November 2023 – Volume 27, Number 3
Supporting EMI Students Outside of the Classroom: Evidence from Japan
|Rachel Ruegg (2021)
As English Medium Instruction (EMI) programs in higher education gain in popularity in Japan, providing additional support to students beyond the classroom is more and more important due to language-related challenges such as the lack of exposure to English in daily life or students’ emerging English proficiency (Galloway et al., 2020; Galloway & Ruegg, 2020, 2022). In this regard, Rachel Ruegg’s Supporting EMI Students Outside of the Classroom: Evidence from Japan argues for the importance of providing support to students in EMI programs to develop students’ autonomy and maximize their achievements. In addition, the book explores the benefits and challenges faced by faculty and students involved in EMI programs in the Japanese context. Consisting of studies describing support practices and their effects on students, this book is a valuable resource for educational institutions, teachers and teacher-researchers of EMI especially in Asian contexts.
Arranged in five chapters, the initial chapter provides an instructive introduction to EMI and addresses its implementation, from its benefits to the challenges that universities and students encounter. Chapter Two highlights several activities undertaken by institutions to assist students enrolled in EMI programs in various countries, particularly undergraduate programs in Japan. This chapter also examines the findings of a quantitative study to assess the state of support centers in Japan. The chapter provides detailed explanations of the quantitative analysis, making it a valuable reference for other higher education institutions seeking to assess the efficacy of support centers in their respective contexts.
Chapter Three goes on to discuss the extent that an academic support center may be used in the context of EMI programs in Japan. This chapter critically investigates feedback data obtained over a period of one academic year to comprehend the level of satisfaction of the users of the support center. This chapter also compares the effectiveness of local-student tutors and native English-speaking tutors from the perspectives of students. Chapter Four provides helpful suggestions about the format, details, and policies that can be used by institutions that wish to build a support center for supporting their EMI programs. The last chapter consists of a summary of previous chapters and a discussion on the implications and ongoing challenges of EMI programs in Japan, urging any institution planning or holding EMI programs to set up academic support centers as early as possible to help students maximize their performance.
Although this book is equipped with sharp analyses on the existing conditions of EMI programs in Japan, a few limitations should be noted. Firstly, this publication does not provide enough discussion about aspects such as the selection of peer tutors or their professional development. For instance, Chapter Four only provides suggestions about the professional development of tutors without providing analyses from previous studies. Additional discussions about previous studies on tutor training may add insights on how other institutions can conduct their professional development. Secondly, there should be an extra chapter which provides a study or interviews with the institutions that hold EMI programs in Japan to understand their challenges or experiences in developing support centers. By adding the aforementioned point, potential EMI providers, teachers, or teacher-researchers can obtain more information toward the implementation of support centers from the point-of-view of universities.
Nevertheless, it is important to emphasize the merits of Reugg’s contribution to the scholarly literature on EMI programs. This book is concise and illustrates the real condition of EMI programs in Japan. Thus, the book can act as a blueprint for researchers who wish to perform similar studies about EMI students in their respective countries. For instance, the studies shown in this publication can be replicated in other countries that conduct EMI programs in order to see the effectiveness of support centers in their contexts. In addition, Chapter Four of this book will be helpful for universities planning to develop EMI support centers due to detailed descriptions about building a support center such as determining suitable types of support for EMI students, deciding a venue for a support center, creating policies to assist the implementation of support centers, and training potential tutors.
In this regard, the book may act as an experienced guide for EMI providers as it summarizes studies related to EMI programs and their academic support centers. In addition, lecturers in EMI programs may benefit from the analyses given in this book, especially ones related to students’ experiences in getting support outside the classroom. Besides that, despite being written in the context of higher education in Japan, teachers educators from different backgrounds can gain from the discussions about strategies taken by tutors to improve students’ autonomy or plan to establish a support center for students. In conclusion, this publication is highly recommended for EMI providers, educators and teacher-researchers.
To Cite this Review
Adara, R. A. (2023). [Review of the book Supporting EMI Students Outside of the Classroom: Evidence from Japan by R. Ruegg]. Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal (TESL-EJ), 27 (3). https://doi.org/10.55593/ej.27107r2
Galloway, N., & Ruegg, R. (2020). The provision of student support on English Medium Instruction programmes in Japan and China. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 45, Article 100846. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2020.100846
Galloway, N., & Ruegg, R. (2022). English Medium Instruction (EMI) lecturer support needs in Japan and China. System, 105, Article 102728. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2022.102728
Galloway, N., Numajiri, T., & Rees, N. (2020). The ‘internationalisation’, or ‘Englishisation’, of higher education in East Asia. Higher Education, 80(3), 395–414. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00486-1
About the reviewer
Reza Anggriyashati Adara is a lecturer and researcher from Universitas Islam 45 Bekasi. Her research interests range from motivation, demotivation and learning technology in the context of English as a foreign language in Indonesia. <email@example.com> ORCID ID: 0000-0001-7629-9377
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