EST for EMI: A Problem-Based Learning Approach to Domain-Specific Fluency

  • Sharon Hannigan New Economic School
Keywords: English for science and technology, problem-based learning, critical thinking


An English for Science and Technology (EST) course is offered as a potential bridge to English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) in the sciences. Consisting of four modules, each organized around a “big problem” in science or technology, the course challenges students to collectively arrive at solutions through critical and creative thinking that ultimately finds expression in three modalities: verbal (e.g., expert panel discussions, debates) graphic (e.g., problem statements, action plans), and visual-spatial (e.g., graphs, models). It is suggested that Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approaches to language learning – especially ones propelled by critical thinking frameworks (e.g., SPRE) – not only ease the transition to science courses where English is the medium of instruction but promote the acquisition of general competencies thought vital to 21st century success.


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Author Biography

Sharon Hannigan, New Economic School

Department of Languages and Humanities

How to Cite
Hannigan, S. (2015). EST for EMI: A Problem-Based Learning Approach to Domain-Specific Fluency. Journal of Language and Education, 1(1), 12-19.