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Catering for the Demands of a Brave New World Douglas Bell Associate Professor Head of Centre for English Language Education (CELE) Director of Preliminary.

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Presentation on theme: "Catering for the Demands of a Brave New World Douglas Bell Associate Professor Head of Centre for English Language Education (CELE) Director of Preliminary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Catering for the Demands of a Brave New World Douglas Bell Associate Professor Head of Centre for English Language Education (CELE) Director of Preliminary Year Programmes Managing the Transition of Teachers between General English Language Teaching and the Teaching of English for Academic Purposes University of Nottingham Ningbo China

2 5 main aims:  To highlight some of the ways in which EAP may be thought of as being distinct from General English (EFL).  To consider some of the challenges that teachers new to the EAP environment typically face, and how their approaches to teaching may therefore need to be adapted.  To outline key competencies of effective EAP teachers.  To put forward some proposals for how the transitional difficulties between teaching EFL and teaching EAP might most effectively be managed (with specific reference to the University of Nottingham Ningbo China).  To define what EAP is and its position in the wider ELT hierarchy.

3 What is EAP? ‘… the teaching of English with the specific aim of helping learners to study, conduct research or teach in that language…’ (Flowerdew & Peacock, 2001) ‘EAP is concerned with those communication skills in English which are required for study purposes in formal education systems.’ (Jordan 1997, quoting ETIC 1975)

4 ‘EAP refers to language research and instruction that focuses on the specific communicative needs and practices of particular groups in academic contexts. It means grounding instruction in an understanding of the cognitive, social and linguistic demands of specific academic disciplines.’ (Hyland & Hamp-Lyons, 2002) What is EAP? ‘... EAP is the language of academic discourse and focuses specifically on the vocabulary, grammar and discourse features found in academic communication, both spoken and written.’ (Alexander, Argent & Spencer, 2008)

5 English Language Teaching (ELT) English as a Foreign Language (EFL) English as a Second Language (ESL) English as a Mother Tongue (EMT) General English (GE) English For Specific Purposes (ESP) English For Academic Purposes (EAP) English For Occupational Purposes (EOP) English For Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) English For General Academic Purposes (EGAP)

6 What makes teaching EAP different?  It is designed to meet specific needs of the learner.  It is related in its content to particular disciplines, occupations and activities.  It is centred on appropriate language in terms of lexis, syntax and discourse. Absolute Characteristics: (Strevens, 1988)

7  It may be restricted in terms of the skills that are taught e.g. reading only.  It may not follow any specified teaching methodology. Variable Characteristics: (Strevens, 1988) What makes teaching EAP different?

8 (Flowerdew & Peacock, 2001) Further Defining Features:  It is concerned with authentic texts.  It takes a communicative, task-based approach.  It often involves custom-made materials.  It is aimed at adult learners.  It consists of purposeful courses. What makes teaching EAP different?

9 (Watson Todd, 2003) Further Defining Features:  It puts the emphasis on inductive learning.  It typically applies process syllabi e.g. project based learning.  It promotes the development of learner autonomy.  It utilizes and exploits new technology.  It requires inter-disciplinary collaboration and may even result in team-teaching.

10 What makes teaching EAP different? (Krzanowski, 2001; Sharpling, 2002; Bell, 2005; Alexander, 2012) Further Defining Features:  It often uses materials informed by corpus-enhanced genre studies and critical pedagogy.  It requires knowledge of specialist academic discourses.  It requires institutional awareness.  It is an extremely ‘high stakes’ endeavour in terms of the available time.

11 What challenges do teachers new to the EAP environment typically face?  The ‘fun’ activities that served them well in the General English classroom (games, songs, drama etc) are now much less likely to be needed.  The teaching itself is likely to be more tightly linked to the achievement of specific outcomes, some of which may be skills rather than just language-based.  When language is taught, it is more likely to be embedded within particular contexts; there will probably not, for example, be such an explicit or staged focus on the teaching of grammar or pronunciation.

12 What challenges do teachers new to the EAP environment typically face?  In some cases, students may have more knowledge of their subject area than the teacher. As a consequence, teachers may need to work more in partnership with students or as facilitators, rather than in their traditional role as the main source of information.  The actual content of the teaching material may be completely alien to teachers and therefore require a significant amount of extra lesson preparation/reading time.

13 ‘a... critical step in designing the EAP curriculum is accepting that the methodologies and approaches valid in any other area of ESL are not necessarily the most appropriate for EAP.’ (Flowerdew & Peacock, 2001, p177) What do teachers need to adapt when moving from EFL to EAP?

14  A greater awareness of student needs.  A greater awareness of and sensitivity to timing.  More classroom accountability in terms of what is done, how it is done and why it is done.  A deeper understanding of their teaching material.  The ability to foster critical thinking in their students.  A greater focus on developing learner autonomy.  The development of their students’ skills as well as their language. Effective EAP practitioners can particularly demonstrate: What do teachers need to adapt when moving from EFL to EAP?

