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Mind the gap: EAP tutors reflect on teaching academic literacy skills to home students

Durham BALEAP PIM June 2012
by

Joy Robbins

on 9 June 2013

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Transcript of Mind the gap: EAP tutors reflect on teaching academic literacy skills to home students

Liz Austin Joy Baugh Lynley Barker “Mind the gap” EAP tutors reflect on teaching academic literacy skills to home students Teaching
Academic Literacy
to
Home Students
Writing Assignment 1
(week 3)
Reading to write: summary of an academic article

Writing Assignment 2
(week 5)
Re-drafting and editing: of Assignment 1 in line with tutor feedback Module Assignment week 1-10
Writing Assignment 3
(week 7)
Synthesising ideas: from several sources

Writing Assignment 4
(week 10)
Re-drafting and editing task : of Assignment 3 in line with tutor feedback
Learning Weblog
Weekly, reflective journal
10 entries x approx. 150 words each


On-line class test (review of language and style syllabus strand). Relationship Between TAL and TEAP Competencies
“The module provides academic literacy training at first year undergraduate level, with a particular focus on the connection between reading and writing for academic assignments. Tasks and source materials are tailored to suit the requirements of the students in the Social Sciences and Humanities” . Introduction “All materials relating to the class content and module assignments are made available through a dedicated Moodle. Great emphasis is placed in this module on the importance of adopting effective strategies for long-term study skills development; students will therefore be encouraged to make use of the departmental Learning Resource Centre (LRC) which houses a variety of useful material for self-study purposes. Academic Literacy advisors in the LRC will be briefed on the needs and aims of the module. Students judged to require additional support will be encouraged to book sessions with LRC drop-in advisors”.

http://www.essex.ac.uk/skillscentre/academic_literacy/one_to_one_advisor.aspx Learning Support

“I’d be stepping outside my comfort zone…”

“I’d worry about being found out..”

“They already know English so I can’t focus on language the way I do with international students”

“With international students, I start with the basics but I don’t know what home students have done before.” Eap tutor comments (those who don’t teach home students classes ) ACADEMIC PRACTICE
1. A reasonable knowledge of academic contexts
2. Have a high level of systemic language knowledge?

EAP STUDENTS
3. Understand the needs of students in relation to their prior learning experiences.

CURRICULUM DVELOPMENT
4. Understand the main types of language syllabus?

PROGRAMME IMPLEMENTATION
5. Familiarity with CLT BALEAP Framework- 5 areas of least fit for TAL
On successful completion of the module a student will be able to:

recognise an improvement in their ability to comprehend and to produce academic discourse
better understand the reading-to-write process and relationship
write with greater clarity, language accuracy and stylistic appropriacy within their departmental discipline(s)
be better able to produce reasoned argument and to write persuasively,
understand the importance of supporting an argument through use of exemplification
understand and be able to comply with expected academic standards in relation to acknowledgment of sources
self-edit written work more effectively
identify problem areas within their own writing and be able to use self-study resources to address these issues Learning outcomes EAP tutor comments on teaching home students

“I am very much in rhythm with teaching international students…”

“I build a fair degree of redundancy to keep everyone on board… and I take care to be very explicit… to spell things out …to make sure that my ideas are explained very clearly… and the students are very forgiving of that.. I would have to re-programme myself!”

“I think it would take a considerable shift – I would not like to make any assumptions on what is transferable…”


“I would worry about attitude problems..”

“International students are very motivated – they’ve financially invested in their studies… will home students really want to study [on skills classes]” ? http://www.baleap.org.uk/media/uploads/pdfs/teap-competency-framework.pdf BALEAP Framework: EAP ….
Writing Skills….
Composition Skills…
Written Communication….
Study Skills…
Academic Skills...
Academic Literacy…
AWLSS & ALS…

