EMI - English Medium Instruction

Im Rahmen des Qualitätspakt Lehre beriet und unterstützte das EMI-Team von 2012 bis 2021 Lehrende, ihr Fachwissen an eine immer größer werdenden Zahl internationaler Studierender auf Englisch weiterzugeben. Durch individuelle Beratung und Übungen in kleinen Gruppen wurden die entsprechenden kommunikativen Fertigkeiten für die Lehre im multilingualen und multikulturellen Kontext verbessert und erweitert.  



Dieses Vorhaben wurde aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums für Bildung        und Forschung unter dem Förderkennzeichen 01PL11007 gefördert.
Die Verantwortung für den Inhalt dieser Veröffentlichung liegt bei den Autorinnen und Autoren.


  • Förderung und Verbesserung von kommunikativen Fertigkeiten für die englischsprachige Lehre.
  • Bereitstellung von maßgeschneiderter Sprachunterstützung für Lehrende.
  • Stärkung des Vertrauens in die vorhandenen Sprachfertigkeiten.
  • Lehrende, die eine Rückmeldung über ihr Englisch im universitären Lehrkontext wünschen.
  • Lehrende, die Unterstützung und maßgeschneidertes Training für die englischsprachige Lehre suchen.
  • Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden, die sich jetzt auf eine zukünftige Lehrtätigkeit in Englisch vor einer multikulturellen und multilingualen Gruppe vorbereiten wollen.
On this page you will find detailed information on:
Workshops, Courses and Tailored Training
The focus of our workshops lay on fostering and improving your language and communication skills for teaching in English.
  • Teaching in English - Foundation
  • Teaching in English - Lecturing
  • Teaching in English - Student Interaction
  • Teaching in English - Preparatory Workshop
  • Teaching in English - Providing Formative Written Feedback
  • Presenting your Research in English
  • Teaching in English - Introduction for Doctoral Candidates & Postdocs
  • Online Course - Writing Skills for Teaching in English
  • Classroom Observation
  • One-on-One Training
  • Institute Specific Workshops


English Medium Instruction - Quality Management
The page contents are protected by copyright. Please refrain from using any information on this page without the authors' permission. If you would like to quote content from this page, use the following reference: 

Gundermann, Susanne and Gregg Dubow. 2016. "English Medium Instruction - Quality Assurance". URL: 

Certification of English Medium Instruction Competencies in English Degree Programmes
The English Medium Instruction (EMI) team has developed a certification procedure to evaluate the linguistic and communicative quality of teaching in English. Degree programmes can undergo the certification procedure and obtain a quality seal attesting to the linguistic and communicative competencies of its teaching staff. The seal is valid for 5 years.
This quality assurance measure is unique in the German higher education landscape. It is advised by a panel of international EMI experts and is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grant no. 01PL11007 - Quality Pact for Teaching).


  • Certification Procedure at a Glance

  • Assessment Criteria                                                 

  • Certified Programmes and Feedback 


Detailed information about the certification can be found here (access for academic staff of the University of Freiburg only).

Certification Procedure at a Glance


The certification procedure has three unique characteristics:
  • takes place in an authentic setting, i.e. actual classroom observation to assess linguistic and communicative practises as they occur in a real teaching context
  • provides pluri-perspective feedback, i.e. combines expert, student, and lecturer feedback on observed lesson
  • assesses criteria specific to English-medium instruction, i.e. linguistic competencies and communicative competencies for teaching in English
Detailed information about the qualification programme can be found here (access for academic staff of the University of Freiburg only).


Assessment Criteria
We want to thank Patrick Studer and Paul Kelly from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland for contributing to the development of these EMI-specific assessment criteria.


Linguistic Competencies for English-Medium Instruction

L.1 Fluency

Speech is fluent with rare instances of language-related hesitations which do not disrupt comprehension.

L.2 Articulation and Pronunciation

Pronunciation (phonemic sound contrasts) is clear to understand, word stress is accurate according to target-language standards, and articulation does not require extra listener effort. 

L.3 Grammatical accuracy

Grammar is accurate according to target-language standards with only minor or rare inaccuracies which do not disrupt comprehension. 

