Teachers’ beliefs and reproduction of language ideologies in English-medium instruction programs in Nepal

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Abstract

Aims: This study explored the language ideologies that guide teachers’ language beliefs and practices in English-medium instruction (EMI) classrooms. It also sought to uncover the ways teachers’ beliefs and practices reproduce language ideologies and, thereby, social hierarchies within educational contexts. 

Design: Drawing on a narrative research design, the study utilized semi-structured interviews and focus groups to examine the language beliefs of content subject teachers from EMI higher education programs in Nepal. The data were analyzed through a thematic approach. 

Findings: The study’s results shed light on the prevailing language ideologies in EMI classrooms, where English holds a dominant position, followed by Nepali and other local/Indigenous languages. This linguistic hierarchy reflects deeply ingrained nationalist and neoliberal beliefs inherent in Nepal’s educational landscape. Moreover, the research underscores how these ideologies perpetuate societal hierarchies as educators emphasize the pivotal role of English proficiency for students’ upward socioeconomic mobility and access to global opportunities, while concurrently endorsing a deficient perspective on local/Indigenous languages. Consequently, this linguistic hierarchy perpetuates disparities in language treatment, thereby prompting concerns regarding equity and inclusivity in EMI programs. 

Originality: It sheds light on teachers’ complex beliefs and practices regarding the use of different languages in EMI settings. The study also highlights the language hierarchy that emerges within these classrooms, emphasizing the original contribution to understanding the complexities and implications of language ideologies within EMI programs. 

Significance: The study’s findings serve as a valuable resource for fostering meaningful discussions and facilitating evidence-based practices in the field of EMI, ultimately contributing to the improvement of multilingual higher education settings worldwide. Copyright © 2024 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Early online dateMar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2024

Citation

Sah, P. K. (2024). Teachers’ beliefs and reproduction of language ideologies in English-medium instruction programs in Nepal. International Journal of Bilingualism. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/13670069241236701

Keywords

  • English-medium instruction (EMI)
  • Teacher’s language ideologies
  • Language hierarchy
  • Multilingualism
  • Social reproduction
  • Nepal

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