Comprehensive bilingual education to benefit students, faculty, and local universities in southern Taiwan
(Provided by Teaching and Learning Development and Resources Center) National Sun Yat-sen University has been moving towards the goal of becoming one of the top universities in the world. To achieve the goal, the University proposed to provide its courses and programs taught in English by 2030 and was approved by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as a key school for bilingual education. In August this year, the University unveiled the school-level Office for Promoting Bilingual Education, the Center for EMI Teaching Excellence, and the first Regional Resource Center for Bilingual Education of MOE to develop the bilingual education project focusing on students, faculty, and local universities in southern Taiwan.
University President Ying-Yao Cheng emphasized that NSYSU has benefited from international cooperation with its over 200 partner schools by elevating the international competence of its students and faculty. In the future, it will steadily integrate the capacity of universities in southern Taiwan, responding to the government’s Bilingual Nation by 2030 policy, assisting with connecting with international standards, and providing various kinds of learning opportunities. Vice President for Academic Affairs Po-Chiao Lin said that the Office of Academic Affairs, the Center for EMI Teaching Excellence, and each college jointly support the students and faculty, while local universities progress towards bilingual education with the assistance of the Regional Resource Center for Bilingual Education. Resource sharing and cooperation between regional universities will expand faculty resources and curriculum and strengthen the implementation of the bilingual education policy.
In addition to curriculum development for bilingual education, the University started three all English-taught programs at the undergraduate level in the three departments: Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Electro-Mechanical Engineering, and Chemistry. Besides, NSYSU started the English Table activity to improve students’ English-speaking skills: dozens of international students from the U.S., Spain, and other countries take turns as table leaders and engage other participants in discussion on everyday topics to help them improve their English language abilities. It strengthens the bond between Taiwanese and international students; over a hundred students from various departments have participated so far. The topics of English Table discussions are light-hearted and fun, such as “The British Museum: defender of culture or thief of antiques?” or “Learning English through art and architecture” and “How to improve English communication skills”. Board games let participants improve their English language abilities and experience international cultural exchange on campus. Vice President for Academic Affairs Po-Chiao Lin mentioned that he hopes that in addition to learning professional knowledge of their disciplines, NSYSU students can also gradually develop English language skills and accumulate bilingual skills by interacting with their peers. In the future, the University will continue to focus on English language learning and build a diverse and internationally competitive teaching support system.
To improve teachers' bilingual teaching skills, four teaching community workshops were held for the faculty taking the course of the Certificate in EMI Skills of the University of Cambridge. The teaching community workshops were led by Assistant Professor Koching Chao of Si Wan College, Assistant Professor Yuya Lin of the Department of Chemistry, Associate Professor Chi-Min Shih and Professor Shu-Ing Shyu of the Department of Foreign Languages, Assistant Professor Jui-Hua Chen and Professor Virginia Shen of Si Wan College as speakers. Professor Yuya Lin pointed out that in all-English education it is vital to keep track of students’ absorption of knowledge. For both faculty and students, it is important to use proper and precise English to communicate and describe things in the classroom. Besides, NSYSU is one of the members of OSUN (Open Society University Network). To promote international collaboration and exchange, the University is collaborating with Arizona State University on an EMI teacher training course to open up more overseas learning opportunities and provide teachers with channels to help them become better bilingual educators, such as the EMI course by the US Online Professional English Network (OPEN) program or the Certificate in EMI Skills by the Cambridge Assessment English of the University of Cambridge.
To establish a quality assurance system for all English-taught courses, NSYSU proposed conducting a new teaching opinion survey and student learning effectiveness questionnaire at the end of the semester among the students of English-taught courses. The focus is on teacher-student interaction, teaching strategies and activities, learning assessment, students’ comprehension of the course content, cross-cultural competence, and future education and career development. A midterm survey will be conducted for all English-taught courses, and the results will be provided to faculty as a reference for teaching improvement.
Regarding regional resource integration, the Regional Resource Center for Bilingual Education has recently gathered National Kaohsiung Normal University, National University of Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung Medical University, I-Shou University, National Pingtung University, and National Taitung University to discuss the promotion of EMI in higher education, cooperation models, win-win exchange, and the establishment of some inter-university teaching communities of EMI teachers starting from January 2022 to jointly enhance faculty abilities to teach in English.
Formosa TV News interviewed National Sun Yat-sen University on its bilingual education project: https://reurl.cc/n5KzW1