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English for Academic Purposes Course Des

Assignment 1:
English for Academic Purposes Course Design
and Lesson Plan with Materials
Name: Katalin Butt-Bethlendy
Course: Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching
English for Academic Purposes
Module: EAP Theory and Practice
Word count: 2,863 + 391 = 3,254
Date: 18/02/2012
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Constraints and needs analysis
3. Rationale for the course and syllabus
3.1. Course components
3.1.1. Product: topic, genres and functions
3.1.2. Skills: language and study skills
3.1.3. Process
3.2 Methodology
3.3 Feedback and assessment
4. Rationale for the lesson plan and materials
5. Conclusion
1. Introduction
With the increased number of university students wishing to study at higher education institutions where
the language of instruction is English, the field of English language for Academic Purposes has
experienced a major expansion in recent decades. For the foreseeable future, a report published by the
British Council claims that the potential market for international education is expected to expand
dramatically, worldwide from about 2.1 million students studying abroad in 2003 to around 5.8 million by
2020 (Böhm et al., 2004). Universities, able to charge international students substantial sums for tuition
fees, welcome and encourage this trend as they see it as a means of addressing their continuing funding
shortfalls (Ward, 2004).
To attract its target numbers of international students, a university needs to ensure foreign language
speakers have the same chances of succeeding in their studies as native English speaker students,
without the institution having to compromise the standards of education for which it is known. Therefore it
is of vital importance that English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses are designed carefully to meet
the diverse needs of students and subject tutors, as well as institutions.
The purpose of this paper is to describe and give a rationale for the syllabus of a specific EAP course, as
well as one of its lessons, in an imaginary but likely university setting. First, I will begin with a description
of the supposed constraints and needs in relation to the course. Then, I will give details of its proposed
syllabus, with a rationale for its components, methodology and assessment. The second half of this paper
will consist of a rationale for a lesson plan and learning materials developed for one lesson of this course.
Finally, the conclusion will sum up how the described programme would meet the needs established at
the beginning of the course.
2. Constraints and needs analysis
Today it is commonly accepted by leading researchers in EAP teaching, such as Hyland (2006, p.74) and
Feez (2002, p.38) that the first step of course design is needs analysis, which is “the process of
determining the needs for which a learner or group of learners requires a language and arranging the
needs according to priorities” (Richards et al. 1992, pp. 242-243). Alexander et al., however, claim that
the first step is to consider various constraints of the specific teaching context, such as: time, student
numbers, language levels and disciplines, available resources, institutional practices and the experience
of both the students and the teachers; needs analysis should come only second (2008, pp. 83-84). The
following paragraph will, therefore, replace this initial, research-oriented stage of course design by
summarising all the supposed constraints and needs for the chosen, imaginary scenario.
The EAP course will take place over ten weeks, from October to December, with a two-hour-per-week slot
that fits in with the students’ timetables. Twelve international postgraduate students from China, Hong
Kong, Thailand and Vietnam have signed up to attend the course alongside their Masters courses in
different disciplines. They all achieved a 6.0 average in their IELTS exams before being accepted by the
university, and they have not attended a pre-sessional EAP course.
An initial meeting with the students revealed their perceived need to improve reading speed; they also
wish to develop their speaking skills as they are worried about giving presentations that now form part of
their Masters course assessment, of which they have had no previous experience. They have not tried to
write academic essays in English before, but felt that they can cope with their future written assignments
since they have all learnt how to write short essays for the IELTS exam.
At the same time, an interview with several lecturers teaching subjects that are popular with international
students at this university showed that most foreign-language-speaker students struggle to complete their
researched written project work (also known as coursework assignments) to the expected standards. The
course will be formally assessed, and the interviewed lecturers and the Head of English Language
Programmes would also like some feedback on the students’ achievements at the end of the course.
3. Rationale for the course and syllabus
The above scenario presents a number of challenges and opportunities for the course designer, who will
make informed decisions to meet the conflicting needs and wants of students and teachers. Some of
these established via the initial analysis or by general EAP teaching principles can be addressed by either
the components of the course, such as genres, skills, or processes to be taught, or via integration, i.e. the
methodology applied throughout the course. To maximise the learning that takes place throughout the ten
weeks, different forms of feedback need to be incorporated into the course design, and suitable forms of
assessment also have to be established to measure the success of the course.
3.1. Course components
In terms of their approaches, various syllabi can be described as falling into three major categories:
syllabi focusing on content or product; those that are skills based; and those that are method or process
based (Jordan, 1997, p.60). In order to deliver a well-balanced and effective EAP learning experience, the
syllabus for this particular course will have components from each of the above (see course outline in
Appendix 1).
