What's different about EAP?

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As someone who has never taught EAP before, it would be interesting to have some ideas for how I should adjust my teaching to work in this area. What do i need to focus on?

Any tips appreciated.

Best

Nik Peachey

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Hi Nik

It's good to see you here. Unfortunately I have not taught EAP courses either so I cant reply to your questions. However, I am looking forward to the posts by others.

Cheers

Bushra Ahmed Khurram
Pakistan

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Hi Bushra and Nik,
I normally encourage people to think 'global' and to extend their 'Academic' and 'Specific' to global purposes of human development seeing 'glocal' relationships between individual, local, national, regional and global interests. This last word is particularly 'interesting', 'cos it raises questions of financial interest, investment, instalments, etc and the need to get our students to see human life holistically, beyond the economic rationality which threatens to dominate our choices.

However, I can see tremendous relevance currently in EAP and ESP, as public interest increases in questions around what is called our knowledge economy. For instance, how teachers deal with referencing, what is considered acceptable acknowledgement of sources, what is counted as plagiarism, where ideas begin, who owns knowledge, who has a right to produce and disseminate what they consider as 'valued knowledge', and to give out certificates and qualifications, and future jobs and success on the basis of these criteria. Taking a wider perspective, it means joining the debate on privacy, wikipedia, recent development eg Google's merging of personal data, and the current academic boycott of Elsevier publishers' journals!!

Bakhtin's understanding of the stream of consciousness, indicates these are not simple notions, and they have consequences for society, culture, life.

More specifically of course, EAP can deal with reading and listening skills, note-taking, presentations, working with numeracy and statistics (eg how these are communicated orally), essay structure, genre analysis (for instance, offering students a few journal articles in their discipline, and getting them to see the patterns that emerge, then to decide whether they want to follow them or adjust for their own purposes).

Taught well EAP and ESP can raise significant global issues and contribute to social justice, human rights, environmental sustainability ...

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Hi Nik
Welcome to the world of EAP (if you're thinking of joining...)! We're all English language teachers, so hang on to the best of what you've got - in particular your own brand of communicative language teaching. EAP is actually highly communicative, though through writing even more than other skills. I'd be very happy to talk to you more at IATEFL next week, and if you want a great insight into EAP, come along to my talk (Wednesday 11.30) where I'll be looking at integrating skills, language and critical thinking in the EAP classroom.
EAP is a fantastic field to be in right now, and (along with young learners), is the fastest-growing ELT sector.
I'll look out for you - best wishes, Edward

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Hi all,

I have been teaching EAP for so long now that it would be hard for me to make the transition to non-EAP!

I think essentially the skills are the same; what is different is how you teach those skills (e.g. what materials you use), and what you expect your students to do with the skills you teach them - for example, speaking = participate in a seminar rather than engage in general conversation; writing = write a critical analysis rather than a business letter; reading = read academic texts rather than newspapers; etc.

Here's an example from today. Earlier today I was conducting a class evaluation of an EAP grammar teacher. She was teaching gerunds vs. infinitives. Instead of chatting about such things as 'I like fishing' or 'I want to buy a car', she had a list of quotations from C17 philosopher Comenius on the value of education. Students had to read these, identify the gerunds and infinitives in the quotations, and respond to the sentiments being expressed. It was a nice combination of grammar skills and critical analysis... and the critical element is, for me, one of the main things I emphasize in EAP.

The other huge part of it is leading students towards an understanding of a specific academic culture. I am very influenced by the work of Adrian Holliday here; yes, we need to respect cultural differences, but we also have a responsibility to teach our students the conventions of the host academic culture they will be working in. I could go on for hours about this, but that's a conversation to have in person!

Edward, Nik, if you're planning to get together in Glasgow, I would love to be part of that conversation :-)

Talk soon,
Tania

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Hi all,

I have been teaching EAP for so long now that it would be hard for me to make the transition to non-EAP!

I think essentially the skills are the same; what is different is how you teach those skills (e.g. what materials you use), and what you expect your students to do with the skills you teach them - for example, speaking = participate in a seminar rather than engage in general conversation; writing = write a critical analysis rather than a business letter; reading = read academic texts rather than newspapers; etc.

Here's an example from today. Earlier today I was conducting a class evaluation of an EAP grammar teacher. She was teaching gerunds vs. infinitives. Instead of chatting about such things as 'I like fishing' or 'I want to buy a car', she had a list of quotations from C17 philosopher Comenius on the value of education. Students had to read these, identify the gerunds and infinitives in the quotations, and respond to the sentiments being expressed. It was a nice combination of grammar skills and critical analysis... and the critical element is, for me, one of the main things I emphasize in EAP.

The other huge part of it is leading students towards an understanding of a specific academic culture. I am very influenced by the work of Adrian Holliday here; yes, we need to respect cultural differences, but we also have a responsibility to teach our students the conventions of the host academic culture they will be working in. I could go on for hours about this, but that's a conversation to have in person!

Edward, Nik, if you're planning to get together in Glasgow, I would love to be part of that conversation :-)

Talk soon,
Tania

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Not sure why that posted twice - still getting used to this. Sorry!

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Thanks Tania - like you I could go on and on... Respecting the cultures of our students, and building on these, rather than demoting them and imposing our own is a key message for me, as I'm sure Adrian Holliday would agree.
Edward

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Maureeen mentioned topics such as "how teachers deal with referencing, what is considered acceptable acknowledgement of sources, what is counted as plagiarism, where ideas begin, who owns knowledge...".

I look forward to hearing further about different strategies for teaching about this as it is a source of confusion, concern and potential embarrassment for our students. Looking forward to this online conference experience, as well!

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Hi All,

It's encouraging to read all of your comments, and I must say that each comment that I've read requires a lot of attention. I hope that the discussion will go deeper into these issuses so that we can all find solutions.

My biggest problem in EAP, which I've been doing for the past 17 years, is that far too much of the content of the EAP curricula and individual course work (reading, writing, speaking, listening) focuses on the discipline of English literature. I have always been a radical one who defies the syllabus and includes using English in all of the major disciplines to include the biological and physical sciences, social science, mathematics, etc. I can't help but wonder if any of you have a similar problem and how you are able to work around it.

I look forward to reading your further comments on all of the topics that come up!
Dean

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Hi Dean - I'm surprised that you find that too much EAP content focuses on English litearture: what context is this, and what materials have you been using? The EAP contexts I've worked in rarely use English literature resources, as these are not very relevant to most students. I'm glad you 'defy the syllabus' and use more scientific content!
Edward

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We are running a session on Friday (11.40, Jura) on distinguishng TEFL and TEAP. It's a workshop and will be task/materials based. We will be looking, in particular, at the importance of context and content. This incorporates some of the very interesting questions and comments above.

http://iatefl.britishcouncil.org/2012/sessions/2012-03-23/tefl-teap-star...

Please come along :-)

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I do believe that "formality" is a crucial aspect in teaching EAP because I have noticed that many students use informal words and expressions in their writing, for instance!

Cheers

Djalal

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Hi all,
Ive just joined because of my interest in teaching EAP. Armed with my CELTA and no real experience of teaching, is this too ambitous a step for me to take, or could i perhaps use my "inexperience" to my advantage and jump in at the deep end?
comments welcome :s

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