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Korean J General Edu > Volume 17(2); 2023 > Article
Korean University Students’ Experiences and Beliefs about Medium of Instruction in English Speaking Classes


The purpose of this study is to further understand Korean university students’ perception of using English as a primary medium of instruction in English speaking classes, along with their beliefs about what language would prove the most beneficial as a medium of instruction. This study aims to present the beliefs that students hold about which language(s) should be employed and for what reasons, as well as whether these beliefs vary depending on the students’ language proficiency. This research was based on the responses given by students after having direct experience participating in English speaking classes taught in English.
This study used a survey questionnaire as the primary source of data which contained multiple choice questions, a Likert-scale, and open-ended questions. Data was collected from a total of 135 predominantly first-year Korean university students who self-reported as being at the beginner and intermediate-levels. A combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to analyze the data. Descriptive statistics and a series of independent sample t-tests were used for the multiple choice questions and Likert-scale questions and content analysis applied to open-ended questions.
Data analysis revealed that students had positive experiences in English speaking classes taught in English. The advantages of the English-only classes included the English-rich environment, improved familiarity with English, a positive emotional response, increased attentiveness to English, and most importantly, improvement in English proficiency. At the same time, students also reported difficulties in understanding lectures and instructions and in communicating with their teachers in English. They coped by using various strategies, such as machine translators and by asking their teachers questions. However, beginner-level students were more self-reliant while intermediate-level students used a balanced use of self-sufficiency and human resources. Regarding their beliefs about what language should be used as the medium of instruction, both beginner and intermediate students believed that English should remain the primary language used in class with a moderate use of L1 being suggested. Specifically, students agreed that L1 may provide benefits in academic, affective, and managerial domains. However, beginner-level students found using L1 to be more advantageous than intermediate-level students.
The findings of this study suggest employing an English medium of instruction across varying English proficiency levels in English speaking classes and discusses various methods that might be considered by teachers when employing an English medium of instruction, one of which would be allowing for the use of the students’ L1 to a moderate extent under certain circumstances.


본 사례연구는 원어 수업으로 진행되는 영어 말하기 수업에 대한 한국 대학생들의 경험을 이해하고, 바람직한 매개언어는 무엇인지를 알아보는데 목적이 있다. 본 연구는 영어를 매개로 한 영어 말하기 과목을 수강하고 있는 대학생들이 어떤 경험을 하고 있으며 바람직한 교수언어에 대한 학생들의 생각과 각 교수언어에 대한 장단점을 알아보고, 이와 동시에 학생들의 경험과 인식이 언어 능력에 따라 어떤 차이를 보이는지 살펴보고자 하였다.
본 연구는 선다형, 리커트 척도, 개방형 질문으로 구성된 설문지를 주요 자료 수집 도구로 활용하였다. 총 135명의 대학생들이 설문에 참여하였으며, 그 중 대부분은 1학년이었으며 자가 평가를 통해 초급 또는 중급으로 분류되었다. 설문 자료 분석을 위해 양적 접근법과 질적 접근법을 결합하여 활용하였으며, 선다형과 리커트 척도 질문은 기술통계 또는 독립표본 t검정을, 개방형 질문은 내용 분석법을 적용하였다.
자료 분석 결과, 학생들은 영어를 매개로 사용한 영어 말하기 수업에 대해 긍정적 견해를 가지고 있는 것으로 나타났다. 장점으로 학생들은 풍부한 영어 환경과 영어의 친밀감 상승, 긍정적 정서 형성, 영어 집중도 향상, 그리고 무엇보다 영어 능력 향상을 언급하였다. 반면 교수자의 설명을 완벽히 이해하는 것과 영어로 의사소통 하는 것에 어려움이 있는 것으로 나타났다. 이를 극복하기 위해 초급, 중급 학생들 모두 자동 번역기나 교수자에게 질문하기 등과 같은 다양한 방법을 통해 어려움을 극복하였다. 다만 초급 학생들은 교수자나 동료 학생들의 도움에 의존하기 보다는 혼자 힘으로 문제를 해결하려는 성향을 보인 반면, 중급 학생들은 본인이 혼자 해결하는 방법과 도움을 요청하는 방법을 균형 있게 사용하는 것으로 나타났다. 어떤 언어를 매개로 영어 말하기 수업이 진행되어야 하는가에 대해, 대부분의 학생들은 영어 레벨에 상관없이 영어가 주된 매개어로 사용되어져야 어느 정도의 모국어 사용은 허용될 필요가 있다고 답변하였다. 특히 모국어의 사용은 학업적, 정의적, 수업 관리 측면에서 분별적으로 사용되어질 때 긍정적 작용을 하는 것으로 인식되었으며, 이는 중급 학생들에 비해 초급 학생들 사이에서 더 뚜렷하게 나타났다.
본 연구는 영어를 매개로 하는 영어 말하기 수업이 다양한 영어 레벨 학습자에게 걸쳐 긍정적으로 인식될 수 있음을 보여주고 있으며, 신중한 모국어 사용을 통해 수업의 효과가 더 높아질 수 있다는 것을 시사하고 있다.

