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Teaching EAP: A Professional Challenge

Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) can bring a lot of challenges for both teacher and students. Here Fatih Yücel discusses some of the issues.

Have you ever taught an EAP course? Did you enjoy it or was it a nightmare? How about your students? Did they benefit from the course or did they neglect it? You can add many more to this list of questions.

To begin with, for most language instructors it is already a challenge to switch from teaching English as a Second Language to teaching English for Academic Purposes as the syllabi and the outcomes are totally different from each other. To my knowledge, university circles also face some significant problems about designing and implementing EAP courses, because EAP is a course for adults; therefore one has to convince the learners about the benefits.

What are the key challenges?

Preparing Suitable Course Materials:
Most EFL instructors have access to infinite number of sources to use in class, so it is generally not an issue to add variety to their lessons. As for EAP classes on the other hand, it is not that easy to find and/or prepare suitable materials. Jordan (1997:269) summarizes the main areas of difficulty that may need addressing about materials writing as follows;

  1. Shortage of time;
  2. Insufficient money to finance additional teachers to help with teaching/writing;
  3. Difficulty of obtaining access to subject specific information, data, and the appropriate academic conventions of the target discourse community;
  4. Lack of co-operation from staff in specialist departments;
  5. Lack of self-confidence, experience, imagination, creativity;
  6. Fear of lack of credibility with students.

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