3.1.1. Product: topic, genres and functions
Due the fact that the students are from different disciplines, it will not be possible to give prominence in
class to topics specific to the students’ area of interest; the learning material covered during lessons will
be authentic but representing diverse interests. This restriction does not necessarily apply to self-study,
however. At the beginning of the course, the students will choose a topic relevant to their discipline, or will
be encouraged to select one of their actual subject coursework assignments for the term, and work on
different aspects of these during the ten weeks.
Because of the limited duration of the course there will be no scope for the exploration of a wide range of
genres; also, the types and conventions of these differ depending on the discipline as Alexander et al.
observed (2008, pp.181-182). However, based on general knowledge regarding the students’ academic
context, one may assert that most will, at some point in their studies, be required to produce a literaturebased project (also known as a critical or documented essay), which is one of three possible EAP project
types as defined by Bloor and St John (1988). Therefore, by the end of the course, the students will have
produced a project portfolio – including research notes, an outline, one fully completed section and a list
of references – which will show their development in understanding the requirements of this genre. Based
on the above they are going to deliver a short presentation in the final week of the term.
A useful element of EAP teaching to focus on in class will be the language of certain rhetorical functions
as they appear in different types of essays: narrative, comparison, cause and effect, and argumentative
essays. Students will be presented with short samples of each of these, written by students on previous
EAP courses. These will serve as models to observe, analyse and help students reproduce in their own
writing the function-specific organisation and language items.
3.1.2 Skills: language and study skills
As opposed to a general, level-driven ESOL course, a good EAP syllabus needs to be primarily goaldriven, focused on target performance expected of the students once they are studying on their degree
courses (Alexander et al. 2008, p.3). In the case of international students, this target performance, in
terms of skills, will depend on both the language and study skills they acquire while at university.
The students on this course, due to their language levels as demonstrated by their IELTS scores, would
all benefit from a syllabus that promotes the development of the core language skills – reading, writing,
listening and speaking. For this reason these will feature in the proposed course as either specific tasks,
such as sentence and paragraph writing exercises, or inherently, such as listening to different accents in
the classroom while brainstorming a topic. Based on the EAP teacher’s knowledge and experience, he or
she can safely assume that the majority of university courses still require students to read extensively and
demonstrate their acquired knowledge in writing; so reading and writing skills will dominate the syllabus.
At the same time, the EAP course designer needs to be aware of the now widely accepted fact that
university students’ academic performance – whether native or foreign-language speakers – can be
enhanced considerably by the teaching and learning of academic (otherwise known as study) skills. The
most important reason for this is simple: thanks to study skills sessions, students familiarise themselves
with what is required and gain practice delivering it in their new academic environment (Cottrell 2001,
p.4). Taking this into consideration, the course will also assist students in developing their time
management and library research skills, among others, as the course outline in Appendix 1 shows.
3.1.3 Process
As we have seen, the course will familiarise students with two genres: the documented essay as the main
focus, and the oral presentation as a means of communicating the content of this essay.
In order to provide effective support in the development of academic writing skills, it is necessary to make
both the form of the examined genre and the writing process needed to produce it explicit for the students
(Burns and Sinfield 2004, p.136). While the general and function-specific essay forms will be taught as
separate units in the first part of the lessons, the process of documented essay writing will be discussed
in the second part. It will be built up gradually and practised, mostly in the form of self-study tasks, during
the first eight weeks of the course. The different stages of essay writing – planning, preparation, drafting,
writing up and revision – will be taught in a sequence that mirrors the actual writing process.
In the last two lessons of the course, the students will learn about the conventions of academic
presentation, and will be assisted in the process of transferring their written work into oral form by
analysing sample texts and videos of the corresponding presentations.
3.2 Methodology
Most EAP theorists observe that methodology applied in EAP classrooms (similarly to ESOL classrooms)
has been prone to fashions over the years. Hyland recommends that rather than working with “prepackaged methodological products”, the EAP teacher should “develop learners’ discourse understandings
in various ways, drawing on concepts such as consciousness raising, scaffolding [and] collaboration”
(2006, p.89).
Consciousness raising will be achieved by giving students the opportunity to analyse numerous examples
of the studied genres in class: an activity whose aim is to increase their awareness of the requirements
associated with these.
Scaffolding, a teaching strategy commonly used in problem-based learning, refers to the temporary and
gradually diminishing support provided by teachers to students, to help them reach the next level in their
knowledge. (Ngeow and Kong, 2001). This concept will be applied as the support given in the form of
‘gap fills’ and examples will gradually be removed, and the analysed texts will also become longer or
more complex as the course advances.