L.4 Lexical accuracy and range

Lexical choice is accurate according to target-language standards and semantically transparent (avoidance of opaque idiomaticity), lexical range is broad enough to elaborate on subject-specific content and to compensate any lexical gaps.

L.5 Code consistency

Code is consistently English, both in speech and writing. If a language other than English is used, a follow-up explanation or translation in English is provided.

L total

A certified lecturer speaks fluently with no or few instances of language-related hesitations, articulates and pronounces clearly with no or few instances where confusion might occur, and uses grammar accurately with minor inaccuracies. The lecturer’s lexical choice is accurate and the lexical range is broad enough to explain subject-specific content and to compensate occasional lexical gaps, while avoiding opaque idiomaticity. He/she consistently uses English in speech and writing and any use of a language other than English is followed by an explanation or translation in English. The overall linguistic performance might occasionally require extra listener effort but does not impede comprehension. 



Communicative Competencies for English-Medium Instruction

C.1 Cohesion

Cohesion in the session is achieved through a range of cohesive devices, the structure and objectives of the session are clearly expressed, and the lesson pace is appropriate.

C.2 Prosody

Speech rate is appropriate and does not require extra listener effort and prosodic variation (intonation, stress, pauses) to enhance student comprehension can be observed.

C.3 Initiation and integration of student input

Student input and comprehension are facilitated through teacher questions and student contributions are anchored and integrated into ongoing classroom discourse.

C.4 Responses to student input

Responses to student questions or contributions are sociolinguistically appropriate, if necessary comprehension is negotiated through adaptation of (non- or para-)verbal communication (variation in prosody, use of additional media or body language).

C.5 Intercultural transparency

Locally specific concepts or matters are contextualised and explained in advance for the multicultural classroom.

C total

A certified lecturer produces coherent speech through a range of cohesive devices to structure the session, speaks at an appropriate rate and uses prosodic variation (intonation, stress, pauses) to support communicative intention.  During a session, he/she facilitates student input through questions, integrates student contributions into ongoing discourse, responds appropriately to student input and negotiates comprehension through adaptation of  his/her (non- and para)verbal communication if necessary. Locally specific concepts and matters are contextualised and explained in advance for the multicultural classroom.  The communicative performance stimulates student participation and facilitates comprehension.



Certified Programmes and Feedback

Degree programme

Masters in Microsystems Engineering

Semester(s) of certification

SS 2015 and WS 2015/16

Number of certified staff

34 teachers

Staff feedback

Prof. Carsten Buse recommends the certification procedure to other programmes because “it is very rare to get this kind of highly qualified feedback."


Dr. Andreas Greiner recommends the certification procedure for other programmes because “the feedback is extremely helpful to control and improve the quality of the courses.”


Dr. Matthias Dümpelmann – “I received helpful feedback related to my skills for teaching in English and also to improve interaction with the students.”

Dr. Karen Lienkamp – “The student feedback and the self-evaluation sheet were excellent tools to take a snap shot of my teaching performance. The video material that the SLI team produced allowed me to slip into the student perspective and see myself teach.”


Degree programme

Masters in Modern China Studies

Semester(s) of certification

SS 2016

Number of certified staff

3 teachers


Degree programme

Masters in Geology

Semester(s) of certification

SS 2016

Number of certified staff

8 teachers

Staff feedback

Prof. Thomas Kenkmann - "For me it was the first time that my English and educational abilities were evaluated by professionals. It was an exciting and rewarding process."

Dr. Jan-Henrik May - "I felt very confident and comfortable during the test lecture, and was then positively surprised to be convinced about a range of details which could be improved."


Degree programme

Masters in Environmental Governance

Semester(s) of certification

SS 2016 and WS2016/17

Number of certified staff

22 teachers

Staff feedback

Prof. Jürgen Bauhus - "It happens rarely that we do get assessed by peers. Yet the feedback and suggestions that we received were very helpful; it initiates some reflections about our teaching that is different from that of student evaluations."


Prof. Michael Pregernig - "I found the feedback very helpful, especially since it focused both on linguistic and didactic aspects. The SLI team did a great job in observing the micro-dynamics of in-class interactions, and they gave constructive feedback on that."


