Clare began her career in ELT in Asia, where she taught at high school and tertiary levels, and in language schools. She then worked at the Centre for Applied Language Studies (now ISLI) at the University of Reading, UK, on a variety of EAP courses over many years, also teaching and leading MA ELT programmes on campus and by distance learning in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics. She supervises and conducts research into academic literacy, especially writing. Clare is a National Teaching Fellow, and Professor of Applied Linguistics at Reading, where she is also a Dean for Teaching and Learning. This latter role gives her strategic oversight for T&L across the university, with responsibility for ‘the student experience’ and Post-graduate taught provision, for example, and a range of academic disciplines.
State of the Union: What Union?
English for Academic Purposes courses, providing targeted language and skills development for a wide range of ‘non-native English speaker’ students, have existed in a variety of contexts for around 40 years. At first these were typically add-on/support activities in pseudo- language schools run on campus separately from academic departments over the summer before the academic year started. Over time some have become more mainstream, as the skills developed by these students has been recognised as useful all year round.
This can be in terms of in-sessional support for international students alongside their programmes of study. Such support may be generic (English for General Academic Purposes) or embedded within specific disciplines (English for Specific Academic Purposes). In addition, there are places where the skills of EAP staff are recognised as useful to the wider academic community and this is where EAP has gone, or has the potential to go, mainstream.
In this talk I will discuss the above issues from the perspective of someone who started my professional life in UK as a pre-sessional teacher in one of Britain’s first dedicated EAP units (the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Reading) and who is now one of that university’s five Deans for Teaching and Learning, responsible for ‘the student experience’ across the whole university and for the T&L support in 3 major Schools. Is there a Union between EAP and the wider university? If so, what is it? What could/should it be? Are we working together and learning together: at all, enough, well? Come along and see how far you agree/disagree with me!
Professor Karl Maton
Professor Karl Maton, founder and Director of the LCT Centre for Knowledge-Building at the University of Sydney, is the creator of Legitimation Code Theory, now widely used in sociology, education, linguistics and philosophy. Karl’s book, Knowledge and Knowers: Towards a realist sociology of education, which sets out key ideas of the theory, was published by Routledge in 2013; a primer of how to use LCT in research, Knowledge-building: Educational studies in Legitimation Code Theory, was published by Routledge in Nov 2015. The Second International Legitimation Code Theory Conference will be held in Sydney in July 2017.
Making Waves Together: How Legitimation Code Theory is helping students crack the codes of achievement in education
‘Legitimation Code Theory’ (or ‘LCT’) is addressing two challenges faced by English for Academic Purposes and education research more generally. The first is relating theory to practice. We are often confronted by freely-floating theory divorced from practical outcomes or empirical descriptions of practice locked into their contexts of study. A second problem is that most approaches suffer from knowledge-blindness: they either explore generic processes of learning or purport to reveal the arbitrary social power behind practices. Thus research tends to address knowing or knowers rather than knowledge itself. Yet, academic support for students requires grasping the different organizing principles of the diverse practices across the disciplinary map in which students must become adept for success.
I shall introduce a framework that both addresses similarities and differences among knowledge practices and offers a means for relating theory to practice. LCT is now being widely used to explore education at all levels, across the disciplinary map, and in a growing range of national contexts. Specifically, I discuss a dimension of LCT that is being rapidly taken up to both research and shape teaching and learning: Semantics. To introduce these concepts and illustrate their usefulness, I focus first on a major project that highlighted the significance of ‘semantic waves’ for cumulative knowledge-building in classrooms. I then discuss how semantic waves are being shown to be crucial for student success in terms of assessments. Finally, I show how academic literacy programmes are using these ideas from LCT to empower students by revealing the bases for achievement in different subject areas.
Glenn Fulcher is Professor of Education and Language Assessment and Head of School in the School of Education, University of Leicester. He has served as President of the International Language Testing Association, and is the longest serving editor of the journal Language Testing. His books include Language Testing Revisited: A Philosophical and Social Inquiry, The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing,Practical Language Testing, and Language Testing and Assessment. In 2014 he was awarded an HEA National Teaching Fellowship for enhancing assessment literacy, and particularly for creating innovative electronic learning resources such as those available at his website: http://languagetesting.info.
Cultivating Language Assessment Literacy as Collaborative CPD
Testing and assessment related activities take up a significant proportion of a busy EAP professional’s working life. We are expected to create placement, progress and programme exit tests; prepare learners for high stakes University entrance tests; and interpret test scores for decision making within our institutions. And while a sizable chunk of time is put aside for shared course and lesson planning, there is always a dearth of time for fundamental thinking and collaborative work around assessment. Perpetuating the view that “doing assessment” is an ancillary and relatively unsophisticated task is regrettable. Research into assessment literacy and the operationalisation of assessment learning opportunities has shown that co-operative learning tasks can lead to an enhanced group understanding of central learning goals. In this talk I will outline our current understanding of assessment literacy and investigate how collaborative CPD activities can enhance EAP practice in teaching and testing.
Libor Štěpánek is Assistant Professor in English and Director of the Masaryk University Language Centre, Brno, Czech Republic. He is an author and co-author of a number of EAP courses and publications, however, his main academic interest lies in the Creative Approach to Language Teaching (http://eapcreatively.blogspot.cz/) and the use of videoconferencing (VC). Since his first VC course with Aberystwyth University in 2004, Libor has been involved in VC experiments and extensive research. Today, he trains teachers in the use of videoconferencing and the Masaryk University Language Centre offers VC simulations of international law trials, business negotiations, courses on intercultural communication and global team work, thus connecting its students to the UK, Europe and the rest of the world on a weekly basis.
Creative EAP: Changing the dynamics of teaching
Current societal changes throughout the world are affecting the way we think, learn and teach. Individual sectors of Higher Education reflect those changes in diverse ways. Different universities adopt innovative pedagogies, methodologies and educational styles, which impact EAP significantly and require EAP practitioners to implement corresponding changes into their everyday teaching practice.
Students today are expected not only to acquire appropriate language competencies that would enable them communicate competently in their discipline, but also to learn a whole range of extra-linguistic competencies, from intercultural communication skills to team work, creative thinking or autonomous decision-making strategies.
In this paper, I will introduce some theories and approaches that allow for flexible implementation of a wide range of linguistic and extra-linguistic competencies into EAP courses. I will present strategies that encourage students to become more responsible, creative and autonomous co-authors of their own learning. And I will also show some practical examples of activities that link local and international academic setting, combine authentic and adapted materials or situations, blend synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication, and demonstrate how creative teaching may help learners deal with a wider variety of complex challenges they may face in the future more effectively.