Certified English Competencies for Teaching

Freitag, 10. Juni 2016 | Autor/in:

EMI 3The English Medium Instruction (EMI) team has developed a certification procedure to ensure the linguistic and communicative quality of teaching in English at the University of Freiburg. The procedure is aimed at degree programs and if at least 80% of teachers in a program are certified, the program is awarded a quality seal (Certified English Medium Instruction), which is valid for five years.

The certification procedure and criteria at a glance

The certification of English-medium instruction consists of score-based feedback from both the EMI team and students. Upon conclusion of a visited lesson, students fill in a feedback questionnaire on their perceptions of the linguistic and communicative quality of the lesson. Student responses count as one third of the final score and the EMI team feedback makes up the other two thirds. The teacher also fills in a self-assessment questionnaire similar to the one students fill in. The results are discussed with the teacher in a 30 minute feedback meeting. The lesson is assessed based on the 10 criteria described below. These criteria were adapted from standard European language standards for C1 level and tailored to the specific skills required of teachers to conduct a lesson at the tertiary level.


The first certified English-taught program

After the EMI team had piloted the certification procedure and criteria, the concept was presented to the Deans of Studies in December 2014. The Master’s program Microsystems Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering volunteered to take the lead and undergo the procedure over the course of two semesters (SS 2015 and WS 2015/16). In total, 36 teachers took part in the certification and 424 student feedback questionnaires were filled in during certification. 34 of the 36 participating teachers were certified thus enabling Microsystems Engineering to achieve the 80% threshold and obtain the EMI quality seal, which can be used for its own marketing purposes. The program has also received a certificate of quality signed by the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Juliane Besters-Dilger and the Chair of the Board of the Language Teaching Centre, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Bernd Kortmann.

Many teachers communicated that they viewed the certification procedure as a positive assessment experience and as a useful tool to contribute to the quality of courses. Others said the procedure has increased their motivation and confidence to teach with a large, diverse student body in English. In addition to feedback, teachers who took part in the certification received extra resources and training opportunities to fine tune their communicative competencies for teaching in English.

More programs taking part in certification

As of summer semester 2016, three more English-taught programs have agreed to take part in certification. This quality assurance measure for English-taught programs is unique to the German tertiary education landscape and helps further solidify the University of Freiburg’s standing as a top destination for international students and staff.

If you teach in or direct an English-taught degree program and would be interested in finding out more about this quality assurance measure, please contact us at emi@sli.uni-freiburg.de.

Best regards,
Your English Medium Instruction Team
Part of Quality Pact for Teaching (Qualitätspakt Lehre)


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