Assistant Prof. Stefan Pauliuk - "I received detailed and helpful feedback as well as specific improvement options on language style and grammar, teaching methods, an student engagement. Thanks a lot!"


Degree programme

Masters in Embedded Systems Engineering

Semester(s) of certification

SS 2018 and WS 2018/19

Number of certified staff

47 teachers (of which 28 were already certified in 2015/16)

Staff feedback

Prof. Lars Pastweka - "...in retrospective, it gave me assurance that my overall communication during class is received by the students as intended and it also gave excellent clues on which areas to improve.






















































E-learning Resources - Teaching in English
These e-modules look at a range of communicative strategies and explicit language use for English-taught classes with the multilingual, multicultural classroom. The resources have been created so that teachers can autonomously gain insights into and reflect on communicative skills for English-taught content courses. Implementing these strategies and language help reduce the students' cognitive load when learning new content in a foreign language.
Click here for large image                  Click here for large image

Teaching in English - Macro-factors for lecturing

This e-module addresses lecture design factors such as structure and SMART learning objectives to reduce students’ cognitive load when learning content in a foreign language.

Link to the e-module

Teaching in English - Micro-factors for lecturing

This e-module addresses micro-level linguistic features such as signposts and clear questions to help students better follow your line of thought during a lecture. 

Link to the e-module

Teaching in English - Initiating student input

This e-module addresses activation methods in English-taught classes. The resources focus on guiding questions and practical tips for planning methods in the multicultural classroom as well as specific steps and language to set up in-class tasks.

Link to the e-module

Teaching in English - Responding to and integrating student input

This e-module addresses student interaction in English-taught classes with a multilingual, multicultural class. The resources focus on strategies for handling student input, giving brief feedback, integrating large classes and handling instances of clarification. 

Link to the e-module

Teaching in English - Prosody to enhance meaning and effect

This e-module focuses on emphasis, pausing and intonation in teaching. The module provides communicative strategies to enhance meaning and ‘effect’, both of which help teachers capture students’ attention and impart the key take home message(s) from your English-taught courses.

Link to the e-module

Do you speak Denglish or English?

This e-module addresses typical errors German speakers make in English. In particular, the module focuses on Germanisms in vocabulary, pronunciation, and idiomatic language which can temporarily inhibit comprehension of English. 

Link to the e-module


Writing Skills for Teaching in English


This e-learning resource addresses five topics: teaching statements, catchy course descriptions. Transparent syllabi, handouts/exercise sheets, and written feedback for students. Participants can electronically submit pieces of teaching-related writing and receive constructive feedback on language clarity and accuracy.

Link to the e-module 


  • Gundermann, Susanne & Dubow, Gregg. 2018. “Ensuring Quality in EMI: developing an assessment procedure at the University of Freiburg”. In Patrick Studer, ed. Internationalizing Curricula in Higher Education: Quality and Language of Instruction, special issue 107  of VALS-ASLA Bulletin, pp 113-125. Available at: http://doc.rero.ch/record/11876

  • Dubow, Gregg & Gundermann, Susanne. 2017. "Certifying the linguistic and communicative competencies of teachers in English-medium instruction programmes". Language Learning in Higher Education, 7(2): 475-487. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/cercles-2017-0021

  • Gundermann, Susanne. 2016. "The challenges of English-medium instruction: what can be learnt from the experiences of students and lecturers at the University of Freiburg". In: P. Schmidt, H. Hasenauer and S. Lewark, eds. Should all forestry students learn the same? Generalist versus specialist approaches. Proceedings of the SILVA Network Conference, Vienna, Austria, April 16th - 18th, 2015. Freiburg: University of Freiburg, 111-121. http://www.silva-network.uni-freiburg.de/SILVA_13/view

  • Gundermann, Susanne. 2014. English-medium instruction: Modelling the role of the native speaker in a lingua franca context. Doctoral diss., University of Freiburg. https://www.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/data/9795


Read about what teaching staff are saying in the current issue of Uni-Lernen. The article is only available in German O-Töne.
Feedback - Classroom Observations

"Das Feedback war durchaus hilfreich [...] und Verbesserungsmöglichkeiten werden immer mit viel Lob zusammen verpackt. Gerade falsche Aussprache [...] kann Studenten das Leben schwer machen. Wer häufig Vorlesungen auf Englisch hält, dem kann ich [...] eine persönliche Evaluation einer Vorlesung durchaus empfehlen."

