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Making the transition to EAP

 
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neverheardofem



Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:40 am    Post subject: Making the transition to EAP Reply with quote

I am having a bit of a crisis of confidence! I have taught ESL and EFL for a few years to various levels and age groups in different countries. I think I'm reasonably good at it and enjoy it a lot. I've also taught exam classes, but not extensively. I'm not super qualified - have a CELTA, DELTA module one and an English lit MA.
Anyway, I am about to embark on a new position where I will be teaching EAP in a university. It is great to get this job as I am kind of feeling the need to move out of general English and language schools. I am interested in EAP and a new challenge. However as the start date approaches, I am beginning to freak out. I'm not sure if I will be able to do it! I will be working with people who have vast experience and higher qualifications than I. I know that EAP is greatly different to EFL/ESL, so I don't know how I will transfer my experience to this new job. Can anyone advise, tell me of their experiences in starting to teach academic skills or give me a few links to brush up my knowledge?
I would really appreciate your advice!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 5165
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The EAP domain essentially emphasizes the specific study needs of students to prepare them for academic studies within an English language learning environment. An EAP program serves two purposes: 1) to improve the students' English in order to raise their IELTS or TOEFL scores enough for them to enter their university degree programs; and 2) to help them develop their skills in critical thinking, intercultural communication, debate and presentation, leadership, team collaboration, etc.---those soft skills needed for academic success. EAP may be taught using either an integrated skills approach or focusing on each skill separately. Although not a language skill, grammar in academic contexts may be taught as a separate course.

A quick Internet search brought up the following general article to get you started: "What is EAP?" (http://www.uefap.com/articles/eap.htm). Better yet, an Internet search using english academic purposes yields links to info (including course descriptions) on EAP programs in US and Canadian universities---some may even have samples of course syllabi.

I've mostly taught academic writing and frankly, find teaching EAP easier than teaching general intensive English. In fact, segueing into EAP wasn't a stretch for me since my previous career entailed a lot of technical and legal writing. Anyway, regardless of which EAP course you teach, you should be given a syllabus (complete with learning objectives and outcomes), which will be quite useful as a guide for preparing lessons and activities as well as selecting course materials. Transitioning to EAP may take you some adjustment, but I doubt you'll find the experience worthy of a major "freak out." Wink

By the way, are these EAP students already enrolled in a university English language program in the US, Canada, etc., or are they English students at a foreign university who will eventually head to universities in Anglophone countries?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12903
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if this will be of any assistance, but here's a course description I put together for my Transitions class, which I designed to help ESL students prepare for college credit classes:

TRANSITIONS: Course Description

The primary purpose of this course is to help students understand and prepare for the writing, reading, listening, and speaking demands of college. The requirements of college-level reading, writing, and grammar, in particular, are generally more challenging than many anticipate. The intent of this class is to act as a bridge between studying in an ESL program and taking college courses. Students will work on improving vocabulary and reading comprehension, taking effective notes, honing grammar skills, making short classroom presentations, and crafting various sentence types, paragraphs, essays, and, if time allows, a short research project. We’ll also give you an introduction to SFCC (resources, classes, etc.) and have you take the Placement Test (near the end of this course)
after which you’ll be able to get a “student number.”
The class will include whole group, small group, pair, and individual work.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
• Practice effective pre-reading and pre-writing strategies
• Identify the elements of a writing selection, including main idea, supporting details, and transition words and phrases
• Take effective notes on readings and class discussions
• Make valid inferences; distinguish fact from opinion; paraphrase
• Identify purpose and tone; practice critical reading/thinking
• Describe and practice the steps in the writing process
• Form grammatically correct sentences
• Write a well-organized paragraph
• Write a one-paragraph summary of a reading
• Write an outline
• Write well-organized essays, using various types of organization (e.g. time, comparison and contrast, cause and effect, process, etc.)
• Show evidence of critical reading and thinking through questions and analysis
• Complete a short research project using and citing 2-4 references
• Deliver short class presentations summarizing research projects

TEXTBOOK
SFCC Transitions to College Text: Teacher-produced.
Highly recommended: A college-level, paperback dictionary

MATERIALS
Please bring the following materials to every class:
• a 3-ring binder with section dividers (for your portfolio)
• 8.5 x 11 lined writing paper
• pencils and pens
• the textbook (provided by the teacher)
• a journal composition book

• COURSE ASSIGNMENTS
Products
• Weekly journal entry
• Short paragraphs and essays, reading comprehension assessments, note-taking, class presentations

Journal
Journal entries are informal reflective writing pieces. One paragraph is sufficient, although longer pieces are welcomed. The writing is generally personal, describing experiences, concerns, plans, etc, but other types of writing (e.g. stories, poems, essays) are also encouraged Entries can be handwritten or typed. If you write it by hand, use your journal composition notebooks. Write the date at the top of each entry. If you type it, make sure to include your name and date. I will respond briefly to the content of what you write. I may ask a question that you can respond to in your next entry. I will not correct the grammar and punctuation in your journals, but I will indicate where any problems may be.

