Aslan, M. (2016). A sociological and political analysis of English as a medium of instruction in Turkish higher education.
The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes and beliefs of students, lecturers and graduates towards English-medium instruction (EMI) in the Turkish tertiary education system from sociological and political perspectives. As a basis for this, the study explored the diverse factors that have affected the use of EMI in Turkey. The research study combined quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis procedures. A questionnaire was conducted at six Turkish universities (three private and three public), obtaining data from 246 students, 72 lecturers and 45 graduates. Interviews were conducted with 18 students, 12 lecturers and six graduates, equal numbers from each university. Quantitative data results were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software, while qualitative data was subjected to content analysis based on the principles set out by Gibson and Brown (2009). Findings suggest that while respondents expressed reservations about the use of EMI in the Turkish higher education system, there was unanimous acknowledgement of the importance of English as a linguistic asset due to the positive impact it might have on the social and economic lives of the respondents. Across all categories they generally agreed that English proficiency is beneficial for their future career and academic studies locally and internationally. Reservations about EMI were related to content comprehension issues arising from a lack of general English proficiency and competency. Students and lecturers complained about each other’s proficiency level when using English in the classroom, as it can lead to a lack of understanding. Students tended to be more positive towards the use of EMI when compared with lecturers and graduates. However, although lecturers had reservations towards EMI, they were slightly more inclined to favour the use of EMI in contrast with graduates. Graduates had the most reservations in regard to the implementation of EMI in the Turkish higher education system. The results further revealed that respondents across all categories were generally of the opinion that learning and teaching in English will have little or no impact on their Turkish culture, tradition and lifestyle, contradicting some previous studies and opinions. The differences between the attitudes, beliefs and perceptions towards EMI across the three respondent categories indicate there is scope for further research.