The term collaboration refers to an instructional method aimed at achieving a student-centred approach to
teaching; in a collaborative EAP classroom, teachers act as facilitators while students interact and work
together in small groups to achieve a common academic goal, or complete an academic task (Brown,
2008). To follow this recommendation, during the proposed course the students will work mainly in groups
in lessons, and in pairs while completing their self-study tasks. Since the teacher on the course has
already worked in the Far East, she is aware that this student-centred approach will have to be introduced
gradually, as students coming from a different cultural and educational background are often unprepared
for it and may find it uncomfortable at first (Harmer, 2001, p. 94). However, handing responsibility over to
the students in this way is authentic as it reflects the real-life academic expectations students will be
subject to when studying at a Western university.
3.3 Feedback and assessment
It is important that students, the EAP teacher, and other parties involved, such as subject teachers, get
feedback regarding the students’ performance and the effectiveness of the course, during, at the end, and
after the course. During the course, feedback on students’ written work will be an ongoing process
involving self-, peer, and teacher assessment to encourage reflective learning and student autonomy, as
suggested by Alexander et al. (2008, p. 207).
These elements will also appear when assessing the final oral presentations: students will be given a
short self-assessment form and give simple feedback on the other groups’ presentations. The EAP
teacher will give detailed individual feedback to each student. Subject teachers, as well as the Head of
English Language Programmes will be invited to attend the presentations and will be given the
opportunity to look at the relevant essay portfolios. (The essay portfolios, monitored and marked by the
teacher, will represent 70% of the course grade, while the presentations will make up 30%, to reflect the
focus of the course.)
At the end of the term following the course, the EAP teacher will contact both the students who
participated and their subject teachers to get feedback regarding the effectiveness of the programme, and
will compile a report based on these for the Head of English Language Programmes.
4. Rationale for the lesson plan and materials
Appendix 2.1 shows the lesson plan for Week 6 of the above course. This plan is the result of a number
of pre-planning decisions, described below, by the English language teacher regarding the activities,
skills, language, and content that needs to be included in the plan (Harmer 2001, pp.308-309).
In terms of activities, the teacher will need to strike a balance between teacher- and student-led activities.
There is a considerable amount of new material to be covered within a limited amount of time, but to
reduce teacher talk-time for input purposes, the teacher will rely on information and activities included in
the course book and on handouts. To encourage students to draw on their own and each other’s
experience, the majority of activities will be conducted in pairs and groups. Changing partners and seats
throughout the long and intensive lesson will give students refreshing breaks to help them stay focused,
whilst ensuring they are exposed to different accents and levels of English.
The skills focus of the lesson is mainly citation and referencing, underpinned by the academic writing subskills of paraphrase and summary writing. By this point in their postgraduate studies, the students will
have been exposed to a certain amount of academic reading in English, thanks to both the self-study
elements of this course, and the module requirements of their first term at the university. This means that
the teacher may assume the students are already aware of these concepts to some extent. However this
lesson, by making the criteria for a good paraphrase, summary, citation and reference list explicit, will
assist them in producing researched essays that comply with the requirements of the university and wider
academia. To provide motivation and ensure that the skills learnt during the lesson are used and
recycled, the students will work on their essay portfolios in their self-study time to practice these. To
complete the self-study tasks set, they will need to revisit and use their notes from their reading as well as
their source record information, ensuring that both the reading and writing purpose is clear and authentic,
as recommended by Alexander et al. (2008).
While some of the other lessons of the course include a significant number of language items specific to
each essay type, the language items taught and practised during this particular lesson will be limited
mostly to reporting verbs, as seen on Handout 2 (Appendix 2.4). This is to allow students to focus
primarily on acquiring the skills described above.
The content of the lesson will be based partly on the relevant chapters of the course book used, Dollahite
and Haun’s Sourcework (2012) (see Appendix 3), partly on the supporting OHP display and handouts that
the teacher has compiled to provide extra information on different kinds of plagiarism, and guidance on
when and how to use the above skills to avoid it (see Appendices 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4).
5. Conclusion
As established at the beginning of this essay, it is important for the EAP teacher to develop a course that
will answer the needs of both students and subject lecturers within the given constraints.
The course described above provides an excellent opportunity and an authentic purpose for students to
improve their reading speed and acquire presentation skills which they were keen to develop. At the
same time, its main focus is the skills and knowledge required to produce researched written project work,
which was the primary concern for subject teachers at the time of the initial needs analysis.
