EAP course

EAP courses: a short overview for the newbie : D

A couple of teacher friends who will be teaching EAP (English for academic purposes) have been asking me questions about what to expect and what it is like. Well, first of all, for me, EAP courses are fantastic (I have taught on 3 pre sessional courses and am going to Sheffield Uni this year for my fourth course, yay!) and a chance to go from my everyday General English classes to something different and challenging. Yes, it will be challengeing but don’t worry you can do it!
 So, for all you newbie EAP tutors congrats on the new job, this one is for you!This post is a very brief but quite a concise descrioption of what to expect when teaching an EAP course for the first time.

What will I be teaching?
Syllabus of course may differ, from course to course, due to duration, learners’ English level and many other factors but at core they are the same. Here is a brief description of what you will be teaching:

  • Academic writing

Forget about the Ielts academic writing you have been teaching so far. Now, you will be helping your learners write research papers, assignments. You need to train them to use strategies like paraphrasing, summarizing information, synthesizing information and many others. They learn what a thesis statement is, a map, how to show their view in a research paper as well as how to support their main argument with other arguments. You also have to help them avoid plagiarism because there is almost next to zero tolerance of plagiarism!

  • Academic Listening

Your learners will be attending lectures so part of academic listening is to prepare your learners for that.  Your learners will attend, listen or watch a lecture. Your role is to ensure your learners make use of the strategies that will help them identify what information is important, and what  is not. You will probably have to devote some time on teaching them how to take notes. May I suggest brushing up your knowledge on Cornell notes?

  • Academic Reading

Here you will practice reading with your learners and engage in tasks that help them recognise the rhetorical functions so as to understand a text, skim, scan, understand the main and supporting ideas and guess the meaning of unknown words etc. so that they are able to understand complex academic texts, journals and books that are relevant to their studies.

  • Presentation Skills

In your presentation skills classes you will be giving guidance related to how to give a presentation. You will teach them what to include in a presentation (usually PowerPoint) and what not to include. You will give advice on the appearance of their PPT slides and their delivery of a presentation. You will also practice Q & A segments so they are prepared to answer any questions that come their way and are relevant to their chosen topic.

  • Seminar skills
Your students need to be able to express their views on issues related to their subject skills in study groups and in their classes. They need to hold discussions with their peers, negotiate, come to mutual decisions, argue their views and so on. This is what you will be doing in this class. You will equip your learners with the speaking micro skills that will enable them to do so.
  • Assessment?
This depends on the EAP course you are teaching. You will definitely be assessing in one way or another your learners so be prepared for a heavy workload : )

What about technology?
The university you will be teaching at will probably have smart boards and computers everywhere. You will also probably have to use MOODLE or Blackboard as a learners’ management system. I have never used MOODLE so I cannot talk about that, but as far as Blackboard is concerned, it is easy to use. You can share things with your colleagues and students. You can use it to email, use discussion boards, get your learners to submit research papers etc.

Buzz terms you may need to read up on

  • critical thinking
  • autonomous learning
  • peer evaluation/feedback
  • plagiarism

    Feel free to add whatever you feel is missing. I have also written a post about top resources when teaching EAP so have a look here.
    Till next time

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