Department of Education

Ernesto Macaro

Professor Emeritus

College Affiliation: Worcester College

Ernesto Macaro is Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics and a Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College, University of Oxford.

He is the founding Director of the Centre for Research and Development in English Medium Instruction (EMI) in the department. He was also the Director of the Department from 2013 to 2016.

Before becoming a teacher educator and researcher Ernesto was a language teacher in secondary schools in the UK for 16 years during which time he obtained an MA at the University of Warwick. He then obtained a PhD from the University of Reading whilst teaching on that institution’s PGCE course. He joined the Department of Education at Oxford in 1999 and soon after introduced the area of Applied Linguistics by designing the Masters in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition.

Ernesto’s current research focuses on second language learning strategies and on the interaction between teachers and learners in second language classrooms and in those where English is the medium of instruction. He has published widely in these areas.

Ernesto is currently supervising doctoral students researching the following topics:

• English Medium Instruction in Turkish Higher Education
• The interaction in science lessons where English is the Medium of Instruction
• The vocabulary learning strategies of students in English Medium Instruction classes

Ernesto continues to be highly research active and is frequently called upon to give keynotes, plenary lectures and workshops in many parts of the world as well as providing consultancies on language policy.

Current or recent research projects

The effects of teacher codeswitching on acquisition of second language vocabulary

Using listening comprehension texts as the tasks around which the intervention took place, year 9 students were taught vocabulary by either being provided with target language information or via first language information. We measured pre- post and delayed tests.
Funding Body: ESRC

EMI in Turkey: A collaborative experiment

The research investigated the extent to which it is feasible and beneficial for English language specialists in Turkish universities to collaborate with academic subject specialists teaching through the medium of English in the preparation and delivery of content lessons or lectures.
Funding body: part funded by Oxford University Press

Decoding French, Motivation and Foreign Language Learning

This study involved an England-wide survey of Key Stage 3 learners of French in comprehensive schools which elicited respondents’ mastery and perceptions of decoding French (from the written form to the spoken form) and correlated these results with the same learners’ self-reports on their self-efficacy in French, their attributions of success and failure in French and their motivation to continue learning it.
Funding Body: ESRC

The certification of EMI teachers in Higher Education

The study sought to establish the feasibility of certifying the teaching competence of teachers teaching academic subjects through the medium of English in non-anglophone contexts. Specifically it investigated teacher attitudes towards the kinds of competencies needed and whether it was possible and/or beneficial for the certification to be awarded at an institutional, national, or international level.
Funding Body: Fell Fund (University of Oxford)

Transition from secondary CLIL to tertiary EMI in Italy

The research investigates the challenges faced by students transitioning from the upper secondary school CLIL classroom to EMI in Universities. Specifically it measures the lexical knowledge needed to adequately understand lectures in the L2 (English) and the strategies that students might use to compensate for lexical deficiencies.
Funding Body: The British Council

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