Prof. Dr. Thomas Brox
Technische Fakultät - Institut für Informatik
Lehrstuhl für Mustererkennung und Bildverarbeitung

"Ich fand die Beobachtung meiner Veranstaltung durch die EMI-Mitarbeiter sehr nützlich. [...] Man lernt ganz viel [...] und entdeckt überraschende Sprachfehler. Das Feedback hat mir sehr geholfen, interaktive Situationen im Hörsaal bewusster wahrzunehmen und zu steuern.Ich würde es jedem auf Englisch Lehrenden wärmstens empfehlen, die Dienste vom EMI in Anspruch zu nehmen."

Dr. Krisztina Kis-Katos
Wirtschafts- und Verhaltenswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Lehrstuhl für Internationale Wirtschaftspolitik


"I got an intense feedback on my lecture with regard to both language and didactic. What really opened my eyes was the feedback on my self-assessment. Here, Gregg and Susanne put the behaviour of the students in an intercultural background. Plus, they recommended which services would improve my English teaching."

Andreas Fritz
Fakultät für Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen
Professur für Fernerkundung und Landschaftsinformationssysteme (FeLis)


To me, the feedback provided a valuable opportunity for self-reflection. Mis-pronunciations were pointed out as well as examples of good “signposting" in the lecture, which I was both half-aware of and now use with higher awareness. Plus a couple of Germanisms were brought to my attention, which could make it harder than necessary to follow courses for non-German-speakers."

Dr. Bernd Westerphal
Technische Fakultät – Institut für Informatik
Lehrstuhl für Softwaretechnik - Software Engineering
Feedback - Consulation und Workshops

"Die Möglichkeit des Proofreadings von Folien war ein wertvolles Feedback [...] und hat geholfen, einige Inhalte weniger "technisch", dafür - ohne Verlust an Präzision - gleichwohl verständlicher zu präsentieren. Die Möglichkeit des Proofreadings von Klausuren war und ist hilfreich, um prüfungsrechtlich relevante Aspekte [...] sprachlich bezüglich einer präzisen Aufgabenstellung abzusichern."

Prof. Dr. Stephan Lengsfeld
Wirtschafts- und Verhaltenswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Lehrstuhl für Finanzwesen, Rechnungswesen und Controlling


"The meetings increased my self-confidence concerning teaching in English. Furthermore I learned a lot of expessions, phrases and “tricks” that facilitated structuring of the lecture and communication with the students."


Dr. Heiko Winter
Fakultät für Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen
Professur für Forstliche Biomaterialien


"Since the support was directly related to my own lecture and was given in a one on one coaching, I benefited a lot; especially I could remove wrong language phrases, work on my pronunciation and got very useful hints on how to better interact with students in English."

Dr. Regina Rhodius
Fakultät für Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen
Professur für Forst- und Umweltpolitik


I highly benefitted from the personal training(…). Moreover, the encouragement to interact with students in the lecture was well received. Not only does it make teaching more efficient, but also more fun!”

Dr. Matthias Keller
Technische Fakultät – Institut für Mikrosystemtechnik
Fritz-Hüttinger-Professur für Mikroelektronik
Feedback - "Teaching in English" Course for Doctoral Candidates
"It has covered a vast amount of material in a short time (which is a huge bonus for a busy PhD student), but has provided us with many links and materials for us to refer to in future. The course was very hands-on and therefore more beneficial. I wish more lectures had taken this course."
Maria Shvedunova
Fakultät für Biologie

"I improved my pace of talking in class and interaction with students. The mini-lectures and teaching exercises provide a good opportunity to learn from each other and reflect on my own problems. I also found writing feedback to peers and supplementary materials very well organized and helpful."

Li Li
Fakultät für Umwelt und Natürliche Ressourcen
Professur für Wildtierökologie und Wildtiermanagement


"I learned how to better organize a lecture and include questions in my lecture. Plues, the recorded mock teaching exercise helped me a lot."

Jiabin Huang
Fakultät für Biologie
Institut für Biologie III
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