Professional development of international classroom lecturers

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With a rapidly growing number of students learning and lecturers teaching through a language other than their own first language, there is equally a growing need to consider how lecturers are trained to teach in the international classroom where students have a range of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The training of higher education teachers (lecturers) vary considerably from one country – or even higher education institution – to the other, and the overarching picture changes from mandatory to voluntary programmes to no programmes at all. Where they exist, they have different rationales, content, structure, target groups, etc. It is therefore difficult to get a clear picture and to compare programmes and their impact (cf. e.g. Simon & Pleschová 2013). When it comes to the teachers of international programmes, the picture becomes even more complicated. Lecturers often teach through a language other than their own first language to students who also learn through what for them is a second or third language. As part of a survey conducted by the IntlUni Erasmus Academic Network project in 2013, 38 Higher Education institutions in 27 countries were asked to which extent they provide professional development programmes for the teachers of their international study programmes. Only a small part of them did, and the majority of the programmes were optional. At the same time many lecturers are uncertain as to how they could or should deal with the challenges of the multilingual and multicultural learning space of such programmes, and one of the IntlUni recommendations (forthcoming) will be to establish adequate teacher training programmes for this particular group of lecturers, taking into consideration both linguistic, cultural and didactic issues. In order to do so, it makes sense to determine the institutional policy environment, the rationale behind, the content, structure and target groups (the why, what and how) of existing programmes. This paper reports on parts of a study undertaken for the DAAD in the spring of 2015. The aim of the study is to (i) identify appropriate approaches to planning and managing multilingual and multicultural learning environments (best practice) and (ii) to suggest possible formats of suitable training sessions for university lecturers. Based on a comprehensive literature review, the study comprises cases of professional development programmes offered in five different European countries with particular focus on the aims and objectives, the content, format (structure), intended learning outcomes and target groups with a view to discussing the adequacy of such programmes in different educational settings. The paper will outline these results (strengths and weaknesses) and discuss their applicability in a wider context. Key words: Professional development; International classroom; English Medium Instruction, Opportunities and challenges Simon, Eszter & Gabriela Pleschová (eds).2013. Teacher Development in Higher Education. Existing Programs, Program Impact and Future Trends. Routledge. Routledge Research in Higher Education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year1 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
EventICLHE Conference - Université Libre, Bruxelles, Belgium
Duration: 1 Sep 20154 Sep 2015


ConferenceICLHE Conference
LocationUniversité Libre
Internet address

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