Universities have outstanding inspection results from the British Council inspectors, and provide some of the best teaching opportunities.
The best teaching job I ever had was in a university in the UK. I left it thirty years ago this year to become editor of the EL Gazette. I remember walking out of the campus and across Regent’s Park with a trio of French students who had volunteered to intern with us.
I am not sure how well I actually taught, I had a Dip and masses of experience in ESP but I knew little about academic language. I relied heavily on a huge tome called the Harvard Rhetoric course. EAP had just been invented and EMI was not even thought of, though given a student body made up entirely of French and Germans that is probably what we were doing.
Nowadays, of course, my French and German students might have chosen to study in English medium back home. As we report on this supplement, the number of undergraduate courses taught in English on the continent is growing exponentially with an average of 38 per cent of Higher Education Institutions offering English-taught bachelor’s. Or ETBs, as we must learn to call them.
It has evolved into Regent’s University London and far from being dominated by two nationalities, it now has the most diverse student population in the UK, we are told by Julian Kenny, head of the English language centre, in his interview. Regent’s is one of many UK universities whose language centres excel at teaching, based on the reports of the British Council Inspectors. This may come as a surprise to the British government, which has set up the TEF, a convoluted framework which uses student satisfaction surveys to judge teaching excellence. As we show on the supplement, the students and the British Council inspectors do not always agree. When it comes to English language centres, our money is on the inspectors.
Of course, only 40 British universities currently choose to be inspected by the BC, but their results on inspection are fantastic. Below we list the top 20 university language centres, or 24 to be exact. That’s an astonishing 60 per cent of university language centre who make it into the top 25 per cent of all accredited centres in the UK and pretty much dominate the tables when it comes to teaching. But then teaching English in a UK university remains pretty much the best job in TEFL.
Melanie Butler, editor at large