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Reference, Journals and Academic Papers
Current Developments in English for Academic, Specific and Occupational Purposes
Edited by Mark Krzanowski
Current Developments in English for Academic, Specific and Occupational Purposes
Current Developments in English for Academic, Specific and Occupational Purposes is a collection of papers which reflect the diversity and multiplicity of strands that international EAP and ESP practitioners of the 21st century are engaged in across all the continents. Most of the papers in the book are contributions of the members of the ESP SIG at IATEFL (although there are a couple of 'guest' submissions), and were presented at the IATEFL Conferences in Cardiff (2005) and Harrogate (2006). The IATEFL ESP SIG hopes that the book proves a useful compendium for teachers, lecturers, teacher trainers, trainees and students of TESOL, ELT or Applied Linguistics.
The ESP Special Interest Group (SIG) is one of the fourteen SIGs at IATEFL, and its main focus is on English for Specific Purposes, English for Academic Purposes and English for Occupational/Professional Purposes. The main objective of the SIG is to disseminate good practice in ESP (as well as in EAP and EO/PP) through its membership and to promote models of excellence in ESP to ELT professionals internationally through workshops, seminars and conferences and through publishing the output in our Journal and in leading international ELT journals and periodicals. More information about the ESP SIG can be found on http://espsig.iatefl.org/
For other ESP SIG titles published by Garnet Education, please visit the Journals and Academic Papers section.
Introduction: Foreword from the Editor
Chapter 1: Enabling interactive teaching and learning methods in EAP classes and assessing some students' views of effective learning by Clare Anderson
Chapter 2: United Nations Security Council Resolutions: Narrative patterns, language choice and pedagogical implications by Martin Solly
Chapter 3: Towards understanding the root causes of plagiarism among non-native speaker students by Nadezhda Yakovchuk
Chapter 4: Coaching in academic writing by Hulya Gorur Atabas
Chapter 5: Ten steps to better academic writing by Edward de Chazal
Chapter 6: English language teaching and policy-makers of Bangladesh by Mahmuda Nasrin
Chapter 7: Objectives, realities and outcomes: Communication skills in English in Kenyan universities by Francis Owino Rew
Chapter 8: 'Sexing up' ESP through 'global' simulations by Manuela Reguzzoni
Chapter 9: Socio-cultural attitudes towards EFL and EAP in Pakistan by Raja Nasim Akhtar
Chapter 10: Can Can-Dos do anything to improve tertiary level ESP curricula? by Richard J. Alexander
Chapter 11: Not a teacher but a Consciousness Raiser? by Lindsay Morley
Chapter 12: Dialoguing with students about their marked work by Marion Colledge
Chapter 13: Using vocabulary journals to facilitate academic vocabulary learning by Helen Huntley and Peter Davidson
Chapter 14: An analysis of undergraduate essay and examinations questions by Kibiwott Peter Kurgat
Chapter 15: Developing academic and technical writing skills for medical purposes by Lourdes ALbo Puentes
Chapter 16: No word is an island: Issues related to IT vocabulary expansion and acquisition by Andreja Kovacic
Chapter 17: Developing students' academic skills in a Russian context by Elena Velikaya
Chapter 18: Using stories with young learners by Prithvi Narayan Shrestha
Chapter 19: ESP - Creator of a new reality by Vesna Bulatovic
Chapter 20: Second language acquisition and pedagogy: A case study by Karen Kow Yip Cheng
Chapter 21: Teaching reading comprehension to large classes using African literature in English by Sunday I. Duruoha
Chapter 22: Linguistic analysis of freshman English compositions by Su-Jen (Jane) Lai
Authors: Notes about Contributors
"Current Developments in English for Academic, Specific and Occupational Purposes is a collection of essays for those who are already experienced in the field. Academic in focus and method, these essays will interest professionals seeking to keep abreast of the study and pedagogies in their area. Most of the essays include a practical consideration of, and strategies for, the EAP context. The broad range of subject material - from the results of studies into assignment assessment to the cultural howlers in language teaching videos - means that no one will find all these essays relevant to them; on the other hand, there is something here for almost everyone. A great test for a piece of writing is to ask the 'so what?' question at the end, and some of the more arcane essays are found wanting. However, as a text for a learning centre, where teachers can select one or two essays of interest, this is an up-to-date and well-edited contribution to professional development."- Jack Bowers, Australian National University for the Journal of Academic Language & Learning
"This book brings together a collection of 22 academic papers. It explores a wide range of current issues and many of the contributions are from the 2005 and 2006 IATEFL conferences. The area covered - EAP, ESP and EOP - is very wide. Of course, not all of the essays are relevant to every reader. Some articles are too geographically or linguistically specific to be of interest to the browser, so the book needs to be used selectively."- Pete Sharma for the EL Gazette, Issue 352, May 2009
Apart from boasting one of the longest, most acronym-heavy bibliographic references in the history of TEFL.net reviews, this collection of 22 articles is brimming with ideas and experiences of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) practitioners from across the globe.
