*Applied Linguistics* Cracking the code: Lecture listening challenges and self-regulated strategies across different proficiency levels in EMI higher education

In the past two decades, English medium instruction (EMI) university programs have grown exponentially in non-Anglophone countries against the backdrop of the internationalisation of higher education. However, many of these programs lack clear language admission thresholds, resulting in marked heterogeneity in student English proficiency upon entry. These students may face diverse challenges in their initial experiences listening to EMI academic lectures, adopt different strategies to cope, and undergo varying trajectories in listening over time. To unpack such complexities in students’ lecture listening experience, the study adopts a longitudinal mixed-methods design. It reports on questionnaire responses from 412 freshman and semi-structured interviews with a sub-group of 34 students at the beginning, halfway, and the end of their first semester studying at an EMI university in China. Students of varying English listening proficiencies were divided into high, medium, and low-proficiency cohorts based on their placement test scores, and their respective trajectories of self-regulated listening were compared. Findings from the study offer important pedagogical implications for nurturing strategic self-regulated listeners and designing appropriate language support mechanisms to facilitate successful student transition into EMI study.

Dr Sihan Zhou is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the Faculty of Education, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is a member of the English medium instruction (EMI) Oxford Research Group. Her research focuses on listening, self-regulation, and language support in EMI higher education, most recently appearing in journals such as Language Teaching, System, Applied Linguistics Review, ELT Journal, and RELC Journal.

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