The ample feedback material will also make it possible for the EAP teacher and the Head of English
Language Programmes to measure the success of the course, and will provide the basis of any future
changes or improvements to the programme.
Alexander, O., Argent, S., Spencer, J., 2008. EAP Essentials: A Teacher’s Guide to Principles and
Practice. Reading: Garnet Publishing Ltd.
Bloor, M. and St John, M. J., 1988. Project writing: The marriage of process and product. In PC Robison
(Ed.) Academic Writing: Process and Product. ELT Documents 129.
Böhm, A., Follari, M., Hewett, A., Jones, S., Kemp, N., Meares. D., Pearce, D., Van Cauter, K., 2004.
Vision 2020 – Forecasting international student mobility – a UK perspective [online]. London: British
Council with Universities UK and IDP Education Australia. Available at: <www.britishcouncil.org/eumd__vision_2020.pdf> [05/01/12]
Brown, F. A., 2008. Collaborative Learning in the EAP Classroom: Students’ Perceptions, ESP World
Burns, T. and Sinfield, S. 2004. Teaching, Learning & Study Skills: A Guide for Tutors. London: Sage
Publications Inc.
Cottrell, S., 2001. Teaching Study Skills and Supporting Learning. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dollahite, N.E., Haun, J., 2012. Sourcework: Academic Writing from Sources. Boston: Heinle Cengage
Feez, S., 1998. Text-Based Syllabus Design. Sidney, NSW: AMES.
Gilett, A., undated. Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education.
http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm [11/02/2012]
Glasgow Caledonian University, undated. Improve Your Coursework: Academic Writing. Available at:
<http://www.gcu.ac.uk/student/coursework/writing/reporting.html> [11/02/2012]
Harmer, J., 2001. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Hyland, K., 2006. English for Academic Purposes: an advanced resource book. Abingdon, UK:
Jordan, R.R., 1997. English for Academic Purposes: A guide and resource book for teachers. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Ngeow, K., Kong, Y-S, 2001. Learning To Learn: Preparing Teachers and Students for Problem-Based
Learning. [online]. Bloomington, IN: Education Resources Information Centre (ERIC) Clearinghouse on
Reading English and Communication. Available at: <http://www.ericdigests.org/2002-2/problem.htm>
Richards, J. C., Platt J. and Platt H., 1992. Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied
Linguistics. London: Longman.
Ward, L., 2004. High hopes for foreign students. The Guardian, 24th April.
Index of Appendices
1. Course outline
2. Lesson plan and materials:
2.1 Lesson plan
2.2 OHPDisplay1
2.3 Handout1
2.4 Handout2
3. Copies of course book pages (Dollahite and Haun’s Sourcework, 2012):
3.1 Paraphrase: pp. 6-11
3.2 Summary: pp. 19-26
3.3 Citation: pp. 123-130
3.4 Reference list: pp. 131-137
Appendix 1: Course outline
Feedback | Function | Skill | Process
Introduction to the course. Time
management. Academic genres, essay
types. How to choose suitable topic.
Work with allocated study partner. Choose
relevant topic for joint project work. Study
sample action plan for course.
Cohesion and coherence at sentence,
paragraph and discourse level. How to
organise essay and write outline.
Find example of a researched essay in your Tutor feedback on topic choice | Academic writing skill: organisation, research skills |
subject. Draft outline for your project.
Planning stage: writing an outline.
The narrative essay: organisation and
language. How to improve reading speed,
find and keep track of relevant literature.
Find and list suitable and relevant sources
for your project.
Discussion and time management skills | Planning stage: choosing a topic, brainstorming.
Tutor feedback on draft outline | Narrative language | Library reference skills, academic
reading skills: skimming, scanning, speed reading | Preparation stage: compiling a
The comparative essay: organisation and Choose a preferred section of your essay,
language. How to read and take notes for an one each. Read and take notes of selected
sources relevant to the section.
Language of comparison | Academic reading skills: reading for detail, note-taking skills |
Preparation stage: reading on the topic.
The cause-effect essay: organisation and
language. How to proofread a text.
Write a draft of the chosen sections.
Proofread each other's work.
Peer feedback on draft section | Cause-effect language | Academic writing skills,
proofreading skills | Drafting and writing up stage.
Avoiding plagiarism: quotation,
paraphrase, summary. How to cite sources
and write a reference list.
Redraft the sections to include quotes,
paraphrases and a summary. Compile
reference list. Proofread each other's work.
Peer feedback on citation and reference list | Referencing skills | Revision stage.