As you may well be aware, the International Association for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) does its part in serving the international community of English teachers, lecturers and researchers worldwide by organising annual conferences and producing various publications. This particular offering is a product of the members of the ESP special interest group (SIG).
As an overview, each article tends to be practically-oriented and is clearly written by teachers ‘on the ground’, teaching ESP, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Occupational Purposes (EOP) in a wide variety of contexts. The articles have clearly been selected to represent the diversity of members of the SIG, their interests and their teaching contexts. To give some examples, this collection includes contrastive linguistic analyses of EAP writing in China, socio-cultural considerations of teaching English in Pakistan, and EAP reading comprehension using African literature in Nigeria. In this review, I will avoid commenting on the highs and lows of the individual articles but will try to give an overall summary of the quality, applicability and contribution of the text as a whole to our knowledge and practice of these branches of English language education.
The content of the articles deals directly with issues faced by practitioners on a daily basis. For example, the ‘10 steps to better academic writing’ article provides useful questions which teachers can use when designing in-class tasks and materials. The insights offered by a questionnaire study of students’ views on their reasons for plagiarizing is informative and valuable, summarizing a variety of factors which influence this negative, and sometimes prolific, learner behaviour. Articles which introduce classroom methodology such as coaching, dialoguing, using vocabulary journals and global simulations make stimulating reading which offer those much needed ‘breaths of fresh air’ – inspiration for trying out new techniques in the classroom to keep things interesting for both student and teacher alike. The variety of teaching contexts also adds an element of discovery to reading the articles and even more prominent is the realization that we all belong to a global community of teachers often with location being the primary difference. In terms of weighting across the three branches of English teaching indicated in the title, the majority of articles focus on EAP issues with a minority of ESP-related articles (e.g. English for medical purposes). I couldn’t locate any articles which are directly related to occupational purposes.
In terms of quality there is considerable variation across the contributions. Some articles are suitably rigorous in their academic pursuit of answers to research questions, offering results which can be applied to further research and can be trusted as being generalizable to a useful degree. On the other hand, numerous articles rely far too much on subjective interpretation of the value of particular teaching methods, with recommendations made without recourse to previous research or detailed examination. Similarly, sweeping generalizations made about learner groups are unhelpful and caused me to doubt the validity of certain studies and their applications. Having said this, the over-generalization and subjectivity displayed in the text should probably not be judged too harshly: as a text for practitioners, the ideas, materials and suggestions can be utilized as necessary and for this reason the articles still maintain their value. At the level of academic research, however, many articles do not really make the grade; that is, they would not be useful as citations of previous research.
So who should read this book? Teachers of EAP and also ESP will no doubt find something of relevance and use in this publication. As a source of ideas and inspiration for the classroom and for understanding better the worldwide community of practitioners this is a valuable addition to the literature.
English for Academic, Specific and Occupational Purposes is a collection of twenty-two papers presented at IATEFL conferences in 2005 and 2006 by current international EAP and ESP practitioners. It is divided into different areas, each covering a variety of topics. The chapters all follow a similar format but vary in length from six to thrity-six pages. There is a brief foreword by the editor explaining the reasoning behind his selections and the biography at the back of the book is an interesting read itself: the twenty-three authors come from seventeen different countries; they are university lecturers, assistant professors, teacher trainers and professional writers, and their experience is varied.
For the purposes of this review, I have chosen to focus on the English for Academic Purposes strand (EAP) as it is an area I am intimately involved in at my own school. The topics in this area range from the acquisition of academic vocabulary to plagiarism, from developing writing skills to keeping a vocabulary journal. All of the articles I read were based on research and each offered a new perspective.
I started with Edward de Chazal's article, 'Ten Steps to Better Academic Writing' (pp.65-81), moved on to Helen Huntley and Peter Davidson's 'Using Vocabulary Journals to Facilitate Academic Vocabulary Learning' (pp.171-184) and finished my first round of reading with Nadezdha Yakovchuk's 'Towards Understanding the Root Causes of Plagiarism among Non-native Speaker Students' (pp.39-54). I skimmed over a few others related to coaching students in their academic writing and dialoguing with them about feedback on written drafts. Then I forced myself to stop and reflect. There was a lot to digest!
Firstly, Edward de Chazal's chapter breaks writing into four components - rhetorical, linguistic, academic and pedagogical principles - which he says can be applied to most kinds of academic writing. Rhetorical refers to the 'why' and 'what' of writing, and includes elements of logic, and therefore, coherence and text content. The linguistic component focuses on discourse and elements of cohesion, including vocabulary, grammar and text-based skills. the academic principle refers to research and writing conventions such as referencing. De Chazal poses question at the end of each of his steps which are meant to draw the reader's attention to the salient points and to force the reader to stop and reflect on what had just been read. It made for very good reading, though I admit to skimming over some of the questions as I wanted to keep going!