1. Introduction

English has continued to maintain its position as a mainstay in education for many countries across the globe. The Republic of Korea, henceforth Korea, is one such country that places significant emphasis on English language education as an integral part of its standard curriculum (Mani & Trines, 2018). The breadth of English as a foreign language (EFL) education in Korea extends far beyond primary or secondary schooling as its importance is also required in higher education (Kim et al., 2017; Macaro et al., 2018) and remains a deciding factor for vocational advancement (Jeon & Lee, 2006; Jeon, 2008). As a result, English has become an essential skill in Korea and thus become highly competitive and indispensable for the majority of its citizens to gain entry to college, obtain employment, and further advance one’s social standing.
Currently, EFL education in Korea centers around a predominantly monolingual approach through which English is used as the primary medium of instruction. Teaching English through English was a policy enacted by the Korean Ministry of Education (Kang, 2008) to help establish and normalize an ideology where dominant use of the target language, English, should be used as the medium of instruction in English classes. Not only has the approach of using only English to teach English permeated English language teaching, it is also steadily becoming more widespread in higher education where an English medium of instruction (EMI) has been adopted to teach a broad range of subjects other than simply English itself (Dearden, 2014; Macaro et al., 2018). The implementation of EMI signals the significance and prevalence of English’s role as a sole medium of instruction for both English language teaching and other academic subjects.
The extensive global shift to instill English as the primary medium of instruction for academic subjects has been met with mixed reactions. Proponents of EMI espouse the importance of using English due to its position as the established lingua franca of education around the world. Additionally, EMI is believed to better prepare students to compete in an ever-growing global workforce (Dearden, 2014). However, others claim that instituting EMI cannot achieve its desired effects if students do not yet have the skills necessary to competently participate in these types of classes (Kym & Kym, 2014; Phuong & Nguyen, 2019). While implementing the use of English as primary a medium of instruction may have its advantages, the transition to make widespread use of this approach will continue to be met with difficulties faced by teachers and students alike if they are not properly prepared and trained.
Other questions remain about the legitimacy and efficacy of designating English as a primary medium of instruction in countries or jurisdictions where English is not the dominant language. In such environments, students and many teachers often possess a shared first language (L1), which in many instances can be used to better achieve the goals of the class. The learner’s L1 is a deeply embedded aspect of their identity (Auerbach, 1993; 2016) and provides an integral part of the thought process during second language development (Cook, 2003). Thus, the use of English as a primary medium of instruction cannot fully erase the learner’s access to L1, and the pressure to abstain from its use and to use only English may deny learners from its potential benefits.
In order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of using English as the sole medium of instruction, researchers (e.g., Ernawati et al., 2015; Phuong & Nguyen, 2019) have suggested that further research is needed to explore the issues that students face and their perspectives about using EMI. The present paper seeks to better understand Korean university students’ views of using an English-only medium of instruction based on their experience in English speaking classes. This study also attempts to understand what medium of instruction students consider most appropriate for English speaking classes, and whether their beliefs differ depending on their level of English proficiency.
Therefore, the research questions that guided the current study are:
  1. What are Korean university students’ evaluations of taking English speaking classes in which only English was used as the medium of instruction?

  2. What are Korean university students’ beliefs about which languages should be employed as a medium of instruction in English speaking classes?

  3. What are the differences between beginner and intermediate Korean university students’ evaluation and beliefs about using only English in English speaking classes?

2. Literature Review

2.1. English as a Medium of Instruction

The significance of English language education in Korea has been well-established, and much effort has been focused on developing teaching approaches most conducive to helping teachers and students achieve their language goals. One essential aspect is deciding which language teachers and students should use, or be compelled to use, in the EFL classroom. From the late 1990s to early 2000s, the Korean Ministry of Education initiated the shift to implementing English-only instruction by suggesting that English classes be taught using only English (Jeon, 2008). The emphasis on using primarily English in English classes was expressed through a policy enacted as part of Korea’s Seventh Educational Curriculum referred to as ‘Teaching English Through English’ (TETE) in 2001 (Kang, 2008). The implementation of TETE stipulated the exclusive use of English in the classroom (Kim, 2002), or that 80% or more of the class be conducted in English (Choi, 2014). TETE stipulated that English be used as often as possible, including when teaching activities and during social interactions, making it the primary language of communication between both students and teachers (Kim, 2002).
The theoretical basis for TETE is centered around a monolingual approach to second language acquisition deeply rooted in the direct method. The direct method maintains that only strict use of the target language be utilized by both teachers and students, and reliance of the learners’ or teachers’ native language be prohibited (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2011). This framework is further supported by Krashen’s (1981, 1982) theory of second language acquisition, through which learning a second language occurs subconsciously by receiving maximum exposure to comprehensible input. Hence, TETE was designed to benefit students by providing an English-rich environment to maximize exposure and thereby facilitate students’ acquisition as a result.
In the years following the implementation of TETE in Korea, both officially in public education as well as unofficially in private learning institutions, it would continue to gain further acceptance as a primary medium of instruction for English classes. In a meta-analysis of 28 studies focusing on the effectiveness of TETE, Moon and Maeng (2017) found the implementation of TETE in EFL classes to be successful in improving students’ English skills. In addition, use of TETE also appeared to increase student’s interest in learning English, motivation to learn, and confidence to use the language through greater exposure, particularly in elementary and middle school students. However, the emphasis on using only English was also found to induce greater anxiety in learners. Overall, Moon and Maeng determined TETE to be an effective approach to English teaching, but admitted continued longitudinal studies of varying levels of proficiency were still needed, especially for high school and university students.
While TETE focuses primarily on English language education, it’s important to also acknowledge the growing role of English as a medium of instruction for classes other than English itself. Dearden (2014) asserts that there is a growing global shift from English taught as a foreign language (EFL) to English being used as a medium of instruction (EMI) for academic subjects. Pressure to use English as the primary medium of instruction has followed an international trend that has continued to gain greater acceptance (Dearden, 2014; Macaro et al., 2018). In several countries where English is not the native language, many higher education institutions have initiated programs that implement the use of English as a primary medium of instruction (Nurshatayeva & Page, 2020). The impetus to instill EMI as the new standard for teaching content, especially in higher education, is based on the prevalence of English as the dominant language in academia (Ismailov et al., 2021). Many countries throughout Asia implement an EMI in higher education to access a greater volume of knowledge and increase competitiveness in innovation and knowledge production (Hu, 2007). The implementation of EMI at Korean universities has also been seen as a competitive way to achieve higher domestic and international university rankings (Cho, 2012). Macaro (2018) describes the growing emergence of EMI as one of the most significant transformations that education has faced in decades. As a result, English has been launched to the forefront as the primary medium of instruction used to teach a range of academic subjects in addition to English.
Macaro et al. (2018) define EMI as ”the use of the English language to teach academic subjects (other than English itself) in countries or jurisdictions where the first language (L1) of the majority of the population is not English” (p. 37). However, they also report that the meaning and application of EMI in higher education have been flexible and constantly changing. Regardless, most definitions agree that an EMI approach attempts to focus on the content of the course with an emphasis on using English by both teachers and students. In defining the parameters of EMI, Dearden and Spain (2021) specify that both students and teachers should make considerable use of English for discussions and lectures amounting to at least 70% of the class. While percentages may be difficult to measure in practice, the message is clear that the majority of the class, including key lectures and student work, should be conducted in English. EMI as a teaching approach strongly mirrors Korea’s own TETE practice and illustrates the strong influence of a monolingual approach to English learning.
An essential aspect of EMI is its focus on learning content through English. In this regard, the content is considered to be the primary focus and students are intended to improve their language skills simultaneously. In a study by Brown and Bradford (2017), the implementation of EMI was determined to focus primarily on improving student’s understanding of the content taught. This means that English learning was secondary, although students may also further their language skills as a result of English instruction. Due to explicit English language education taking a backseat in an EMI approach, there have been some difficulties with its reception. Cho (2012) reports that Korean university students struggled with listening comprehension, claiming to understand a mere 60% of lectures in EMI classes. In Phuong and Nguyen’s (2019) study of 136 Vietnamese university students enrolled in an EMI program, roughly one third claimed they had difficulty participating in class discussions in an English- only setting, and nearly 45% of students struggled with knowledge of the correct vocabulary to understand and articulate themselves effectively. In addition, Kim et al. (2017) reported that 62.6% of Korean university students participating in an EMI program admittedly did not willingly participate in these classes, but were required to do so by the school’s policies. Based on students’ lack of proficiency, they felt ill-equipped and did not desire to actively participate in these programs. Despite the worldwide trend to instill EMI in higher education, it has not been easy for all students to integrate smoothly. Therefore, developing a greater understanding of the needs of students based on their perceptions is paramount to refining the use and success of EMI for future programs.
This overview of TETE and EMI is intended to illustrate the progression of English education in Korea and emphasize the deeply rooted prevalence of a monolingual approach in academia, where English is used as the primary medium of instruction. The present study explores students’ views of using English as the main medium of instruction in English speaking classes. Although these were English classes, their main objective was to equip students with knowledge and skills related to presentations, which went beyond language learning. To avoid any potential confusion and accurately describe the characteristics of these classes, the term ”English-only speaking classes” will be used in this study instead of directly using the terms TETE or EMI.

2.2. L1 Inclusion in the EFL Classroom

There remains continued debate as to which language choices are most preferred and beneficial for teachers and students to achieve their language goals in the EFL classroom. While the use of English as a primary medium of instruction has been recognized as an accepted practice in education, it has not been without its issues. The implementation of TETE was initially met with pushback in Korea (Jeon, 2008; Kang, 2008). For example, in Kang’s (2008) study, some teacher reports claimed that students did not have the English language proficiency to engage in an English-only class, and as a result L1 was indispensable in ensuring the success of the class. Similar issues persist in EMI-based programs. Many students enrolled in EMI-based programs also face difficulties understanding and following along with lectures presented in English (Cho, 2012; Phuong & Nguyen, 2019). To achieve successful outcomes in EMI-based programs, it is essential that both teachers and students have sufficient communicative English skills (Kym & Kym, 2014) and sufficient understanding of vocabulary (Phuong & Nguyen, 2019). However, in cases where students’ skills are still in the process of being developed, L1 has proven to be a valuable scaffolding tool in aiding English language learning (Bhooth & Ismail, 2014; Tsagari and Giannikas, 2018).
The benefits of L1 to assist in learning a second language are not a new phenomenon and have been recognized for some time. Swain and Lapkin (2000) discussed how L1 serves important cognitive and social functions to navigate and complete tasks to be completed in the target language. Additional studies have also reported on the significance of a learner’s L1 background knowledge and its beneficial role in acquiring a second language (Cenoz & Gorter, 2011, 2013; Cook, 2001; Cummins, 2008). As further and more recent research would reveal, L1 has continually shown itself to be a valuable tool in English language education. Teachers were found to use L1 for various reasons including, but not limited to, explaining vocabulary and grammar, class management, enhancing motivation, and social aspects (Kohi & Suvarna Lakshimi, 2020).
This is not to say that unrestricted use of L1 will inevitably lead to positive results. Advocates of L1 inclusion have long caution against its indiscriminate overuse (Cook, 2001; Swain &Lapkin, 2000). Turnbull (2001) cautions that overreliance on L1 can be disadvantageous as it prohibits students from effectively utilizing the target language. These studies also warn that excessive use of L1 can lead to students becoming dependent on its use, and stagnate in their learning. More recently, Kohi and Suvarna Lakshimi (2020) and Franzese and Cho (2022) emphasize that L1 should be used sparingly and for specific reasons. Therefore, it is generally accepted that the uses of L1 should be undertaken carefully and not be used excessively or indiscriminately.

2.3. Students’ Beliefs about what Language(s) should be used as a Medium of Instruction

A key perspective to understanding if an English-only medium of instruction should be utilized or whether greater L1 inclusion should be accepted is that of the students themselves. Therefore, it’s essential to understand student perceptions and beliefs about what medium of instruction they view as most advantageous to English language acquisition. In several cases, it has been reported that students’ views are in line with the prevailing monolingual approach of utilizing English as the primary medium of instruction. For example, Phuong and Nguyen (2019) found that intermediate-level university students in Vietnam showed favorable views of using an English- only approach because it would provide an environment conducive to improving their language skills which was viewed as necessary for upward mobility in society. In Tsagari and Giannikas’ (2018) research, it was found that advanced-level middle-high school students from the Republic of Cyprus believed they should be exposed to the maximum use of English to further improve their language skills. In general, students appear to show a positive view of using English as a medium of instruction as supported by their beliefs that it can be helpful to improving their English skills.
Although students believed in the advantages of using English as the sole medium of instruction, they also encountered some challenges during its implementation (e.g., Franzese & Cho, 2022; Kim et al., 2014; Kim et al., 2017; Kym & Kym, 2014; Macaro et al., 2018; Phuong & Nguyen, 2019; Tsagari & Giannikas, 2018). In Franzese & Cho’s (2022) study, beginner-level students showed decreased satisfaction with the implementation of an English-only approach despite initially holding positive views of its use. When faced with tasks that required exclusive use of English, student participation dropped due to lacking the English skills necessary to confidently articulate themselves. Ultimately, students agreed that a shared use of their L1, Korean, and English as mediums of instruction would be a positive approach. These students felt L1 should be allowed by both the teacher and students when needed, such as when explaining aspects relating to academic, managerial, or affective purposes. Likewise, the participants in Phuong and Nguyen’s (2019) study faced difficulties with low English competence and insufficient vocabulary. Tsagari and Giannikas (2018) show that even advanced- level students acknowledged and appreciated the use of L1 when needed. The study observed that students felt more comfortable in a linguistic environment where they were allowed to ask and receive answers in their L1 and its usage was valued. Concerns about making mistakes or being able to clarify understanding through the use of a shared L1 helped to alleviate anxiety students may have faced. In each of these cases, students held positive views of using English as a primary medium of instruction, but also faced difficulties and in some cases viewed L1 to provide indispensable benefits.
In many instances, students appear to understand the reasons for implementing an English-only medium of instruction, but they often struggle to follow along and participate effectively in class when only English is used. As a result, students have mixed beliefs about the most conducive medium of instruction for their learning depending on their language proficiency, learning environment, and desired outcome. The main goal of the current study is to investigate the views of Korean university students on effective mediums of instruction in English speaking classes, particularly those that aim to impart presentation-related knowledge and skills. As other researchers (e.g., Moon and Maeng, 2017) have suggested, there is a need for further studies, particularly at the tertiary level, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of effective mediums of instruction. It is hoped that this research will provide a unique perspective on this topic and contribute to a deeper understanding of effective mediums of instruction.

3. Methods

3.1. Research Context

The study was conducted at a four-year university in Korea in the fall semester of 2021. The study participants were recruited from an English speaking course, which is a three-credit mandatory general English course that aims to improve students’ English speaking proficiency through various presentation activities. While one of the objectives of the course was to enhance students’ English speaking skills, the primary goal was to improve their presentation skills by imparting presentation-related knowledge and skills and facilitating numerous opportunities for them to present in English. The course was conducted online twice a week due to the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. How each class was conducted varied among teachers, but in general, students were expected to attend a Zoom or Youtube streaming session and/or watch pre-recorded videos for attendance purposes. Regarding assignments and tests, students were required to give presentations either by submitting video-recorded presentations or presenting live on Zoom. Feedback was also a significant aspect of this course. While the specific method of giving feedback varied from teacher to teacher, it was typically provided in written or spoken form or both.

3.2. Participants

During the semester, the university offered multiple classes with the same course name, and participants were recruited from those classes where teachers implemented English as the primary medium of instruction. Students were invited to complete an online survey on a voluntary basis, and 147 of them chose to participate. Out of the 147 students who responded to the survey, 12 were excluded from the analysis because they either answered only a portion of required questions, reported a first language other than Korean, or selected an advanced level of English proficiency. In total, the responses from 135 students were used for the study. The majority of respondents were in their first year of university (80.7%), while 10.4% were in their second year, 5.2% in their third year, and 3.7% in their fourth year. Of the respondents, 73 (54.1%) were male and 62 (45.9%) were female. The study participants were in diverse fields of study, with Engineering (34.1%) being the most common, followed by Music and Arts (18.5%), Business and Economics (14.8%), Humanities (13.3%), Social Sciences (5.2%), Software Convergence (5.2%), Education (5.2%), and Law (3.7%).
The study included beginner and intermediate students of English, who self-assessed their proficiency level through the survey. They were asked to choose their level of English proficiency from the five options (A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1) provided, along with their definitions that were aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) global scale. For the purposes of this study, participants who chose A1 and A2 were grouped as beginner-level students, and those who selected B1 and B2 were classified as intermediate- level students. Only three students chose C1, which was too small a number to include in the analysis. All in all, a total of 135 student responses were used for data analysis, including 84 from beginner-level students and 51 from intermediate-level students.

3.3. Data Collection

The main data source for the study was a survey questionnaire, which was adapted from the survey used in Franzese and Cho’s (2022) study. Its initial section pertains to the demographic details of the participants (such as gender, school year, English proficiency level, and L1 information), while the latter included 10 main questions, which explored various dimensions of students’ perceptions and beliefs about which language(s) should be used as a medium of instruction in English speaking classes. Specifically, the final question comprises 17 sub- questions that inquire about students’ opinions regarding the utilization of their first language (L1) as a medium of instruction. All questions are structured in three different types: multiple-choice, 5-point Likert scale, and open-ended. As shown in the Appendix, for example, 5-point Likert scale questions and open-ended questions were used to evaluate the students’ overall experiences with the English- only speaking classes. In a bid to examine the students’ opinions about use of English and/or L1 as a medium of instruction, all three types were used. The questionnaire was originally composed and answered in Korean and later translated into English for this article.
Once the survey questions had been completed, a Google Forms survey and a link to it was created. At the end of the semester, the survey link was shared with six teachers, who were asked to invite their students to take part in the survey by posting its link on the university supported LMS. The teachers were all English native speakers from the United States or the United Kingdom, and they reported that they conducted their speaking classes using only English. Students’ participation in the survey was optional and anonymous to ensure the protection of their identities. A total of 135 students responded to the survey.

3.4. Data Analysis

The collected data were analyzed either in a quantitative or qualitative manner based on their type. For the quantitative questions about students’ general evaluation of their learning experiences with English speaking classes taught in English and their beliefs about what language(s) should be included as a medium of instruction, descriptive statistics (e.g., mean scores or percentages) were used. The value for Chronbach’s Alpha for the entire survey was α = .94. In terms of the items about the advantageous aspects of L1 use in English speaking classes, they were found to be reliable to measure the intended constructs: academic advantages (n = 5, α = .88); affective advantages (n = 5, α = .90); managerial advantages (n = 3, α = .83); social advantages (n = 4, α = .91). For the statistical analysis, combined means was used for the four intended variables. Specifically, to answer the third research question on the role of English proficiency in students’ perceptions toward the medium of instruction, a series of independent sample t-tests were run to calculate effect sizes (Cohen’s d). Statistical assumptions were met for the t-tests except two items that showed a violation of the assumption of equal variances. For the two items that are not appropriate for the parametric test, additional reported non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test results with the effect sizes (rank biserial coefficient r) were run.
To investigate students’ reasoning behind their responses to the quantitative questions, students’ responses to the open-ended questions were analyzed using the content analysis method. The students’ written responses were coded into content categories, and each content category was quantified through frequency counting. Then, the content categories were ranked in order of importance and used to complement and validate the findings from the quantitative analysis and to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the students’ perceptions and beliefs.

4. Results

4.1. Students’ Overall Evaluation of Speaking Classes Taught in English

In an attempt to examine students’ overall experience of taking an English speaking class taught using an English-only medium of instruction, three Likert-scale questions first were asked and the students’ responses were summarized in Table 1. In general, the students showed high satisfaction with their English speaking classes taught in English (M = 4.67, SD = 0.66) and viewed the use of only English as a medium of instruction as having a positive impact on their learning (M = 4.61, SD = 0.67). In response to the question of whether the students would take an English-only speaking class in the future, many students responded that they would (M = 4.30, SD = 0.86).
<Table 1>
Students’ overall evaluation on their experience with English speaking classes taught in English
Questions M SD
1. I am satisfied with taking the current class where English is being used as a primary medium of instruction. 4.67 0.66
2. The English speaking class taught in English had a positive influence on my English learning. 4.61 0.67
3. I would take an English speaking class taught in English again if I were to take another. 4.30 0.86
In general, the students had a positive experience in English speaking classes that were conducted solely in English, but some differences were found based on their English proficiency. As reported in Table 2, intermediate level students showed significantly higher ratings for all items (Satisfaction with the class in general, t = 2.37, p = .02, d = 0.42; Positive influence on learning, t = 2.15, p = .03, d = 0.38; Plan to take an English-only speaking class again, t = 2.74, p = .01, d = 0.49) than beginner-level students.
<Table 2>
Differences in students’ experience with English-only speaking classes based on English proficiency
Questions Beginner (n = 84) Intermediate (n = 51) Mean Difference t p d
1. Satisfaction with the class in general 4.57 0.73 4.84 0.46 0.27 2.37* .02 .0.42
2. Positive influence on learning 4.51 0.74 4.76 0.51 0.25 2.15* .03 0.38
3. Plan to take EO EMI class again 4.14 0.91 4.55 0.70 0.41 2.74** .01 0.49

** p < .01

* p < .05

Survey Questions 4 and 5 sought to explore the advantages and disadvantages students faced in their English-only speaking classes by employing open-ended questions to elicit more detailed answers. Table 3 summarizes themes about their positive experiences that emerged from student responses, coded frequency of the themes, and some examples. Overall, students perceived that their English proficiency had improved as a result of engaging in an English-only speaking class, particularly in the areas of listening, speaking, and conversational skills. The students also valued the opportunity to experience a unique English learning environment where they were encouraged to use English consistently, to become more conscious of English pronunciation, and to communicate with their teachers in English. As students gained greater exposure to English, some students realized that they became ”closer” and more ”familiar” with English and experienced changes in their emotional status from negative to positive such as feeling less burdened, less fearful, and less resistant to learning and using English. Lastly, some students found using English as a medium of instruction advantageous in that it promoted the need to maintain greater attentiveness during the class since they had to understand the teacher’s use of English clearly. No noticeable differences were found between beginner- level and intermediate-level students in their perceived advantages of the English speaking classes taught in English.
<Table 3> Advantages students experienced in English-only speaking classes
Perceived Advantages (82) B (53) I (29) Student’s Comments
Improved English Proficiency (40) 27 13 - I tried to use English consciously, and it helped me improve my English.
- Because I had to communicate with the professor in English, I was able to improve my conversational skills.
- The class was conducted in English, so I think I was able to develop a good ear for English.
- My listening skills have improved.
Unique Learning Experience (16) 12 4 - I liked consistently using English during the class time.
- I was more aware of English pronunciation while listening to the native speaker’s pronunciation.
- It was a new experience for me to communicate with the professor in English.
Increased Familiarity with English (10) 6 4 - I think I was able to get a little closer to English.
- I think I became very familiar with English.
- I became more accustomed to using English.
Positive Emotional Response (10) 6 4 - I felt a little less burdened about communicating in English.
- I started to like myself for having tried hard to listen to and understand English.
- As time went on, I got used to listening to the professor’s explanation in English, so my fear of English has decreased a lot.
- As I continued to take a class in English, my resistance to English decreased.
More Attentive to English (8) 4 4 - Korean was not used at all, so I think I tried even harder to understand English.
- I listened to English more attentively.
- It was nice to be able to concentrate on listening to English.

Note: The numbers in parentheses indicate the count of students who provided comments pertaining to the survey question. As minor themes have not been included in the table and a single student may have submitted multiple comments, the total count may not align with the sum of individual numbers in parentheses.

Regarding the negative experiences that students had with English speaking classes taught in English, both beginner-level and intermediate-level students reported two similar fundamental issues (Table 4). The dominant disadvantage students experienced was difficulty in understanding essential course content, instructions, and what was expected of them. Because all lesson content, including homework assignments and announcements, were conveyed using only English, the students faced greater difficulty in being able to fully understand them, took longer time to comprehend, and/or were left with more uncertainty about what they were supposed to do. As a result, it was necessary for some students to seek clarification, yet those who lacked sufficient English skills had difficulty freely communicating with their teachers. These students felt they did not speak or write English well enough to accurately convey their thoughts and opinions without causing any misunderstanding, so they became more reluctant to directly communicate with their teachers.
<Table 4>
Disadvantages students experienced in English-only speaking classes
Perceived Disadvantages (47) B (36) I (11) Student’s Comments
Comprehension Difficulties (37) 28 9 - It took me longer to understand the content when it was taught in English than if it had been taught in Korean.
- When the professor used difficult words or sentences, I sometimes had a hard time understanding the details of the assignments.
- When there was an important notice/announcement that I couldn’t understand, I wished it had been announced in Korean.
- When the professor spoke too fast, I sometimes couldn’t understand him.
- I was often uncertain whether I understood what the professor said.
Communication Barriers (10) 8 2 - It was hard to directly ask the professor when I had a question because I had to use English.
- Because of my poor English skills, it was difficult to accurately convey my opinion as it is.
- It was difficult to write what I wanted to say in a good, clear way.
Question 6 focused on understanding what strategies students employed when difficulties were encountered while participating in an English-only speaking class. Students reported various methods to help them cope with the issues they faced. When they were challenged to understand the teachers’ lectures and instructions and/or directly communicate with them, the students in general reported they used two dominant methods: using machine translators (e.g., Papago and Google Translate) and inquiring of the teacher via KakaoTalk (instant messaging application), email, or the university supported LMS messaging system. In addition, some students commented that they contacted their classmates, used an online dictionary for difficult words and expressions, or replayed lecture videos (Table 5). Overall, the students had a greater tendency to solve their problems on their own by using technology-based strategies (i.e., machine translators, online dictionaries, and video replay) rather than relying on human resources (i.e., professors and classmates).
<Table 5>
Student strategies to cope with difficulties faced in English-only speaking classes
Strategies to Overcome Difficulties (87) B (58) I (29) Student’s Comments
Machine Translator (42) 31 11 - I used a translator for sentences I didn’t understand.
- I asked the professor by using a translator in difficult situations.
Contacting Teacher (34) 19 15 - I directly contacted the professor by email and asked for confirmation.
- I communicated with the professor via KakaoTalk.
- I sent an E-learning message (LMS message).
Contacting Classmates (8) 7 1 - I sought help from my friend with excellent English skills.
- I called my classmates for confirmation.
- I sent a KakaoTalk message for help.
Referring to Online Dictionary (8) 5 3 - I looked up difficult words in the dictionary.
Replaying Lecture Videos (7) 5 2 - I replayed the video several times until I understood.
The types of strategies that students utilized to overcome their difficulties in English-only speaking class were similar regardless of the proficiency level, yet the frequency of their use was noticeably different. Beginner- level students reported using machine translators most frequently, but the intermediate-level students, directly contacting their teachers the most. In addition, the beginner- level group showed a greater tendency to handle challenges independently, whereas the intermediate-level group approached their issues either through self-sufficiency or by seeking assistance from human resources in a balanced manner.

4.2. Students’ Beliefs on What Language(s) Should Be Used as a Medium of Instruction

The second research question focused on students’ beliefs about what language(s) should be used in English speaking classes. Survey Question 7 asked what language a teacher should use when teaching, and the students’ responses are displayed in Table 6. There was a relatively limited number of students who suggested using solely English or solely Korean as the medium of instruction for English speaking classes, with a significant portion of this sample choosing only English. About one fifth of the students (20.7%) chose ”only English,” and 0.7% chose ”only Korean.” On the other hand, the vast majority of students suggested that teachers use English as the primary medium of instruction but also use the learners’ L1 to some extent at the same time; about three fifths of the students (65.2%) chose ”Mostly English, but Korean when needed,” and 13.3% ”English and Korean, half and half.”
<Table 6>
Students’ beliefs about which language(s) should be used as a medium of instruction
Questions Only Korean Mostly Korean Half & Half Mostly English Only English
7. What language(s) do you believe the instructor should use in English speaking classes? B&I 1 (0.7%) 0 (0%) 18 (13.3%) 88 (65.2%) 28 (20.7%)
B 1 (1.2%) 0 (0%) 16 (19.1%) 49 (58.3%) 18 (21.4%)
I 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 2 (3.9%) 39 (76.5%) 10 (19.6%)
8. What language(s) do you believe learners should use in English speaking classes? B&I 0 (0%) 1 (0.7%) 16 (11.9%) 75 (55.6%) 43 (31.9%)
B 0 (0%) 1 (1.2%) 10 (11.9%) 48 (57.1%) 25 (29.8%)
I 0 (0%) 0 (0%) 6 (11.8%) 27 (52.9%) 18 (35.3%)
In regard to which language learners should use in English speaking classes (Survey Question 8), the students’ responses did not differ much from their belief about which language the teachers should use. Nearly one third of the students (31.9%) believed that the learners should use ”only English.” In contrast, two thirds expected Korean to be allowed to some degree; 55.6% responded ”Mostly English, but Korean when needed” and 11.9% ”English and Korean, half and half.”
All in all, virtually all of the students agreed that English should be used as the primary medium of instruction in English speaking classes, but many students still expected their L1, Korean, to be used to some extent. This was consistent regardless of the students’ level of English proficiency. Both beginner and intermediate-level students believed English should be the primary language of instruction, as a larger number of students chose ”only English” or ”mostly English,” compared to those who chose ”half & half,” “mostly Korean,” or ”only Korean.” However, a greater number of students still believed that their native language should have a place in English speaking classes, as more chose ”mostly English” or ”half & half” over ”only English” in both groups.
Students were asked to elaborate further by providing reasons for their choice of which language they believed best served as a medium of instruction in English speaking classes (Survey Question 9). Table 7 shows the three main reasons stated by those who were in favor of using ”English only” or ”mostly English” as a primary medium of instruction, and both levels of students showed similarity in their opinions. Many of the students cited improvement in English language proficiency as one of the central reasons why English speaking classes should be conducted in English. Students who held a favorable view of using English appeared to also hold a firm belief that using only or mostly English was essential to creating an English-rich environment which is fundamental to facilitating improvement in English proficiency. In an English-rich environment learners receive abundant input by being consistently exposed to the language where it is used naturally for practical purposes thus giving students greater opportunities to practice the language. It is through this environment that these students believe they have the opportunity to increase the possibility of improving their English skills. Lastly, some students reasoned that using English as the primary medium of instruction is necessary to fulfilling the purpose of an English speaking class. The English speaking class is designed to develop and improve students’ English speaking skills, and conducting the class in English ensures that it maintains that characteristic.
<Table 7>
Students’ reasons for choosing English as a medium of instruction
Reasons for Only” or Mostly English (55) B (24) I (31) Student’s Comments
English Improvement (31) 18 13 - I think that I can improve English speaking when the class is conducted in English.
- I think I should mainly use English in order to improve my English skills.
Advantageous English Learning Environment (19) 11 8 - If I only use English, I will keep thinking about how to speak in English, and I can grow because of that.
- I believe language skills improve while listening and speaking in that language, so exposure to English should be increased through English-only classes.
- If everything is conducted in English, you will inevitably use it, so you can improve your English skills.
- I prefer English to be mainly used because it creates an atmosphere to use English naturally.
- You can learn real English and do practical exercises by directly speaking in English.
Fulfilling the Nature of a Speaking Class (13) 9 4 - This is because it is a speaking class.
- As it is a speaking class, I think it is better to conduct it in English.
- It is an English speaking class, so I wonder if there is any meaning to using Korean.
