Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): UC teachers and professionals learn methodology for undergraduate internationalization


Within the framework of the Ministerial Project for the Internationalization of Undergraduate Studies at UC, a diploma course was issued in the methodology of Integrated Learning of Contents and Foreign Language. This was taught by Dalhousie University to seven academics and two professionals from our university and will enhance teaching and attract global talent as well as increase the use of English as a means of teaching at the university with a focus on the development of global skills.

A relevant step in the internationalization of undergraduate studies was reached by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, when it taught for the first time, a program –carried out by the UC in conjunction with the Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development of Dalhousie University (Canada)– that allowed training academics and professionals in the Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodology in the context of English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI).

The Integrated Content and Foreign Language Learning methodology allows learning content by learning a language (such as English). This methodology, a way of using English as a medium of instruction, allows the language to be taught alongside another subject.

In total, five male and female academics, plus two civil servants, received the “Professional Development Certificate in EMI and CLIL” diploma, which consists of 90 hours divided into four courses. The participants learned to adapt their teaching methodology and assessment practices to teach their course content and English at the same time, in contexts where English is not the first language of learning.

In addition, seven professionals graduated from the “Leadership of Internationalization of the Curriculum Initiatives” course (which lasted 20 hours), which aimed to implement the theoretical and pedagogical principles that drive aspects of the internationalization of the curriculum such as instruction through English, internationalization at home, and teaching and learning in diverse classrooms. This course was carried out in conjunction with the certificate in CLIL/EMI.

All this was possible thanks to inter-institutional work between different central units of the UC Senior Management:
● Institutional Management Office: English UC
● Academic Office: Academic Office of Teaching
● Office of International Affairs : Global Training Office and Office of Global Mobility
● Economic Vice-Rectory: People Management

How CLIL and EMI works
Jennifer MacDonald –Director of English Language Studies and University Access at the Faculty of Open Learning & Career Development at Dalhousie University– managed the EMI and CLIL diploma.

As he explains, “EMI goes hand in hand with the CLIL methodology. It is the way to integrate the teaching of content and the foreign language to help provide more advanced learning”.

“EMI goes hand in hand with the CLIL methodology. It is the way to integrate the teaching of the content and the foreign language in helping to provide more advanced learning” – Jennifer MacDonald, Dalhousie University

He adds that this methodology “is popular to support internationalization initiatives” in universities and that it contributes “to bring international students, academics and officials and increase the international profile of all university participants.”

A concrete example of a course that integrates the CLIL/EMI methodology would be that a UC academic integrates these modalities in their study program. For example, a professor who invited international academics who do not speak Spanish to a module of her class –where her presentation is subtitled in Spanish– and that the activities carried out by the students can be in both Spanish and English.

Professor MacDonald deepens the importance of the course for the UC community and how it would contribute to the global competencies of the students in this interview .

Deepening of internationalization
For UC, these two programs allow it to continue advancing in deepening internationalization, an aspect that is outlined in the 2020-2025 Development Plan , and in the 1966 Institutional Improvement Plan (PMI), which seeks to position within the university a Comprehensive internationalization model for the UC community, emphasizing the “internationalization at home” model.

For the Academic Vice Chancellor, Fernando Purcell, these two certifications “are an important contribution to the objectives that our university has set itself to continue promoting internationalization in the different areas of our work”.

He added that “the knowledge acquired by our professionals, in terms of internationalization of curricula, allows us to promote the attraction of international talent that can come to the UC to develop their studies, teaching or research and that they have an adequate reception in the university community. ”.

For her part, the vice-rector for International Affairs, Lilian Ferrer, emphasized that these mechanisms allow “promoting international teaching in the classroom through innovative teaching-learning methodologies and represents an opportunity to contribute to the development of global skills, being an element The use of the English language in university classrooms is essential, which helps to develop a perspective with a local sense and a global vision”.

Vice Chancellor Ferrer also highlighted the work carried out between strategic partners such as UC and Dalhousie University. “The synergy and cooperation that was achieved between the two universities, in pursuit of a common goal such as internationalization, reflects very well what we are looking for as a Vice President and as an institution. It is through international collaboration that the university can expand academic opportunities in formation, creation and impact”, she said.

This is the first time that a training program of this type has been carried out at UC, together with an international partner, since the creation of the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs.

Courses in 2023
The participants of the EMI/CLIL certificate will put into practice the knowledge acquired in the courses that will be offered to UC students in the first semester of 2023.

● Maria Belén Monserrat, from the UC Faculty of Chemistry , will teach the EMI methodology in the optional course “Introduction to Nanotechnology”
● Lili Almasi-Szabó, from the UC Institute of Sociology , will implement the methodology in the optional course “Anthropology of Europe”
● Felipe Ángel Figueroa, from the UC School of Chemistry, will implement EMI in an elective course on solar cells
● Paola Caba Mella, from the UC School of Nursing , will implement this methodology in a section of her minimum course “childhood nursing care adolescence”
● Valeria Cabello González, from the Faculty of Education, will apply EMI/CLIC in a section of his minimum course of the doctoral program “Scopes of learning and development”

The academic Valeria Cabello, who is head of the UC Doctorate in Education program, intends –with this certification– “to project the possibility of continuing to expand this training to other UC academics, and hopefully, we can become a reference group to move forward in the internationalization of our institution also at the undergraduate level”.

She envisions that the application of EMI/CLIC in her course will allow it to open up to “new students, at the same time, enriching the educational experience of our students in a diverse and multicultural exchange space.”

He also called on other UC academics to “move the limits of their comfort zone, putting themselves in the role of learner of educational approaches like this one, which will favor situated, transversal and at the same time global learning opportunities for our students.”

New call and future
These two certifications were the beginning of a process that is intended to continue. As explained by Maribel Florez, director of Global Training of the Vice-Rector for International Affairs, a call was launched at the end of July – in conjunction with the People Department – ​​to offer the course “Leadership of Internationalization of the Curriculum Initiatives” to all officials of the University.

This will have 25 places and will start on October 31, 2022. You can apply until September 14, 2022.

In addition, work is being done with the Academic Vice-Rectory (CDDoc and the Academic Department of Teaching), the Personnel Department, plus English UC and the Pedagogy in English program “to jointly forge a path that expands opportunities at the university to approach into the English language,” explains Florez.

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