Over 50% of tertiary courses in India are taught in English and yet this is founded on the presumption that a majority of tertiary level Indian students and their teachers are proficient in English. Additionally, subject matter expertise is erroneously equated with language competence because the gatekeepers of achievement such as examinations and interviews are almost always conducted in English.
Instructors are expected to teach in English as the content and materials are in English. However, most use their L1 since their own proficiency may not support English as a Medium Instruction (EMI) or because they presuppose that their students won’t understand the subject if it’s taught in English. Either way, teachers are often under pressure to make an abrupt transition to using English more consistently as a medium of instruction. This too is based on the erroneous presumption that a monolingual instructional environment in L2 promotes subject learning instead of a multilingual environment. In fact, this decontextualises the classroom from the reality of multilingual India.
Through Project CLIL India, we aim to address the complexities of teaching a subject such as chemistry, law or economics to students in English while accommodating for plurilingual identities.
This blog is our repository of thought leadership on CLIL and multilingualism in South Asia as we embark on an exciting journey to transform education.