The argumentative essay: organisation
and language. Project portfolio
Find examples of a biased and an unbiased Tutor feedback on project portfolio | Language of building an argument | Introduction to
text from your discipline.
critical thinking skills | Consultation stage.
Presentation skills 1: organisation, useful
language. Project portfolio consultations.
Improve your project as suggested during
consultations. Prepare presentation intro.
Tutor feedback on improved project portfolio | Presentation skills | Consultation stage.
Presentation skills 2: body language,
visuals. Presentation consultations.
Prepare joint presentations based on your
Tutor feedback on presentation intro | Presentation skills | Consultation and knowledge
transfer stage.
Final exam: presentations based on project
Fill out course feedback form.
Student feedback regarding the course | Presentation skills | Knowledge transfer stage.
EAP course outline, developed by Katalin Butt-Bethlendy
C:\Users\MarbleK\Documents\2_CPD\1-SHU-MA\1-PgCert\Module1-EAP Theory and
Appendix 2.3: Handout1
DELIBERATE plagiarism
ACCIDENTAL plagiarism
This is when you make the decision to steal someone else’s work.
This is when you accidentally, through carelessness or lack of skill, use
another person’s words without acknowledging it.
This could be because:
you do not have the time to do the work yourself
This could be because:
you do not know that you must not copy a person’s words
you do not have the energy to do the work yourself
you do not have the skill for expressing another person’s ideas
in your own words
you think your lecturer will not notice
you do not know the correct systems for indicating that you are
using another person's words or ideas
you think your lecturer will not care
when you take notes from a book or journal, you copy out some
sections and do not make this clear in your notes. Later when
you re-read the notes, you forget that they are not your words or
you are not able to do the work yourself
you forget to acknowledge another person’s words or ideas
you do not have time to include the acknowledgments and list of
you feel your written work is not good enough
you borrow your friend’s notes, not realising that some of the
words are plagiarised
Based on Andy Gilett’s Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education. http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm [11/02/2012]
Appendix 2.4: Handout2
There are two ways in which you can refer to, or cite, another person’s work:
This simply means reporting the other writer’s ideas into your own words. You can either paraphrase if you
want to keep the length the same or summarise if you want to make the text shorter.
Reporting using Paraphrase:
Paraphrasing is writing the ideas of another person in your own words. Paraphrasing is useful when you are
using the work of others to support your own view. When paraphrasing, you need to change the words and
the structure but keep the meaning the same. Please remember, though, that even when you paraphrase
someone’s work, you must acknowledge it.
Reporting using Summary:
A summary is a shortened version of a text. It contains the main points in the text and is written in your own
words. It is a mixture of reducing a long text to a short text and selecting relevant information. Summarising is
useful when you are using the work of others to support your own view. A good summary shows that you have
understood the text. Please remember, though, that even when you summarise someone’s work, you must
acknowledge it.
Occasionally you may want to quote another author’s words exactly. If you do so, keep the quotation as brief
as possible and quote only when it is necessary
Reasons for using quotations:
1. quote if you use another person's words: you must not use another person's words as your own;
2. you need to support your points, quoting is one way to do this;
3. quote if the language used in the quotation says what you want to say particularly well.
Reasons for not using quotations:
do not quote if the information is well-known in your subject area;
do not use a quotation that disagrees with your argument unless you can prove it is wrong;
do not quote if you cannot understand the meaning of the original source;
do not quote if you are not able to paraphrase the original;
do not use quotations to make your points for you; use them to support your points.
Extracts from Andy Gilett’s Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education.
http://www.uefap.com/writing/writfram.htm [11/02/2012]
Reporting verbs
When introducing references into the text (citing) you should choose suitable ‘reporting’ verbs as these can:
strengthen the arguments you are presenting
help the reader understand why the source is relevant.
Some verbs are neutral:
Smith (2004) describes...
Jones (1999, p.3) states...
Green (2002) defines...
Some verbs draw attention to the author’s viewpoint:
Harris (2001) argues...
O’Neill (1997) disputed...
Jackson (2003) conceded...
Some verbs give information about the author’s work:
Holmes (2000) investigated...
Church (1998) evaluated...
McColl (2002) estimated...
Some verbs highlight the author’s viewpoint:
Brown (2001) believes...
McAllister (1996) recognised...
Smith (2004) predicted...
Other useful reporting verbs (use present or past tense as appropriate)
points out/pointed out
Extract from “Improve your Coursework: Academic Writing” by Glasgow Caledonian University, at
http://www.gcu.ac.uk/student/coursework/writing/reporting.html [11/02/2012]