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University Students' Attitudes Toward EMI in the Chinese Mainland: A Study of the Moderating Variables

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Wei Zhu
University of Oxford, UK

In China, while an increasing number of research studies have shed light on English-medium instruction (EMI) at the tertiary level, very few have investigated the influence of EFL learners’ negative emotions (e.g., anxiety) on their attitudes toward EMI. Furthermore, limitations from a methodological perspective exist in related research, in which the effect size is often ignored when reporting the statistics. To overcome the limitations and broaden the research scope of EMI attitude, the present study surveyed 169 university students in the Chinese mainland, incorporating two previously-studied variables, gender and major, and one understudied variable, anxiety in EMI learning. The results of the questionnaire showed that the general attitude toward EMI appears to be positive, and three main themes which emerged from the open-ended questions may help to explain the attitude. Regression analysis revealed that “perceived peer pressure,” which is one of the six items of the anxiety scale, appears to be an important predictor for EMI attitudes of students, which accounts for 25.1% of the variance. The findings indicate that attention should be drawn to students’ mental health regarding their overall anxiety in EMI learning, in which assistance concerning peer culture improvement should be considered. This article concludes with implications for positive emotions in EMI learning.

English as the medium of instruction, bilingual education, attitudinal research, effect size, language anxiety