Why do we do journal writing? One reason is the importance of regular practice for developing confidence and skill in writing. Another reason is the opportunity to think about yourself and your environment. Writing helps the thinking process.
Journal entries are confidential—unless you choose to share them with the class, I will not discuss the content of your entry with anyone but you.

Writing Assignments
All assignments done outside your journal notebook should include a heading with name, course, name of the assignment, and date at the top. They should be double-spaced, whether they are hand-written or typed.

Research Paper
If time allows, the short research paper will be completed in stages:
• Topic and questions
• Notes on initial readings
• Outline
• First draft with outline and bibliography
• Second draft: at least 1 page double-spaced with outline and bibliography
• Final paper: at least 1.5 pages double-spaced with bibliography
• Oral presentation

Portfolio
Your portfolio will contain items from this class. A language portfolio is a selection of examples of work that provides concrete evidence of your progress in learning English. The important word here is selection. Your portfolio will not include everything you will have done throughout the course, but will contain a representational sampling of items that you and I think shows what you have learned to do in English.

Covered in this course:

I. WRITING:
A. Kinds of writing expected of college students:
1.Short answers on tests
2. Short essay writing for homework assignments (writing thesis statements, topic sentences, supporting details, and conclusions)
3. Essays on tests
4. Research and report writing
5. Writing for an audience

B. Review/practice of common grammar and writing problems:
1. Word usage
2. Spelling and punctuation
3. Grammatical forms and syntax
4. Sentence structure and sentence combining

C. Understanding the writing assignment:
1. Outlines (traditional and mind-mapping/cluster)
2. Summarize
3. Compare and contrast
4. Persuade
5. Explain by cause and effect
6. Problem/solutions
7. Research

D. Basic writing form, from brief responses to whole reports:
1. Demonstrate the ability to brainstorm, organize, draft and revise paragraphs:
a. Pre-writing, outlining, drafting, revising and editing, final draft
2. Recognize features of a good topic sentence:
a. Correct and incorrect topic sentences and the differences between them
3. Demonstrate the ability to develop supporting details:
a. Definition and qualities of major and minor supporting details
b. Relevance of major and minor details to topic sentences
4. Demonstrate the ability to produce simple, compound and complex sentences:
a. Features of simple, compound, and complex sentences
b. Techniques for connecting clauses to form compound and complex sentences
5. Produce a well-developed and well-organize paragraph:
a. Correct topic sentences
b. Relevant and adequate supporting details
c. Coherence through transitions
d. Correct grammar and punctuation
6. Opening thesis paragraph (going from general to specific)
7. Three main points (using either direct quotations, paraphrases/summary, statistics, and research examples)
8. Closing thesis paragraph (going from specific back to general)
9. Proofreading and revisions

E. Discuss research: (if time allows)
1. Uses; 2. Sources; 3. Examples of citation; 4. Paraphrasing versus Plagiarism

II. READING

1. Dictionary Use 2. Vocabulary in Context (Context Clues)
3. Pre-reading DR/TA (directed reading/thinking activity) K-W-L-H (know, want, learn, how to learn), SQ4R (survey, question, read, recite, relate, and review)
4. Recognizing and finding the topic and main idea (and implied main idea) (Thesis statements and topic sentences)
5. Comprehension (finding specific major and minor supporting details)
6. Patterns of organization (recognizing/identifying patterns used to organize essays)
7. Inference/implication (including implied main ideas)
8. Argument (finding the main point) 9. Fact versus Opinion
10. Purpose, tone and bias 11. Critical reading

III. LISTENING AND NOTE-TAKING

1. The Three Steps: hearing (attention), understanding (focus), and judging importance (discrimination)
2. Focus, listen for main ideas, use body language cues
3. Choose or develop a method that works for you. The following methods will be discussed:
1. The Cornell Method 2. The Outline Method 3. The Mapping Method
4. The Charting Method 5. The Sentence Method