15 (Alexander, Bell, Cardew, King, Pallant, Scott, Thomas & Ward Goodbody, 2008) BALEAP Competency Framework: ‘An EAP teacher will be able to facilitate students’ acquisition of the language, skills and strategies required for studying in a further or higher education context and to support students’ understanding of approaches to interpreting and responding to the requirements of academic tasks and their related processes.’ Key Competencies of Effective EAP Teachers

16  Academic Practice. i) Academic contexts ii) Disciplinary differences iii) Academic discourse iv) Personal learning, development and autonomy.  EAP Students. v) Student needs vi) Student critical thinking vii) Student autonomy.  Curriculum Development. viii) Syllabus and programme development ix) Text processing and text production.  Programme Implementation. x) Teaching practices xi) Assessment practices. BALEAP Competency Framework 4 main dimensions; 11 discrete areas for focus:

17 How can the transition from EFL to EAP be most effectively managed? Individuals:  Need to acknowledge that being effective in EAP contexts will not always be the same as being effective in EFL.  Need to recognize the gaps in their own knowledge and skill-set (the BALEAP Competency Framework can be very useful in this regard) and take appropriate action e.g. carry out action research, further reading/training/study).  Need to avail themselves of every opportunity for further Continuing Professional Development.

18 Institutions: How can the transition from EFL to EAP be most effectively managed?  Need to establish guidelines for what is expected of their teachers and ensure that these are properly disseminated.  Need to put in place classroom observation procedures and processes that are relevant to the EAP context.  Need to create opportunities for the Continuing Professional Development of their staff.

19 (i)EAP Lesson Preparation & Planning (ii)EAP Lesson Delivery EAP Classroom Observation 2 specific areas for focus: Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China A 3-stage process:  Pre-Observation Meeting (30-45 minutes)  Lesson Observation (2 hours)  Post-Observation Meeting (30-45 minutes) Tutor performance objectively evaluated against set criteria. Running commentaries to provide detailed lesson snapshots.

20 EAP Lesson Preparation & Planning 4 different categories for critical evaluation; 9 specific dimensions: 1. SUBMISSION OF LESSON PLAN (i) The tutor submits his/her lesson plan to the observing line manager in accordance with the specified guidelines. 2. CLARITY AND APPROPRIATENESS OF LESSON AIMS (ii) The lesson aims focus on the development of both academic language and academic skills. (iii)The lesson aims are realistic and achievable in the time allowed. (iv)The lesson aims fit well with the syllabus as a whole i.e. they link up with previous/future lessons and other EAP modules. Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

21 3. CLARITY AND APPROPRIATENESS OF CHOSEN TEACHING MATERIAL/PLANNED ACTIVITY (v)The material/planned activity has a clear academic focus i.e. even if a given material or activity is not particularly academic in itself, the intention must be to use it in such a way, that it leads to one or more academic learning outcomes. (vi)The material/planned activity meets the needs of the students i.e. it is appropriate for their level in terms of language and subject matter. (vii)The material/planned activity is appropriate for the development of both academic language and academic skills. (viii)The material/planned activity is sufficient for the time allowed. EAP Lesson Preparation & Planning cont… Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

22 3. CLARITY AND APPROPRIATENESS OF CHOSEN TEACHING MATERIAL/PLANNED ACTIVITY (v)The material/planned activity has a clear academic focus i.e. even if a given material or activity is not particularly academic in itself, the intention must be to use it in such a way, that it leads to one or more academic learning outcomes. (vi)The material/planned activity meets the needs of the students i.e. it is appropriate for their level in terms of language and subject matter. (vii)The material/planned activity is appropriate for the development of both academic language and academic skills. (viii)The material/planned activity is sufficient for the time allowed. EAP Lesson Preparation & Planning cont… Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

23 4. RANGE, TYPES OF INTERACTION, STAGING AND LOGICAL SEQUENCING OF PLANNED ACTIVITIES (ix)There is a range of planned activities, demonstrating a mix of interaction patterns, appropriate staging and logical sequencing. EAP Lesson Preparation & Planning cont… Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

24 EAP Lesson Delivery 14 specific dimensions for critical evaluation: (i)The tutor makes the aims and desired learning outcomes of the lesson explicit to the students. (ii)The tutor shows a good understanding of his/her lesson material. (iii)The tutor is able to manage his/her classroom and keep the students engaged and on task. (iv)The tutor is able to strike a successful and sensible balance between tutor-centred activity and student-centred activity. (v)The tutor provides students with opportunities for the development of both language and skills. Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

25 (vi)The tutor is sensitive to the specific needs of the students, deals with queries appropriately and offers timely help to those that need it. (vii)The tutor promotes learner autonomy, encouraging students to reflect on and take responsibility for their own learning. (viii)The tutor uses the lesson time effectively and efficiently. (ix)The tutor is able to maximize opportunities for student learning. (x)The tutor is able to pace activities accordingly, making adjustments as and when needed. EAP Lesson Delivery cont… Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

