IATEFL ESP SIG PCE 2015 – Overview

I’ve just returned from the IATEFL English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Special Interest Group (SIG) Pre-Conference Event (PCE) in Manchester, UK.

This was a joint pre-conference event between the IATEFL English for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group (ESPSIG) & BALEAP, the global forum for EAP professionals.

The theme of the PCE was employability and transferability in EAP and ESP.

As usual it was a very interesting day with teachers from many parts of the world discussing how they go about trying to meet the academic and professional linguistic needs of their students, sometimes with limited resources.

The day was opened by the SIG coordinators, Prithvi Shrestha from the Open University, UK, & Aysen Guven from British Council, Ankara, Turkey with me, standing in for Diane Schmitt from Nottingham Trent University, the current chair of BALEAP.

Investigating the university-workplace interface: implications for ESP instruction
Jemma Prior, Free University of Bolzano, Italy
The Free University of Bozen/Bolzano is a multilingual university situated in South Tyrol, Italy, where students study subjects taught in German, Italian and English. This talk investigated the English language needs of a set of companies in South Tyrol and whether  graduates of the Free University are equipped linguistically for the local workplace after studying in English for three years. The general conclusion was that they were not.

ESP: Access and workers’ rights
Barbara Tully, Northumbria University, UK
This talk discussed the role of the ESP community in engaging with universities, trade  unions and worker education organisations to develop transformational English language programmes that are set within the context of industrial relations and workers rights. It presented a programme that was delivered in Sierra Leone to address the socio-political needs of the workforce.

Investigating the world of business office employees: A case study on Vocational ESP
Marianthi Batsila, Ministry of Education, Greece
The English language is considered a major qualification for employment purposes globally nowadays. However, with the growing demands of the business world it is important for candidate employees and specifically Vocational school graduates to have competency in English language skills required by the contemporary labour market, so as to prepare accordingly. Based on this need, Marianthi presented the results of her examination of the English language skills needed for business office employees in the current Greek employment market.She then compared these to the language skills covered in business English textbooks.

International Students and Enhancing Employability: Bridging the Gap with EAP
Louise Greener, Clare Carr & Diana Scott, Durham University English Language Centre (DUELC), UK
The speakers described how DUELC and the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre at Durham have collaborated to produce a number of workshops designed to enhance the ability of international students to navigate the recruitment process in the graduate job market. These sessions drew on the speakers’ EAP expertise to help students to better access and understand the cultural assumptions and specific language they must master to succeed.

HE: Preparation for Work?
Andy Gillett, UK
In this talk,I presented research looking at assignment types at UK universities and the extent to which they have a work-related focus. I looked at quantitative data on assignments types from several UK universities. I also discussed qualitative data from discussion with lecturers and students on these courses and the value they see in them. I concluded that there was confusion in this regard, often resulting from the difficulty of distinguishing between professional genres and academic genres.

Challenges of developing speaking skills in Business English courses at the tertiary level
Agnieszka Dzięcioł-Pędich, University of Białystok, Poland
The presentation reported on challenges Polish teachers face while developing speaking skills during tertiary Business English courses and preparing graduates for entering the labour market. The presentation also offered some solutions which help bridge a gap between classroom activities and the professional practices of the corporate world.

Digitising the EAP classroom to develop employability skills
Zoe Gazeley Eke, Coventry University, UK
The requirement to prepare learners for today’s employment needs has resulted in the decision to introduce more computer-aided language learning (CALL) or networked-based language teaching (NBLT) into the EAP classroom. It is hoped that alongside the crucial EAP focus the learners will benefit from developing their digital literacy skills which will transfer into necessary employability skills.



For more information, see: http://espsig.iatefl.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/IateflEspSig

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