A study of attitudes towards English-medium instruction in higher education among students at the Faculty of Medicine at NTNU
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Today a growing number of university courses are taught through English and recently a report, written by a group of Scandinavian researchers, revealed that Nordic students and teachers are frustrated about this increasing amount of English in higher education. This study’s aim was to investigate the attitudes of students at the Faculty of Medicine at NTNU towards the use of English as the medium of instruction in higher education and in their programs of study in particular. In order to investigate the students’ attitudes, a questionnaire was developed with statements divided into different content areas that focused on different dimensions of attitudes towards English-medium instruction. This questionnaire was distributed to 42 students at the 7th semester at the study of medicine and at the study program of Clinical Health Science. A total of 41 people completed the questionnaire. Relevant literature focusing on English in Norway, English in higher education, English as a possible threat to Norwegian academic language, learning in a foreign language and literature focusing on attitudes and the benefits of measuring attitudes were collected in order to create a foundation for the study and to support the results from the questionnaires. Attitudes can be favorable or unfavorable. The results from this study have shown that the students have both favorable and unfavorable attitudes towards English-medium instruction; however in sum they were slightly more favorable than unfavorable. The study revealed that students at the Faculty of Medicine at NTNU generally feel that they learn more from lectures in Norwegian than from lectures in English; that most of the students do not see English-medium instruction as a threat to Norwegian academic language; that the students find English-medium instruction as necessary for future employment and that the students are mostly comfortable with speaking English in class.