….[UG]Assignment and Research Writing Skills for . . . http://www.essex.ac.uk/skillscentre/ Academic literacy modules with language training Research skills: the library and the internet
Critical reading skills: identifying theme and argument; identifying facts, theories and assertions
Analysing assignment titles: identifying key words, and answering the question set
Writing from sources: using summary, paraphrase and quotation to support thesis and argument; acknowledgement of sources through in-text citation and bibliographic references
Note-taking skills: strategies and common problems
Transforming information: making connections and synthesising information
Structuring an academic essay: approaches and common problems; consultation, revision and redrafting processes, the recursive nature of academic writing
Effective argumentation: writing concisely, coherently, cohesively, persuasively
Mechanics of good writing: word, sentence and discourse level
Drafting, editing and proofreading skills Syllabus TERMINOLOGY ACADEMIC LITERACY MODULES THE UNIVERSITY SKILLS CENTRE Academic Literacy modules (no language training) Academic literacy module strands (PGs) Generic Module Outline Our Context EAP Tutor Comments TEAP vs TAL 1 2 3 4a 4b TAL TEAP TAL TEAP TEAP TAL TAL TEAP TAL TEAP Feeling under-prepared….. Not attracted to teaching NS..



“I like a challenge – and they are challenging…. The first few lessons can be a bit of a nightmare as you bring them round to believing they have got something to learn…”

“They need the same as the NNS students – but you have to teach them in a different way – keep the lesson fast and snappy”.

“Their writing is bad – but in a completely different way..”

“You need to have a lot of confidence & experience.. You’ve got to teach the students not the materials.” 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 17 Eap tutor comments


“In career terms it’s less like climbing a ladder.. more like a spider climbing-frame!”

“Straight away I thought – great! I’d really like to do this. I got no help writing essays when I went to University .. and I needed it”.

“I’ve always felt – I’ve got enough accumulated knowledge – I can adapt to teaching in new situations.. I can always find similarities.. I did take note when one student said ‘you don’t half get us moving around a lot’”..

“I like the enforced development side" 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 18 Eap tutor comments


“They need a lot of help – I was amazed at how little preparation they had for writing undergrad essays … they are really grateful”.

Of course they don’t need help to expand their range of expression – but you need to be able to help them unravel their sentences and be precise in what they say..– and they don’t know meta-language as the NNS students do”

“I told them how they should craft the assignment. They nodded and took notes, but when the assignment was turned in, I realized they hadn’t understood.”

“For some of them I did get worried... did they really need to be there? Was it challenging enough?” 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 19 Eap tutor comments More on expertise and lack of it...
I slipped into EAP after teaching ESP – I really like the fact students are focused and motivated – I like teaching writing too – you need to be a good writer, and I think I am’.

I enjoy teaching in-sessional though I know some people don’t ... I am doing something right because attendance stayed up – a whole bunch got attendance certificates..

I love teaching advisor sessions – you can rally help a lot in 30 mins but I do say ‘don’t send me the native-speakers’..

It would be such a total change ... I’d expect NSs to know all the basics.. So it would be a con like saying – OK go on then, I’ll teach French... 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 22 Eap tutor comments (those who don’t teach home students classes ) 2 Not attracted to teaching NS..

“I am very much in rhythm with teaching international students…”

“I find teaching in-sessional (Academic Writing] classes with split level quite uncomfortable – I think the [linguistically] weaker students suffer..”

“I build a fair degree of redundancy to keep everyone on board… and I take care to be very explicit… to spell things out …to make sure that my ideas are explained very clearly… and the students are very forgiving of that.. I would have to re-programme myself!”

I think it would take a considerable shift – I would not like to make any assumptions on what is transferable… 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 23 Eap tutor comments (those who don’t teach home students classes ) Royal Literary Fund Fellow

“Occasionally – with the foreign students – I can’t figure out what they want to say, their English is so bad. So I’ll say, go and get help with your ... You have to get your language fixed first. I’m not a language teacher – I can’t explain your mistakes”. 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 24 Comment from a writing tutor Bridging Year tutors with NS groups 1st year module tutors - why they took the challenge 1st year module tutors on student needs

“ They come in with so much energy and so much to say… they are certainly not timid.. not afraid of expressing their ideas…”

.. and I like the way they think.. the way they offer up ideas and opinions.. You can be much less guiding and structuring..”

“Teaching the [Spring] Term 2 lot is very different from teaching Autumn Term 1: they’ve already changed so much by then”

“You’d think they would gel more easily – but that’s not so..”

“They way they interacted could be tricky to handle – they rubbed each other up the wrong way.. But then they did say in their feedback “this is the group I got to know best because we really talked” 09/06/2012 IA Department, Essex university 20 Eap tutor comments 1st year module tutors - class dynamics
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