, D.H. (2014). Understanding Omani students’ (University) English language problems. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR), 3(1), 28-35
Selvi, A.F. (2020). Resisting English medium instruction through digital grassroots activism. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2020.1724120
Tollefson, J.W., & Tsui, A.B. (2003).Medium of instruction policies: Which agenda? Whose agenda? Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Routledge.
Vidal, K., & Jarvis, S. (2018). Effects of English-medium instruction on Spanish students’ proficiency and lexical diversity in English. Language Teaching Research, 1-20. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168818817945
Vu, N. T. T. (2014). English as a medium of instruction: Challenges for Vietnamese Tertiary Lecturers. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 11(3), 1-31. http://www.asiatefl.org/main/download_pdf.php?i=59&c=1412065511&fn=11_3_01.pdf
Williams, E., & J. Cooke. (2002). Pathways and Labyrinths: Language and Education in Development. TESOL Quarterly 36(3): 297–322. Doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/3588415
Wilkinson, R. (2013). English-medium instruction at a Dutch university: Challenges and pitfalls. In A. Doiz, D. Lasagabaster, & J. M. Sierra (Eds.), English-medium instruction at universities: Global challenges (pp. 3–24). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. Doi: https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847698162-005
Worp, K.V D. (2017). English medium instruction: away towards linguistically better-prepared professionals in the Basque Autonomous Community? International Journal of Multilingualism, 14(1), 53-68.Doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2017.1258994
Xie, W., & Curle, S. (2020). Success in English Medium Instruction in China: signiﬁcant indicators and implication. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2019.1703898
Zacharias, N. T. (2013). Navigating through the English-medium-of-instruction (EMI) policy: Voices from the field. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 93–108. Doi: https:// doi.org/ 10. 1080/14664208.2013.782797