Huntley and Davidson's chapter on vocabulary journals reviewed learners' vocabulary needs and then provided concrete tasks to help them organise lexis into digestable and accessible learning chunks. Sample journal pages and activities to accompany them were included as were examples of e-vocabulary journals, MS Excel journals and ideas for assessment. While I was familiar with most of these ideas (e.g. including phonological features of new words as well as examples and sentences and definitions, etc.). it was nice to see them all in one concise chapter for easy reference.
The third chapter I was drawn to was the unit on plagiarism. In her chapter, Yakovchuk explores one hundred and forty students' reasons for plagiarising when they write university papers. Her study categorised reasons into eleven groups ranging from: problems with content and language, lack of awareness, resources or confidence and simply being bored or lazy. Since students come from a wide variety of learning contexts, some of which focus on copying good writers as a way of learning technique, it can be a real cahallenge for EAP teachers to explain the merits of originality and the pitfalls of plagiarism. Yakovchuk has done a solid job both of explaining her study and summarising her results. While many of her results confirmed my own experiences (lack of awareness, language and content problems, time management problems), I found some of her results to be quite surprising. Her second highest category (forty-five respondents) was laziness. She stipulated that these students said they were not serious about their studies, were looking for the easiest way and felt that copying saved effort. I was intrigued, I suppose, not that this was provided as a reason for plagiarising, but that the students admitted it!
On my second sit-down with the text, I read Elena Velikaya's chapter on Russian students studying in academic environments and their struggles to learn the conventions of writing and reading in English. She puts much of this down to the conventions taught in the Russian school system and stipulates that Russian learners also need to learn how to use academic vocabulary and learn the conventions of writing more formally prior to entering university. I also skimmed a variety of chapters which focused on interactive, communicative teaching strategies in EAP classes, raising student consciousness and analysing student essays ... but to describe all of these in detail would demand far more space than I have in this review.
Suffice it to say, this collection of papers is a very good read and one which has taken me many evenings to get through, and I have only finished the EAP chapters! There is something for everyone and enough variety in the style of the writings and the length of the articles so that you can choose how long you spend at one sitting. I plan on tackling the English for Specific Purposes chapters next. Who knows what else I will discover?
"...for ESPers who are interested in how ESP is perceived and taught around the world, this is an important text because it is provides authentic activities supported by research.
If you want to get a sense of how ESP is conceptualized around the world, check out the book! It could also help you better understand the contexts and academic professionalism of IATEFLers and to brainstorm activities for your own students."- Kevin Knight, for the TESOL blog, May 2013
"Despite the specificness of the acronyms ESP/EAP/EOP, this title hosts selections of academic studies from a wide range of areas. Meeting under the roof of IATEFL ESP SIG, the professionals provide readers with a panorama of the latest ESP research and practice.
Reflecting the practical nature of the group's aims, a proportion of the articles are concerned with classroom practices. The activities used are exemplified following the results section and could be inspiring for practitioners. For instructors disturbed by the notion 'EAP=seriousness, text-based traditional instruction', the use of Anderson's (Chapter 1) interactive tasks and Reguzzoni's (Chapter 8) simulation activities may help raise students' motivation.
In terms of academic writing, which is a significant consideration of EAP, Atabas (Chapter 4) and Colledge (Chapter 12) discuss peer review techniques; yet under different names, coaching and dialoguing. While both studies aim for learner autonomy, the latter has additional targets such as making the assessment criteria clear to Open University students. From a more theoretical perspective, Chazal (Chapter 5) forms a 10-step academic writing framework accompanied by guideline for writers. Another framework of EAP writing is specially designed for English for medical purposes by Puentes (Chapter 15). Yakovchuk (Chapter 3) address another key issue: non-native speaker plagiarism, the leading causes of which are content problems and laziness.
As for academic vocabulary learning, Huntley and Davidson (Chapter 13), introduce ways to organise vocabulary journals and programmes. For teachers, there are also ideas to integrate these journals into classroom activities. On the ESP side, Kovacic (Chapter 16) advocates studying lexical relationships for effective vocabulary learning in IT.
Additionally, genre analyses of 'UN Security Council Resolutions' (Chapter 2) seem to be authentic and motivating for legal English classes. Kurgat's (Chapter 14) investigation of undergraduate essay questions, indicates a need for special training in reading exam prompts. Another strand of the studies monitors ELT policies and problems in countries such as Bangladesh, Kenya, Russia, Malaysia and Pakistan.
Although a distinct categorisation of the research areas is lacking, the book successfully brings together different fields. While the research perspective dominates, both practitioners and researchers may get a good deal out of this title."
Contains black and white tables and illustrations