English Immersion Programs for Science and Engineering EFL Students


Existing studies on English immersion programs for Asian university students have shown mixed results: either significant (Cho, 2006) or no significant improvement (Chang et al., 2015) in participants’ English skills; and significant improvement in participants’ willingness to communicate, language use anxiety and motivation for language learning (Grant, 2020). This study analyzes the immersion program for incoming freshmen at a Korean science and engineering school, where 84% of the undergraduate classes are taught in English. Program participants are newly admitted students with the lowest English levels. An annual average of 182 students have participated in the program since 2014. The program consists of (1) academic EFL classes; (2) integrated content and language classes in the areas of biology, chemistry, math, physics, and programming; and (3) extracurricular activities conducted in English. The program is considered highly successful in terms of students’ language development: drastic improvement has been observed between their pretest and posttest scores (an annual average increase of 44.7%). However, their satisfaction levels with the program, indicated in the results of the program exit survey, tend to be low. After a thorough analysis of survey results and interview data with instructors, it is suggested that components that deal with students’ affective factors, such as motivation and a sense of affiliation, be added for a more effective program. The study attempts to present a model short-term immersion program for EFL university students. The audience of the presentation session will be asked to share their thoughts on such a program.

Author Information
Eun Gyong Kim, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea
Misty Kim, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2023
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon