Two Steps Forward, One Step Back (and a few to the side): Embedding English Language Teaching in a Discipline Subject


At Hong Kong Polytechnic University, compulsory English language provision consists of six credits of general/academic English in the first two years and two further credits of English, focusing students' particular field of study, in the 2nd to 4th year. These Discipline Specific Requirement (DSR) language courses are stand-alone courses taught by the English Language Centre, but there are a number where the ELC teaching is embedded into a course run by the host department. In January 2015 we rolled the first of these embedded courses, and six others have been introduced since, the latest one last semester. Many are preparation courses for the students’ Final Year Projects, which include input on research skills and expectations by the host department and language from the ELC. Embedded courses are new to the ELC, having been introduced as part of the university’s response to the territory-wide education revamp, which reduced secondary schooling by one year and extended university study to four years. Developing them has involved learning the preconceptions, expectations and communication style of other disciplines. Often the approach to course design has been very different and the value placed on English language training has varied greatly between disciplines. The pattern of moves we took to achieve a workable course varied greatly between the different courses. This paper reflects on the practical implementation of embedding these English courses into their discipline subjects and the lessons we have learnt about this inter-departmental collaboration.

Author Information
Jane Robbins, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2018
Stream: Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

This paper is part of the ACLL2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon