English Instructors’ Experiences of Emergency Remote Teaching in Medical Universities during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of English Language Teaching, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran


Background: English instructors have faced numerous challenges following the COVID-19 outbreak and the sudden shift from inperson to online instruction. This vogue of alternative teaching practices is presently open to rigorous scrutiny. The current study attempted to shed light on the challenges facing the instructors of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at medical universities, and their strategies in handling emergency remote teaching during the pandemic.  Methods: A qualitative content analysis was conducted to gather data from self-reflections and semi-structured interviews with 52 EAP instructors working at different Iranian medical universities in the spring and summer of 2020. The contents of the reflections and interviews were coded by the researchers based on the procedures of sequential explanatory strategy, and the major themes were extracted and categorized. Results: The findings point to the lack of required facilities and infrastructure, inadequate technological literacy, and poor internet quality as the major challenges facing the instructors. It was also revealed that the teachers viewed the enhancement of technological literacy and provision of required facilities as the main priorities in addressing the challenges. Conclusion: It was found that the EAP instructors had different perceptions of emergency remote teaching and potential solutions to the associated challenges. The findings offer practical recommendations for enhancing English proficiency among medical students. The results also highlight the necessity of offering EAP teacher training courses focused on developing the technological literacy of the instructors. To continue this line of research, a more in-depth study of students’ perceptions and experiences of online EAP classes is recommended. 


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