Going Mainstream: Early Experiences of Embedding (introducing) EAP at Faculty Level
Paul Williamson, senior lecturer in the Lincoln School of Film & Media, delivered his paper ‘Going Mainstream: Early Experiences of Embedding (introducing) EAP at Faculty Level’ at the British Association for Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes (BALEAP) ‘Evaluating the Effectiveness of EAP’ conference at University of Edinburgh in March 2017. The paper investigated the introduction of Paul’s new role within the school, the reasoning behind it, the first 6 months, and considered the effectiveness of integrating an English for Academic Purposes specialist within an academic school.
Traditionally, language support, rather than being embedded in a particular faculty, has been available as a generic form of support across the University as a whole. More often than not, it is aimed (both implicitly and explicitly) almost exclusively at international students. By positioning Paul within a specific school, the University has recognised and shown its commitment to a more enlightened and innovative way of offering academic support within the institution.
The paper discussed the ways in which the support offered, rather than being purely focused on international students, had been taken up (with the support of colleagues across the school) by home students too. It analysed the support from a pedagogic point of view and argued for similar programs to be rolled out at other universities. Students were central to the project as it was primarily through working with them that the effectiveness of Paul’s role could be measured.
The project could be considered a success on various levels. The project introduced Paul and his work to colleagues in the School of Film & Media and by working closely with individual students on various aspects of their academic work (for example, essay writing, reading and disseminating subject-specific texts), tracking assessments and receiving feedback from students, Paul was also able to measure how effective his work had been. Moreover, not only did Paul feel better informed to facilitate students with the appropriate type of academic support (that is, support that is not only generic but also specific to the student’s individual needs) but, moving forward he now feels that he can further embed EAP within the School by introducing more initiatives and that his colleagues have a better understanding of his role, it’s associated challenges and potential benefits.
The project enabled Paul to present some early findings and he has now begun to implement some of the strategies through his work with students. More specifically, the next paper that Paul will produce will explore the challenges of academic writing and the similarities and differences in the support required for home and international students.