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Home Journal Index 2021-1

Survey of English Use and Coping Strategies in Discipline-Specific University Courses in Taiwan

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Yu-ju Hung
Air Force Academy, Taiwan

Robert L. Good
National Kaohsiung First University of Science & Technology, Taiwan

Before enacting a full implementation of English Medium Instruction (EMI), instructors have made attempts to integrate English as a component of instruction in discipline-specific university courses in Taiwan. However, little is known about the implementation of this practice. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which English was used in discipline-specific university courses, what reading strategies students used to cope with their language challenges, and what techniques instructors used to support students’ reading. Data were drawn from a survey of more than 2,600 freshmen and sophomores, regarding their learning experiences in disciplinespecific courses, in six colleges of one comprehensive university in Southern Taiwan. The results showed that the majority of students could not understand required reading of English textbooks or complete reading assignments. Lecturing in English and answering exam questions in English were not widely practiced. Although reading English textbooks was still challenging to students, the ways teachers helped students and how students read on their own were reported, as food for further thought. Study findings support recommendations for ways in which EFL practitioners, subject instructors, and curriculum designers can take into account students’ English needs in their content courses.


English textbooks, lecturing in English, assessment in English, reading strategies, teaching techniques