!V: ORAL PRESENTATION

1. Introduction: Tell the audience what you're going to tell them. Grab the audience's attention

2. Body: Tell them. Offer facts, opinions, and reasons to support your maim idea

3. Conclusion: Tell them what you told them. Restate the main points without giving examples.

As you may have noticed, some common skills are shared by all the subject areas (i.e. writing, reading, listening, speaking.) When you do any of these is a college setting, you’ll need to be able to recognize, understand, and produce such items as Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Topic, Main Idea, Specific Details, Inference, etc. in order to be critical readers, writers, and listeners and be organized, clear, and effective speakers.

Regards,
John
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mmcmorrow



Joined: 30 Sep 2007
Posts: 109
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My main advice would be to remind yourself (and the students, if necessary) that you are still teaching English language - the same as you've been doing for years. You are still helping students with their vocabulary, grammar, study skills and the four language skills. Most of what you'll be doing will be very familiar: giving instructions, monitoring, providing feedback, giving corrections etc. You can regard teaching EAP as like driving a new car - the car may be new, but it's the same old driving! Think of all the great lessons you’ve taught – all those amazing students: there’s more of these around the corner.

My other advice is to try to accept and value your uncertainties, without letting them dent your confidence. Remind yourself that it's ok not to know. Confident uncertainty is really the greatest asset a teacher can possess. Teachers who've been doing this for years really ought to envy you. Use your uncertainties to help you to listen more to the students, learning along with them, asking them to explain things etc. You'll be a better teacher for it. Know-it-alls have nothing to learn, and very little to teach anyone else!

Practically speaking, I imagine that you'll be working on courses which have already been pretty much set up, and using or adapting materials that have already been designed. Begin to familiarise yourself with the course as a whole, but really, all you really need to concern yourself with is the matter at hand - making the next lesson work.

Looking further ahead, you might well find it useful to think about doing Delta module 3 with a focus on teaching EAP. And why not consider keeping a reflective diary of your experiences in moving into EAP? It's a great opportunity to do so and could be useful data for your Module 3 assignment in future, or for a module on an MA in ELT, or for an article in a teacher's journal. Just a thought.

Martin McMorrow, Massey University, New Zealand
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 5165
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Oxford University Press ELT:

"Teaching EAP: A Professional Challenge"
http://oupeltglobalblog.com/2012/07/10/teaching-eap-a-professional-challenge/
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MdSmith



Joined: 15 Nov 2012
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for hijacking the thread but I'm also considering moving into EAP. However, I come from more of a science background and have a doctorate. Would you think I could make a niche career in EAP? I have a minimal TEFL cert and one year's experience from a while back. Would you say I should do the CELTA to get back into it? Any constructive thoughts welcome, cheers.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 5165
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MdSmith wrote:
I come from more of a science background and have a doctorate. Would you think I could make a niche career in EAP? I have a minimal TEFL cert and one year's experience from a while back. Would you say I should do the CELTA to get back into it?

Although you don't possess academic credentials related to education or TESOL, I suspect having a doctorate is a plus because it's an academic degree. However, I agree with bumping up your teaching qualification to a CELTA, SIT TESOL, or Trinity CertTESOL. I also suggest you read through this thread again, especially the course description posted by Johnslat to give you an idea of learning objectives you'll likely see in EAP.

You didn't mention where you intend to teach, but you'll probably need to teach a couple of more years in general English before moving into EAP. Even then, be aware some employers may still require a relevant degree.
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MdSmith



Joined: 15 Nov 2012
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response. I was thinking about EAP positions in universities in the UK. However, I guess I would probably need to go abroad to get the couple of years' full-time general English experience (?). BTW what do you think about EAP as a career choice for the medium-term? Cheers
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MdSmith



Joined: 15 Nov 2012
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response. I was thinking about EAP positions in universities in the UK. However, I guess I would probably need to go abroad to get the couple of years' full-time general English experience (?). BTW what do you think about EAP as a career choice for the medium-term? Cheers
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MdSmith



Joined: 15 Nov 2012
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a query about doing pre-sessional EAP work in the UK. Most job ads seem to require an MA in TEFL or DELTA; I was wondering though if they are flexible with this? E.g. somebody with a doctorate in science plus a CELTA with a couple of years general English experience? Thanks for any insights.
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