Access EAP: Foundations
Written by the authors of the highly successful EAP Essentials, the first part of this two-level course teaches academic language and competence to pre-intermediate and intermediate learners.
Access EAP: Foundations is based on real student life and prepares students for the tasks that they will face while doing an English-medium higher education degree. Each unit follows the progress of three students in their first year at university as they have discussions, listen to lectures, read texts, work on assignments and make choices about how to study. Students will develop the language they need to meet the expectations of their lecturers, for example, comparing ideas, explaining cause–effect relationships and interpreting data in tables and graphs, as well as writing assignments and e-mails and joining in discussions.
The book has ten units, each divided into five lessons. The first lesson usually introduces an aspect of university life. The listening, reading, speaking and writing tasks are linked together around each theme, and there are also regular tasks to develop the ability to think critically and to study effectively.
Key words that are useful for academic study are listed by the texts in which they are presented, and there are regular tasks to help understanding, support learning and practise using these key words. Students will learn the important language and grammar patterns that are needed for understanding and producing academic texts. They will also discover essential aspects of academic style, such as moving from general to specific information and from what is familiar to what is new.
- Functional syllabus linked to a series of academic themes
- Integrated tasks and language practice
- Focuses on key language and skills in a specific academic context
- Improves students’ ability to tackle and succeed in IELTS and other gateway examinations
- ‘Simulated authentic’ texts targeted to present specific functions and vocabulary
- Written by EAP trainers from Heriot-Watt University
31 Dec 2010
Number of pages: 201
Unit 1: Preparing for university studies
Unit 2: Freshers' week
Unit 3: First steps and new routines
Unit 4: Finding information
Unit 5: New ideas and new concepts
Unit 6: Borrowing and using ideas
Unit 7: Something to say
Unit 8: Linking ideas
Unit 9: Supporting ideas
Unit 10: Exams
End of course review
Sue Argent co-authored Garnet Education’s EAP Essentials and Access EAP. She has taught EAP for a number of years in universities in Papua New Guinea and in China, as well as in the UK. She has also taught in adult and further education delivering ESOL and EAP training and supporting teachers.
She has written corpus-based EAP courses for distance learning with Olwyn Alexander and Jenifer Spencer, including specialist courses for business studies and science and technology. Her interests are critical thinking and student autonomy.
Olwyn Alexander co-authored Garnet Education’s EAP Essentials and Access EAP. She teaches English for Academic Purposes to engineering, management and translation studies students at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. She has collaborated with colleagues Sue Argent and Jenifer Spencer in writing two distance learning courses: Academic English for Business and Academic English for Science and Technology.
Her current research interests include the use of learning teams for managing large classes and how to establish links between research and teaching in the EAP classroom.
Realistic scenarios for international students on a UK campus help this book stand out in the EAP crowd
Let's get one thing straight: with their pie charts and graphs, most English for Academic Purposes (EAP) titles are dry as dust. Garnet's new Access EAP is different. How? By thrusting the reader into the lives of three international language students, Chen, Guy and Maysoun, each starting their first semester in the UK at the fictitious Gateway University in Summerford.
Nothing else is made up, though: the book deals with reallife issues, charting the progress of our characters, their expectations and beliefs; in fact, all the baggage a newly arrived student brings to campus life. 'What issues?' I hear you ask. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Access EAP has ten core units, each consisting of five lessons, the first of which introduces an aspect of early-term university life which the remainder of the unit works around. Topics include developing conversations on a first meeting, finding one's way around campus and study preferences. Chen, Guy and Maysoun are heard discussing aspects of their studies and how they feel about them, although, considering how central they are to the book, I would have liked to see more illustrations of them in action.
Aimed at intermediate-level students (Common European Framework level B1 and IELTS 4.0-5.0) Access EAP aims to develop the language students need ro cope with the demands of lecturers and courses. It focuses on comparing ideas, following cause-effect arguments, interpreting data and putting together emails in a variety of writing genres - which is exactly what a rock-solid EAP title should do.
Focusing on one unit reveals how the books works. Unit seven - 'Something to Say' - opens with a scenario in which Chen has to give a presentation to his class. Adopting a task-based approach we first read then hear of the work of a student committee that Guy and Chen plan to join. After reading a flier and hearing the start of a meeting, the 'Thinking Critically' sections ask students to reflect on how such a committee will help Chen, and of course, indirectly, themselves.
The second lesson focuses on contributing to a meeting; the 'Study Smart' section then explains the role of the chair. By lesson three, Chen feels confident enough to present in front of his friends, and in lesson five he is invited to speak to students in the foundation year. Clearly, we would wish such speedy progress for all users of this title.
Hardened EAP experts can judge for themselves, but I got the impressn there was a bias away from the view of EAP as writing-based, towards one where listening and speaking should be foremost in our minds.
Wayne Trotman teaches on and coordinates the EAP Writing course at Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey.
- Wayne Trotman for the EL Gazette, October 2010
This is a long-awaited EAP course book for low-level learners – CEF B1 or IELTS 4.0–5.0. Whereas some other contributions focus on one or two skills per book, this publication covers all four, as well as providing a study skills syllabus. The course is aimed at pre-sessional and in-sessional learners and is designed not only to give students ‘an accessible core of academic language and study competence’ but to provide an introduction to university life and show what will be expected of them. One special feature is the narrative element following the lives of three students. This book is about university, and students are addressed in a refreshingly direct way as the authors proceed to guide their students through Gateway University’s Freshers’ week, first steps and new routines, and on to borrowing and using ideas, to give a flavour of the topic areas. The final focus, as a student would expect, is on exams.
The emphasis on specific language and skills for academic contexts has been taken to a new level with what some would term a radical rethink of learner priorities and the delivery of input. This can be seen in the map of the book, where the categories are: Functions, Texts, Academic language, Writing and Speaking, Academic Competence and Thinking Critically. Where is the reading? The listening? On closer inspection it is clear that ‘text’ has been broadened to include listening, and that these texts are wholly authentic, including e-mails between tutors and tutees, website extracts, and student personal statements, as well as talks including laboratory health and safety and a committee meeting. Grading of difficulty has been achieved by task type and the gradual increase in length of the input. The receptive skills have thus been grouped together, which should encourage learners to see how similar skills can be applied to both reading and listening. The productive skills too have been combined for the same reasons.
The course is organised into ten units divided into five lessons. Each unit can provide up to ten hours of teaching and learning. Although the lessons in each unit are intended to cover the previously mentioned language and skills areas in a similar order, in practice the degree of skills integration makes this impossible, so that advance planning of a course where the teaching is shared and skills areas are assigned to specific tutors may present a challenge. This is a minor disadvantage, outweighed by the evidently well thought out progression of skills, language and revision work.
No tests are provided per se, but there is a practice exam and some tasks within the units could be adapted for progress testing.
The writers’ beliefs about EAP teaching are evident in the suggested approach to vocabulary learning where they advise against pre-teaching key words, preferring an inductive approach to encourage student independence, thus coming closer to their real study situations. Above all, the need for student interaction with the material is made explicit, and its relevance to students’ needs has been thoroughly checked, and also informed by the Academic Word List (Coxhead 2006), amongst sources cited.
The Teacher’s Book is both comprehensive and informative, and is especially recommended for those teachers making the transition from general EFL teaching to ESP.
- Clare Anderson for the Professional and Academic English Journal, Issue 37, February 2011