Exploring Students' Perceptions in Sustainable Disciplinary Language Learning in an English-Medium Instruction University: A Case Study of Hong Kong Veterinary Medical Students

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SUSTAINABILITY, vol.15, no.2, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/su15021279
  • Journal Name: SUSTAINABILITY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Aerospace Database, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, Geobase, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: English-medium instruction, disciplinary language, veterinary, students, university
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


University students are expected to develop the skills required for their disciplines, especially those who have learnt English as a foreign language and study at English-medium instruction (EMI) universities. This study investigates the disciplinary literacy needs of students of veterinary medicine. The data were collected using a large-scale survey (n = 122) of students and interviews with five practitioners of veterinary medicine. The findings show that the student vets were trained to carry out highly demanding duties during their clinical placements, such as reading medical case histories, making diagnoses, elaborating on treatment plans for their clients, and composing referrals and medical reports. However, they were exposed to a challenging EMI environment where the requirement to speak and write in English significantly hindered the effectiveness of their learning. A discrepancy in disciplinary tasks between school and the workplace was also revealed. Therefore, it is crucial that researchers and educators at veterinary schools address students' learning challenges to ensure they have the effective English language skills (including reading, writing, and speaking) they need to meet the language demands of their future clinical work and an understanding of the academic genres of veterinary medicine. This study also showcases the types of multi-literacies (i.e., academic genres and communication skills) needed to fulfil certain clinical duties, and the pedagogical implications are discussed.