Session highlights

My sense is that we will see a huge reduction in student movement and faculty movement via flights. That’s not necessarily a popular thing to say but my sense is what we are doing now, during Covid, works.” Christopher Graham, Educational Consultant

  • Figures were presented showing the number of international students in the UK in 2019/20 was 550,000, while the number of non-UK based students engaged in EME (English Medium Education) was 430,000 – the latter category is growing much faster than the former. Countries are developing their own English teaching expertise. Oxford EMI, working with the British Council, is involved in a large scale programme in Taiwan to train local teachers to teach in English, for instance. Added to this is the concern about the climate emergency among ELI (English language instruction) teachers and students, mitigating against air travel and making online and hybrid ELI a more sustainable model going forward.
  • Small scale research from Dr Aneta Naumoska, assistant professor of linguistics at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia, on ELT (English Language Teaching) resilience found interest among tutors and students in exploring coping strategies, equipping learners with broader skills such as self management and studying skills, making them better decision makers and preparing them for entering the work force. Students were motivated by the hope that ELE (English Language Education) would make it possible to have a career abroad and were keen to explore the softer skills that would make this more likely. 

Session summary

How has English Language Teaching (ELT) and English Medium Education (EME) in higher education been impacted by and responded to the recent Covid-19 emergency? How can lessons learned help us deal with future emergencies? This session will explore the skills and techniques needed to teach and learn in extraordinary circumstances. 

  • We will look at the importance of developing learner’s resilience - the ability to cope with adversity and withstand crisis while achieving good educational outcomes, developing life skills and preparing for the workplace – drawing on evidence from a study of university English language learners in the Balkans.
  • As online learning has become commonplace during the Covid-19 epidemic, we will examine the impacts on EME learners and teachers and look at models and techniques for building successful online EME courses with efficient group dynamics and integration. 
  • The Covid-19 emergency has highlighted the need for every institution globally to be better able to respond to global challenges. We will discuss the response of the global ELT community to the climate emergency and explore the synergies between approaches to climate change action in higher education and ELT to understand their mutual benefits and applicability.


  • Chair: Dr Joyce Kling, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Christopher Graham, Educational Consultant, Freelancer, United Kingdom
  • Dr Aneta Naumoska, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Blaze Koneski Faculty of Philology, Macedonia
  • Tom Spain, Senior Trainer and Consultant, Oxford EMI, United Kingdom

See also