The following article, Europe’s Push to Teach in English Creates Barriers in the Classroom, written by Aisha Labi and published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on Feb. 13, 2011, was brought to our attention by Dr. Isabel Pefianco Martin, professor at Ateneo de Manila:
Like a growing number of scholars in Europe, Philipp J.H. Schröder, a popular professor of economics at Aarhus University, is something of a polyglot. A native of Germany, he earned his undergraduate degree in England and now lives and teaches in Denmark’s second-largest city.
His English, though moderately accented, seems flawless in conversation, so he would appear the ideal candidate to preside over an increasingly common type of classroom in Europe: one with few native English speakers but where English is the language of instruction.
Mr. Schröder estimates that about 80 percent of his teaching is now in English, but he has few illusions about how fluent he truly is.
“I prefer to speak German, or Danish, for that matter,” he confesses. “I have frustrations in English.”
He is not alone. As universities across Europe offer more programs in English to attract an international student body and raise their international profiles, the growing pains are becoming evident. Some students complain that their professors’ language skills are not classroom-ready. Some professors complain that their students, many of whom come from different countries and cultures, aren’t adapting well to their new environment.
With more than 2,000 programs being taught in English, several experts are beginning to discuss these concerns.