For most cases, I fail to see any difference in the language requirements between English or Finnish medium instructions. Or more precisely, I fail to see issues that would be due EMI that would not exist in instructions given in native languages. This does not mean that the level of my language skills, specifically, English skills would be at the same level as my native Finnish, but that the problem is not really the use of “secondary language”. The question is, of course, do you know the topic and have the active vocabulary to tell about it? If yes. Then looking from that point, the question is that does your audience have it? Naturally different things come in play here, but basically the difference is in vocabulary, language, in different levels of understanding. As established many times in class before, the academic language or more accurately any specific technical vocabulary is not the first language for anyone. The learning curve is high and existing for both EMI and FMI, or whatever.
During this fall, I have had several lectures in Finnish that have included much more vocabulary issues with native speakers than in my daily encounters with Master students who (most of them) use their second (or even third) language. There is one main difference between two groups that might elaborate the reason why this sort of difference has appeared. The FMI groups have been at basic level and with the participants who were less connected to the daily academic life and studies in HEI. The EMI groups have been and are (“my”) degree students completing their advanced level studies. While these courses are part of our MA curriculum that I have be in my part planning, the FMI “lectures” have been more or less disconnected from my daily work.
So, the main issues, the ones with vocabulary, have been caused by me failing to calibrate my “language” and thinking to the level of the audience. The issue does not really depend from the language, but the “language”. Also, issues are not really about practices or methods, but misalignments in practical preparedness. Furthermore, issues is a strong word here, few mistakes later I had recalibrated my level and clarified the conceptual misunderstandings and or lack of understanding.
Simply, I don’t really think that I have practices or methods that I would use exclusively for EMI teaching, but for teaching in general. Moreover, I would rather talk / write about attitude, which is much more important for teacher… Teaching is a relational thing, in a dynamic relation of beings – whom all exist in a situation with individual aspirations, motivations and temporal orientations. At least if we are talking of the active modern interpretation of the thing (=teaching) instead of the more superficial and static forms. The question is, how we can make everyone engaged? Or should we just try our best and leave the responsibility for the receiver?
If the language is not the issue for the instructor – for example, instructor does not panic, lose concentration and thus words – all the issues can be simply resolved by numerous examples and rewordings. This might be time consuming, but you just have to find the ones that connect with the recipient. This practice fits both the traditional lectures and more modern collaborative group work, even in flipped settings. Also, while these and even the readings and digital solutions can be made engaging, “we” often do not really do so, “we” leave it on the responsibility of the students themselves.
How can teacher in traditional contact teaching be engaging? The thing is to be prepared to change the plan, be alert, aware and sensible etc. to stay on the top of the situation. It is a dynamic relation that requires reactions. While this – not sticking to the plan – might seem a bit unprofessional, I claim that this actually is possible only at the later stages of professional life. And that this is the trademark of generally well performing instructors, lecturers and performers. And teachers, if they really care and try to be dialogical. You cannot really be dialogical in static or unilateral situation. For one, most of the time the lesson/course plan is too booked, there is no time to adjust and adapt, and to listen and discuss. We forget that when something is added, something usually must come out. To be dialogical in the real philosophical sense of the term, well, it requires time. Therefore, I could actually as a practise and method recommend blending of flipped practices that free space of encounters and interactions in class. But at this point, I would rather claim that teaching practices and methods are irrelevant if the teaching philosophy is sound enough, and students/targets properly motivated to search and absorb the information. In this, teacher is no more teacher, but more a facilitator and mirror offering one more reflective relation to actively process the knowledge. Though it would not harm (or it would be necessary) to understand what learning is and how it happens as a proper teacher should.
While the above is more and more inclining towards improvisation and creative practices, for more or less fresh instructors I would recommend a rigorous planning and preparation. Same goes if you are new to EMI or go back to FMI after a while. I, for example, have to remind myself about the level of my Finnish groups, so I do not enter too deep waters. Good plan and preparation also eases the time management and coherence. However, the issue is, that well planned and prepared presentation is not living if it is rigorously performed. If the performer is not sensitive for the reactions of the audience and just sticks to the plan. It might be a total miss, and will always appear at least a bit stiff (and rigid). Not good as presentation wise. A good presentation is always dynamic and “reacts to the movements” of the audience, almost like a stand-up comedians. This is possible for more seasoned veterans – whom however should stay off too many jokes – if they can put up the effort. Advice would be, that make sure that the overall course plan and big picture are both crystal clear – and that you are on the top of your topic, know your audience and have the confidence to mess-up and recover. If so, just loosen up you tie and let it flow. Adapt and adjust on the go. Improvise and create, it is a once in a lifetime performance that you should enjoy. But remember, it is not about you, it is about the students! If it feels easy, you are not engaged enough. If it feels impossible, keep practising!
So, if one method should be named, it would be listening. Listen your group, and then act accordingly. As a practice, it is good to make plans, but expect them to fail…