The majority of students from both beginner and intermediate groups surveyed in this study recognized that some inclusion of their L1 was necessary in English speaking classes and their reasons are described in Table 8. The most frequently mentioned reasons for L1 inclusion were to clarify understanding and to improve communication. Many of the difficulties students reported included not being able to clearly understand the content of the lesson or instructions for a given task or communication with the teacher. These students believed that it would be possible to have ”faster,” “more accurate,” and ”clearer” understanding of what was being conveyed and articulate what they want to say more ”perfectly” to their teachers with the aid of L1. Being able to take the class ”smoothly” by correctly understanding not only class content but also announcements and instructions about homework was also viewed as crucial to some students and helpful if clarified or confirmed through L1. While many students agreed that English should maintain its position as the primary medium of instruction, an important fact appeared to remain, which is that receiving satisfying grades is an essential aspect of higher education. For some of the students surveyed, grades were seen to be as important as improving their English speaking skills, and this could not be achieved if they faced difficulties in following along. Therefore, these students viewed L1 as being conducive to the overall success of their ability to follow along, participate appropriately, and the class as a whole. Lastly, there were some students who viewed the need for L1 to help put their minds at ease. In this sense, L1 serves an effective role in helping to reduce anxiety. This sentiment was found to exist particularly among students who have a low English proficiency or who do not have much experience in taking English-only classes. These students believed that they could take class in a ”less pressured,” “less uncomfortable,” and ”less nervous” state if their L1 would be included.
<Table 8>
Students’ reasons for including Korean as a medium of instruction
Reasons for Including Korean (61) B (39) I (22) Student’s Comments
Improvement in Comprehension (34) 26 8 - [If I can use some Korean,] I can clarify things that are unclear, and move on to the next task comfortably.
- In terms of understanding, Korean is better. I can understand faster and more accurately.
- I think English should be used for English classes, but Korean can also be used appropriately to eliminate cases where we do not understand the essential content or homework assignments.
- Because there are some English words we don’t know, I think it’s okay to use Korean when needed.
- Sometimes I wonder whether I accurately understand or not, so I think it is necessary [to use Korean].
Improvement in Communication (34) 27 7 - I asked a question because I couldn’t understand English, but the answer came in English, so I didn’t know what to do.
- I think it would be nice to create an environment where I can ask a professor or classmates in Korean when I suddenly have trouble thinking of an English word or have trouble speaking.
- I am not good at English, so it’s difficult to convey what I want to say perfectly in English. I want to express my thoughts, but I can’t.
Conducive to Overall Success of Class (10) 5 5 - It is because the class may be slow if everything proceeds in English.
- If a little Korean is allowed, I can take the class with less difficulty.
- We need to speak Korean at the same time so that the class can proceed smoothly.
- The use of English is important to improve English, but I also need to successfully complete the class for grades [with the help of Korean].
- The Korean language helps us cope with unexpected situations.
Reduction of Anxiety (7) 4 3 - If the class is conducted only in English, it may be burdensome. Students may feel the pressure.
- I think I would be very nervous if I were compelled to use only English.
- I think learners who do not have many opportunities to communicate in English on a regular basis would feel uncomfortable if they had to use only English.
- Unless it is a special case, it is burdensome to use only English.
In a bid to understand students’ thoughts about using Korean in greater depth, a Likert-scale question (Survey Question 10) asked to what degree the students would agree with the advantages of L1 in four primary domains, academic, affective, managerial, and social, and the result is summarized in Table 9. In general, the students moderately agreed that there are some academic, affective, and managerial advantages of using Korean in English speaking classes, but social aspects are not viewed to be greatly affected by L1 inclusion. The notable advantages are clearer understanding (M = 3.70, SD = 0.94) and quicker understanding of the content of lectures (M = 3.67, SD = 0.96) in the academic area, decreased hesitancy about asking the instructor questions (M = 3.67, SD = 0.98) in the affective area, and easier following of the teacher’s instructions for homework assignments (M = 3.75, SD = 1.06) in the managerial area.
<Table 9>
Students’ thoughts on the advantages of using Korean in English speaking classes
Advantages of L1 use Items M SD
Academic Advantages 1) Comprehend the content of lectures more clearly 3.70 0.94
2) Understand the content of lectures more quickly 3.67 0.96
4) Understand English words/ expressions/ grammar more clearly 3.44 1.02
6) Understand the feedback on my performance (e.g. presentations and assignments) more clearly 3.21 1.16
13) Learn English in a more effective manner 2.96 1.15
Affective Advantages 5) Reduce my anxiety about taking the class 3.36 1.14
7) Be less hesitant to ask the instructor questions 3.67 0.98
9) Take the class with a more friendly/positive attitude 3.24 1.18
11) Take the class with a reduced level of stress 3.39 1.11
12) Take the class in a more relaxed state 3.39 1.10
Managerial Advantages 3) Follow assignment instructions with a clearer understanding 3.75 1.06
10) Better stay on track with the class 3.30 1.15
14) Complete the class more successfully 3.17 1.16
Social Advantages (Participation) 15) Participate in the class more actively 3.04 1.23
17) Engage in group activities more smoothly 3.21 1.19
8) Develop a better relationship with the instructor 3.14 1.29
16) Develop a better relationship with classmates 3.04 1.23
Given that the items for the four categories of potential advantages of using L1 were found to be consistently responded by students (Cronbach’s α for academic advantages = .88; α for affective advantages = .90; α for managerial advantages= .83; α for social advantages = .91), combined mean scores were used to examine if these perceived advantages differ across proficiency levels. As shown in Table 10, beginner-level students showed more positive attitudes than the intermediate-level students in all aspects (Academic advantages, t = -2.08, p = .04, d = -0.37; Affective advantages, t = -2.31, p = .02, d = -0.41; Managerial advantages, t = -2.34, p = .02, d = -0.42; Social advantages, t = -1.80, p = .07, d = -0.32).
<Table 10>
Results of independent samples t-test for responses to Question 10 by proficiency level
Advantages of L1 Use Beginner (n = 84) Intermediate (n = 51) Mean Difference t p d
Academic Advantages 3.51 0.87 3.20 0.83 -0.31 -2.08* .04 -0.37
Affective Advantages 3.55 0.99 3.18 0.78 -0.37 -2.31* .02 -0.41
Managerial Advantages 3.56 0.95 3.16 0.98 -0.40 -2.34* .02 -0.42
Social Advantages 3.26 1.10 2.93 0.98 -0.34 -1.80 .07 -0.32

