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What is this thing called academic English language proficiency?

Larissa Goulart da Silva's picture

Pamela Humphreys By 2012, 4.5 million students were studying abroad in English medium universities that's why we should be interested in EAP proficiency. English is a critical factor for these students inserted in EMI contexts. In the 80s communicative competence became famous with ideas on grammatical knowledge, discourse, sociolinguistic and strategic skills. In the 90s Bachman proposed the communicative language ability framework and since then many other researchers have addressed the Communicative teaching framework. But what about a framework for EAP? Cummins compared basic interpersonal communication skills and cognitive academic language proficiency acquisition in children. What conceptual or theoretical models exist for EAP proficiency in universities? We know a lot about academic discourse, genre and discourse at university level, but there isn't one model that put all these into one framework. Murray (2010) describes English language proficiency as professional literacies and academic literacies. Harper, Prentice and Wilson (2011) presented the model of tertiary literacies. O'Loughlin and arkoudies (2012) focused on the psychological aspect of the student pathway. Mahboob (2014) presented the language variation model in his model he discussed how language varies in different contexts with different users, this model is not focused on EAP but could be applied to the context of EMI universities. A summary of ELP in higher education - multiple competences - varying contexts of use -proficiency level Humphrey proposes an heurestic model of ALEP (picture) with three dimensions context of use, proficiency and competences. She says that this framework can be used with stakeholders at university to explain the process of implementing pre-sessional courses or EMI courses, with teachers and students.