All you ever wanted to know about EAP

I have recently volunteered to plan and deliver a short workshop for my coworkers on academic writing. I’m very much looking forward to this because I do very little F2F teaching these days – I’ve just done my biannual two weeks and so am not likely to step inside a classroom until exam time in June, during which time any teaching I do will take place online.

Photo taken from ELTpics by Dace Praulins, used under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

A little bit of background: our department has recently run a couple of in-house workshops on various aspects of conducting academic research, so my topic – academic writing in English – ties in nicely with the overall theme. I also have considerable experience teaching introductory EAP sessions to undergrads, which helps explain my readiness to volunteer. For those interested in what that experience entails, I wrote briefly about it for EAP stories over on Joanna Malefaki’s blog (along with six other EAP instructors from a range of backgrounds).

My usual EAP classes are different from the coming workshop in that I have 60 hours instead of a semester and roughly 30 undergrads as opposed to half that many adults (yeah, yeah, undergrads are also supposed to be adults and if you’ve followed me for some time you know how I feel about that 😛 ).

I’ve been thinking along the lines of “Everything you wanted to know about EAP (but had no chance to ask)” for the title of the workshop, with the idea of covering as much of the very basics as possible in 3 hours. Obviously, I already have some ideas – one of which is definitely to use that table with academic phrases and their actual equivalents (you know the one: sample size was small = I could only find one person to experiment on, that kind of thing) maybe as a matching activity for humorous effect.

If you were running a similar workshop, what is something (the one thing) you would definitely include? I don’t mean actual activities, but topics. The assumption is that the audience has research experience (and in terms of writing it up) but hasn’t had (many) EAP sessions. Your input would be very much appreciated, PLN – thanks in advance!


By ven_vve

ELT, elearning, higher ed, teacher training, translation. Partial to the island of Vis since the pre-tourist era.

14 replies on “All you ever wanted to know about EAP”

Hi Adi, thanks for the suggestion. You reminded me that I forgot to say in the post that our department provides support to the public education sector in using edtech, so this would definitely be highly relevant. Did you have something specific in mind when you said corporate, btw?

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When I was writing my MA thesis (that’s the only instance of me having to actually use academic English), there were a few things I struggled with. For example, I was not sure how many ‘based on my experience as a teacher’ phrases I could use without sounding too ‘unacademic’. Surprisingly, my tutor and the opponent had opposing views on this. Also, it may be useful to know how to paraphrase creatively. I mean, there are many verbs you can use (maintain, argue, claim, suggest, etc.) but after some time you are fed up with those and you realize you sound repetitive. So maybe some tricks on how to avoid repetition? Also, the required use of passive can be a real nuisance. Sometimes you just need to say *I* but they tell you (you are told) that you shouldn’t. However, overuse of the passive voice makes your text heavy to read. So, another topic could be on how to balance this or how far can you go using the active voice. Anyway, I don’t know how proficient your audience will be but those were some of the questions I needed answers to back then (not to mention formatting, citations, etc.).

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Thanks for your input, Hana! The way I see it now is that maybe formatting and citations I might leave for the end if there’s time. Those are definitely important but I tend to see them as something people will be focusing on once they actually start writing (or possibly finish). I may be wrong. I also see them as tied to a particular publication/citation style, which they’ll be familiar with from academic writing in Croatian (the concept, that is). The other points I think my audience is likely to be very interested in and I’m pretty sure I’ll work them into the talk. Workshop. Work them into the workshop? 🙂 Anyway, these are very helpful, thanks so much.

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I think it would be wise to talk about:

1) the difference between EAP, EGAP, ESAP, ESP; another is likely the disciplinary genres that general EAP tends to address mostly.
2) the fact that EAP does, in fact, tend to focus on genre and discipline, not that it’s devoid of it and covers all.

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I’d also be onterested to know how you stay uptodate with online tools, e.g. Microsoft support in Word for referencing / bibliographies.
It all sounds v interesting, – am hoping you will be able ‘share’ the talk (or a summary) after the event(!) All the best!

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Hi Rachel,
Thanks for reading and for the comment, and I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. The event took place about two weeks ago and I was happy with the way it turned out. I *was* planning to share a summary, but a lot has been going on so it might have to wait a little.
About online tools for referencing – this is an area I’m hoping to learn more about myself. I haven’t really had the opportunity to use any yet. If you have any tips, they’d be very welcome!


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