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EAP Methodologies

Saturday 15thJune 2002

Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh

Organiser: Olwyn Alexander


Peter Grundy (University of Durham)

The socio-pragmatics of writing
Pragmatic analysis is typically applied to spoken rather than written language. Yet those of us who teach writing, especially in multi-cultural contexts such as a university, are often struck by the way in which writers encode their cultural identity by pragmatic means. In this talk, I will explore the choices made by a bilingual Chinese/English writer and suggest that it's important to help our students to become aware of how the pragmatic decisions they make as writers determine who they appear to be to their readers.

Anne Pallant and Anne Vicary (University of Reading)

A rationale for the teaching of academic writing: IELTS level 3 to level 7.5
The last twenty years has seen much research into L2 writing, some of which has further informed approaches to the teaching of writing. These approaches include "the current traditional approach", the process approach, the content-centred approach and the approach that emphasised textual organisation. However an explicit methodology and syllabus for teaching academic writing on EAP courses has not emerged; EAP teachers tend to dabble eclectically in a variety of practices to fulfil the needs of their writing class.
This paper will present a principled and explicit rationale for the teaching of academic writing, which leads to syllabi and methodology that can be applied to EAP courses and to students of IELTS level 3 to 7.5. The paper shows how it is possible to base writing courses for different IELTS levels upon the same principles, but to vary the task types and depth of problem-solving and investigation, as well as the language input. Students are set challenging but achievable goals, through which they can develop the skills and strategies needed to cope efficiently on their future academic courses

David Catterick (University of Dundee)

Developing the DUET
This session will report on the development of a new English language examination called the DUET (Dundee University English Test). The DUET was created and developed by staff in the Centre for Applied Language Studies to assess the English language proficiency of prospective international students. Though it would therefore seem to be duplicating the role played by the IELTS, the DUET is designed to be more than just a language exam in that it is intended to function as both a marketing tool and recruitment device. In form, also, the DUET differs from the IELTS including as it does more up-to-date content, targeted use of task types and greater flexibility (providing candidates with the option of submitting a portfolio for credit). Samples from actual DUET examinations and portfolio work will be used in the session.
Summary + OHTs

John Morgan (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)

An individualised specific-purposes approach to teaching mixed-discipline in-sessional students.
University students at all levels need to be able to develop their own writing skills through focusing on the generic patterns of subject-specific text in their own academic field. In EAP this has long been a contentious issue as teachers may not be familiar with the discourse conventions of the fields of study that their students must communicate within. The problem is made more acute in multi-disciplinary classes where sample texts used in teaching writing skills may not reflect the interests and needs of all students.
This discussion is based on an approach to this issue developed for two ten-credit undergraduate writing modules for overseas students and a host of specific post graduate in-sessional and research training seminars (for mixed groups of non-native and native speakers of English) at the University of Wales Aberystwyth. Through processes of individualisation (Trimble, 1986), students work with functional, structural and rhetorical layers of writing within a discourse community focus.
By working with case studies in their own fields, students inform choices made in their own writing in a more appropriate manner, which through individualised planning and writing tasks allows the teacher to address the individual needs of a multi-disciplinary group. This works in parallel to the subject specific essays they need to write for other academic modules and facilitates a greater learner-centred focus on the development of writing skills.
This session outlines this approach and will engage participants in a discussion of how these issues are dealt with in their own institutions and whether their own experiences can be used to complement this approach (or vice-versa) with both non-native and native speakers of English.

Richard Badger (University of Stirling)

Product, process and genre: Approaches to writing in EAP
There are commonly said to be three approaches to writing within EFL and EAP, product, process and genre. These approaches are regarded as being mutually exclusive and there has been much debate between proponents of the different approaches. This workshop attempts to identify the strengths of the three approaches and identifies the features of an approach which draws on the best of all three.

Lynn Errey (Oxford Brookes University)

Re-evaluating task-based learning in EAP
EAP students have to acquire new uses of language and think about how to use this knowledge for context specific ends and pragmatic behaviours. EAP methodology needs therefore not only to help students to notice and use new language-in-use, but also to help them learn to question, make decisions and choices, develop strategies, in short learn to mediate their own learning in parallel with teacher support. The EAP teacher's role as collaborator in EAP students' strategic learning processes is well discussed but there is room for exploring approaches that can be activated systematically in the EAP classroom. EFL methodologies are not generally seen as sufficiently encompassing for EAP needs, but a possible exception is of Task-based learning, motivated as much by theories of learning as it is theories of language, and like EAP, goal centred. This session aims to report on some work being done by a group of European universities to develop a pedagogic model for using tasks to develop metacognition and strategic thinking in the classroom, and to discuss how helpful this approach might be for EAP teachers.

Diana Ridley (University of Sheffield/Sheffield Hallam University)

Reading to write: ways of using current news reports in an EAP context
The idea for this workshop has stemmed from challenges encountered when working with multidisciplinary pre-sessional EAP groups. It is often difficult to find materials of interest and relevance to all members of the group that enable the development of a critical approach to reading and effective integration of this reading into writing. This workshop will explore ways of exploiting current news stories to enhance these strategies. I will give a brief overview of the theoretical background to this approach and then share some current newspaper articles to brainstorm ideas about their potential in an EAP context.

Sue Argent & Jenifer Spencer (Heriot Watt University)

Habemus corpus (We have a corpus!)
What happens when you try to use a degree programme as a corpus for a customised EAP course? We are using first year business studies texts to do just this and will share with you some of the problems, opportunities and insights we've experienced. We will also look at some of the wider implications for marketing UK education internationally.

Steve Issitt (University of Birmingham)

Timed essays on pre-sessionals
We introduced a series of timed essays which all students completed. The results and subsequent feedback were an integral part of the programme and served as a measure of progress for the students whilst informing us of the effectiveness of our teaching. We have quite a lot of data and it would be interesting to address some of the methodological issues which can and did arise.
Summary + OHTs

Olwyn Alexander (Heriot Watt University) & David Bowker (University of Paisley)

In at the deep end: Teaching students where they have to go.
There have been calls recently from several different quarters for resisting globalising or generalizing tendencies in language teaching as exemplified by 'one size fits all' coursebooks filled with grammar McNuggets or broad functional varieties such as academic or business English. Hyland (ESP, 2002) argues that we must take the specificity in ESP seriously and go as far as we can towards teaching skills appropriate to particular academic and professional communities. In this talk we look at two case studies and discuss how far that is possible and practicable.