* p < .05

5. Conclusion and Implications

The study’s first research question centered on students’ evaluations of their experiences with English speaking classes, in which English was used as the primary medium of instruction. The students expressed their favorable views on their experiences with English speaking classes taught in English by demonstrating their high satisfaction with the classes, addressing their positive impacts they had on their English learning, and revealing their eagerness to enroll in more English classes taught in English in the future. Both beginner-level and intermediate-level students reported positive experiences with the English- only English speaking classes they had, but the latter reported significantly higher ratings than the former.
In terms of the advantageous aspects of the English-only speaking classes, the students mentioned the English-rich environment which allowed them to learn English consistently and naturally, the opportunity to become more familiar with English, positive attitudes towards using and learning English, and increased attentiveness to English. The students’ positive views about maintaining an English-rich environment were in line with previous research (Franzese & Cho, 2022; Phuong & Nguyen, 2019; Tsagari & Giannikas, 2018), and further confirms that EFL students of various backgrounds view this type of learning environment to be highly desirable. Most importantly, students considered the improvement of their English proficiency to be the most significant outcome.
The students also reported the disadvantages of the English-only speaking classes by expressing the difficulties they faced in understanding the content of the lectures or class instructions, as well as in communicating accurately and clearly with their teachers. These findings echo Kym and Kym’s (2014) research highlighting the necessity that students attain a sufficient level of language proficiency if they are to successfully participate in an English-only class. However, even when students lack sufficient language skills or are faced with difficulties, they will make efforts to overcome these issues. To cope with these difficulties, both beginner-level and intermediate level students used similar strategies such as using machine translators, inquiring teachers, contacting classmates, referring to an online dictionary, and replaying lecture videos. However, beginner- level students tended to handle their challenges more independently and relied less on human resources for assistance, while intermediate-level students had a more balanced approach.
When asked about what language(s) should be used in English speaking classes, most of the students in both beginner-level and intermediate-level groups suggested that the majority of the language used in classes be English. Aligned with the reasons for their positive experiences in English-only speaking classes, students believed that the use of English is crucial to create an advantageous English learning environment, which ultimately leads to an enhancement of their English proficiency. Furthermore, students maintained that English speaking classes should preserve English as the principal medium of instruction, since the dominant usage of English is a defining characteristic of such classes.
Most of the students in both beginner-level and intermediate-level groups suggested the majority of the language used in classes to be English and even demonstrated their reluctance to endorse the use of their L1 as the predominant instructional medium, but they also suggested that their L1 be used to some extent. If L1 were allowed to a moderate extent, students appeared to see that it would be conducive primarily to academic, affective, and managerial domains in general. The students’ beliefs that L1 should be used sparingly are in line with previous research (Franzese & Cho, 2022; Kohi & Suvarna Lakshimi, 2020), and is likely a result of the prevailing view that English should remain the dominant medium of instruction. However, in their responses, beginner-level students exhibited a higher level of statistical significance in acknowledging the advantages of L1 use as compared to intermediate students. Regarding the rationales for their moderate acceptance of L1 use, students deemed it advantageous for improving their comprehension level, facilitating communication with their teachers, enhancing their overall success in classroom participation, and mitigating their anxiety.
Some implications can be drawn for teachers who teach English speaking classes, as well as for researchers with an interest in the field of medium of instruction. Based on the findings of this research that using English as the primary medium of instruction was well received by students of varying levels, even teachers of beginner-level students could consider conducting English speaking classes entirely in English. However, it is suggested to be done with caution. Although the students in this study acknowledged the importance of using English, they also faced difficulties in understanding the class content and communicating with their teachers in English. Thus, it may be advisable for teachers to consider implementing strategies such as using level-appropriate vocabulary, speaking more slowly, repeating information to ensure that students are able to follow along successfully, and utilizing various channels of communication. Teachers should ensure that the English-only environment be supportive and encourage student advancement, rather than increase anxiety which may have adverse effects on students’ motivation and development. Additionally, the beginner-level students in this study self-reported a level of A1 and A2 on the CEFR scale, indicating they possess a basic working knowledge of the language, can ask and answer simple questions, and understand content presented in clear and simple terms. Therefore, using English as a sole medium of instruction may not be as well received by beginner-level students who possess lower proficiency levels than A1 or A2 on the CEFR scale. Further research on students’ evaluations and preferences for a medium of instruction could seek to reveal a deeper look at beginner level students with a clearer separation between their abilities.
As students will inevitably encounter difficulties when learning through English, teachers may need to tailor their methods of assisting students based on their level of English proficiency. As in the case of this study, when faced with difficulties relating to comprehension and communication, students in both beginner and intermediate groups employed various strategies to overcome them, such as using machine translation or online dictionaries, corresponding with the teacher, relying on fellow classmates, and reviewing video lectures. However, beginner-level students tended to be more self-sufficient, while intermediate- level students made a balanced use of human resources and self-reliance. Although this research did not focus on exploring why beginner-level students were reluctant to seek assistance from their teachers and instead attempted to solve problems by themselves, it can be reasonably assumed that their reluctance was not due to confidence in using translators but rather due to language barriers they faced when using English. Therefore, teachers may need to make a greater effort to encourage beginner-level students to seek assistance from human resources than they do for intermediate-level students.
The next educational implication would be the judicious use of L1 in English speaking classes. Based on the findings of this study, both beginner and intermediate groups believe that there is some need for L1 and it should be permissible to a moderate degree under certain circumstances, although beginner-level students perceive more benefits of using L1 than intermediate students. Students had a tendency to find L1 most beneficial for following along in class and reducing their emotional stress. Therefore, teachers can actively consider the use of L1 in their teaching. Teachers may consider using L1 to address academic, affective, and managerial aspects of the class to help students better follow along with the class. These aspects may provide more advantages for beginner-level students than intermediate-students, suggesting that L1 assistance can be used more effectively with beginner-level students and gradually phased out as students improve their English proficiency (Lo, 2015). Strategies such as posting instructions in both English and the students’ L1 on a school-supported LMS may allow students to clarify how to complete assignments without taking up additional class time. In addition, beginner-level students who are hesitant to contact their teacher due to the pressure of having to communicate in English might be allowed to use L1 when corresponding to help ease anxiety and create a more welcoming line of communication. Despite citing various key reasons for L1 inclusion, it is interesting to note that the students did not believe that the use of L1 would help them learn English more effectively, and they opposed the predominant use of L1 in English speaking classes. This suggests that unchecked use of L1 can lead to strong resistance, even among beginner-level students. Therefore, it is essential that careful consideration be given to how much and for what purposes L1 is used.
While this study has attempted to develop a greater understanding of students’ experiences and views about which medium of instruction they believe to be most appropriate and beneficial in English speaking classes, these results only account for a limited group of students in a unique context. A significant aspect of the context under which this study took place is that these classes were conducted online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A similar class conducted in-person may reveal differing results, particularly regarding the potential for developing an improved social environment where students might have the opportunity to forge stronger bonds with fellow classmates and teachers to ask and answer questions with greater ease and comfort. Further research may seek to continue building a larger view of students’ experiences and beliefs in slightly different contexts.


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1. I am satisfied with taking the current class where English is being used as a primary medium of instruction. 1 = Very dissatisfied, 5 = Very satisfied
1 2 3 4 5
2. The English speaking class taught in English had a positive influence on my English learning. 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5
3. I would take an English speaking class taught in English again if I were to take another. 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5
4. What were the benefits of taking English speaking classes taught in English?
5. What were the downsides of taking English speaking classes taught in English?
6. When you faced difficulties while taking English speaking classes taught in English, how did you tackle the problems or what help did you get?
7. What language(s) do you believe the instructor should use in English speaking classes? Only Korean Mostly Korean Korean and English, half and half Mostly English Only English
8. What language(s) do you believe learners should use in English speaking classes? Only Korean Mostly Korean Korean and English, half and half Mostly English Only English
9. Could you elaborate further on the reasons for selecting a particular language as the primary medium of instruction for instructors and students?
10. How much do you agree with the following statement: The use of Korean will help me to…
 1) Comprehend the content of lectures more clearly.
 2) Understand the content of lectures more quickly.
 3) Follow assignment instructions with a clearer understanding.
 4) Understand English words/ expressions/ grammar more clearly.
 5) Reduce my anxiety about taking the class.
 6) Understand the feedback on my performance (e.g. presentations and assignments) more clearly.
 7) Be less hesitant to ask the instructor questions.
 8) Develop a better relationship with the instructor.
 9) Take the class with a more friendly/positive attitude.
 10) Better stay on track with the class.
 11) Take the class with a reduced level of stress.
 12) Take the class in a more relaxed state.
 13) Learn English in a more effective manner.
 14) Complete the class more successfully.
 15) Participate in the class more actively.
 16) Develop a better relationship with classmates.
 17) Engage in group activities more smoothly.
1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5


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