26 (xi)The tutor provides opportunities for the development of critical thinking skills. (xii)The tutor encourages students to self-evaluate their achievement of the stated learning outcomes. (xiii)The tutor provides students with guidance on appropriate homework/self-study/follow up activities. (xiv)By the end of the lesson, the tutor has adequately achieved his/her stated lesson aims. EAP Lesson Delivery cont… Ensuring High Quality EAP at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China

27 ? Time Observed Activity Observer Comments/Questions Interaction Patterns  9am 9:05 9:10 T greets class. Shows lesson objectives on the OHP- talks through them. T-SS Good to show the aims and objectives in writing as well as giving them to SS orally- it helps to make things more explicit. T asks SS to take out their hmwk from the previous class- quickly check responses with a partner. T then goes through the answers on the OHP. T-SS S-S T asks SS to open their textbooks at p53. Says they will be looking at key phrases for giving opinions. T-SS Do they actually need to check hmwk answers with a partner? What is your rationale for doing this? T-SS SS How about contextualising this a bit more first? Why is this language important for them? How does it help? ? Sample Running Commentary

28 Sample Post Observation Feedback Lesson Preparation & Planning Final Overall Rating Meets the required standard Does not meet the required standard Your lesson plan was comprehensive and submitted well in advance of the scheduled observation which shows good forward planning. The aims and objectives of the lesson were clearly stated and there was ample evidence that you had thought very carefully about possible issues in advance and then devised contingency plans for how you might deal with these. Observer’s Summary (particular strengths/weaknesses; areas for improvement) You clearly have a very good rapport with your students and are able to strike a sensible balance between teacher-centred activities and letting the students get on with things by themselves. Be careful with your instructions, as you have a tendency to say everything twice or even three times, albeit by reformulating your original words- however, for a second language learner, this is potentially very confusing. You could also get the students thinking more about how the language and skills that we’re teaching them now will help them next year when they get into their academic departments. Lesson Delivery Generally smooth and well-executed. You kept to your timings well and it was nice to see you checking at the end of the lesson what the students themselves felt they had learned. There was also a good mix of interaction patterns and you kept the pace of the lesson nice and snappy. The students seemed to enjoy the class and were willing to volunteer responses- all in all, this was a good class.

29 In Summary….  Teaching in EAP contexts is not the same as teaching in EFL; teachers need to recognize this from the outset and quickly identify the areas in which they need to adapt their approach.  Teachers new to teaching EAP are likely to find themselves on quite a steep learning curve; this is normal and teachers shouldn’t feel dispirited.  Institutions need to put in place mechanisms that will help teachers working in the EAP environment adapt to and cope with their new challenges.

30 Any Questions?

31 Alexander, O., Argent, S. and Spencer, J. (2008) EAP Essentials. A teacher’s guide to principles and practice. Reading: Garnet Publishing Ltd. Alexander, O. (2012). Exploring teacher beliefs in teaching EAP at low proficiency levels. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 11, pp Alexander, O., Bell, D.E., Gillett, A. and Tomlinson, B. (2006). The Question is Academic. ELT Gazette, January Issue. p12. BALEAP. (2008). Competency Framework for Teachers of English for Academic Purposes. Retrieved from framework.pdf Bell, D.E. (2007). Moving Teachers from the General to the Academic: Challenges and Issues in Teacher Training for EAP. In T. Lynch & J. Northcott (Eds). Symposia for Language Teacher Educators: Educating Legal English Specialists & Teacher Education in Teaching English for Academic Purposes. Proceedings of IALS Teacher Education Symposia, 2004 and Edinburgh: Edinburgh University. Bell, D.E. (2005). Storming the Ivory Tower. ELT Gazette, June Issue. p7. Dudley-Evans, T. and St. John, M.J. (1998) Developments in English for Specific Purposes. A multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Further Reading

32 Flowerdew, J. and Peacock, M. (2001). Research Perspectives on English for Academic Purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hutchinson, T. and Waters, A. (1987) English for Specific Purposes. A learning-centred approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hyland, K. and Hamp-Lyons, L. (2002) ‘EAP: Issues and directions’ In Journal of English for Academic Purposes 1, pp1-12. Jordan, R. R. (2002) ‘The growth of EAP in Britain’ In Journal of English for Academic Purposes 1, pp Jordan, R. R. (1997) English for Academic Purposes. A guide and resource book for teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Krzanowski, M. (2001). S/he holds the Trinity/UCLES Diploma: Are they ready to teach EAP? Retrieved from Sharpling, G. (2002). Learning to Teach English for Academic Purposes: Some current training and development issues. ELTED 6, pp82-94 Strevens, P. (1988). ESP after 20 years: A reappraisal. In ESP: State of the Art, M. Tickoo (Ed.) pp1-13. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Watson Todd, R. (2003). EAP or TEAP? Journal of English for Academic Purposes 2, pp


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