Teaching English for Academic Purposes by Ilka Kostka and Susan Olmstead-Wang

Teaching English for Academic Purposes by Ilka Kostka and Susan Olmstead-Wang (2014) TESOL International

Teaching English for Academic Purposes is part of TESOL’s English Language Development Series.

According to then series editor (page v), “The English Language Teacher Development (ELTD) Series consists of a set of short resource books for English language teachers that are written in a jargon-free and accessible manner for all types of teachers of English (native and nonnative speakers of English, experienced and novice teachers). The ELTD series is designed to offer teachers a theory-to-practice approach to English language teaching, and each book offers a wide variety of practical teaching approaches and methods for the topic at hand. Each book also offers opportunities for teachers to interact with the materials presented. The books can be used in pre-service settings or in in-service courses and can also be used by individu­als looking for ways to refresh their practice.”

Ilka Kostka and Susan Olmstead-Wang’s book Teaching English for Academic Purposes explores different approaches to teaching EAP and the various challenges this may present to a language teacher.

This little book (49 pages) has seven chapters: introduction, needs assessment, developing general academic skills and independent learners, reading and writing academic texts, listening and speaking, grammar, vocabulary and blended skills and closing thoughts.

The introduction discusses various views about EAP and what it includes, and then goes on to present the authors’ approach to teaching EAP.

Chapter 2 focusses on the importance of needs analysis in EAP and the different needs of the various stakeholders. The importance of assessing students’ skills and goals and the resources available follows.

Chapter 3 takes a broad look at academic skills and spends some time looking at those which the students need to succeed in their academic lives, and what the teacher can do about it.

The next chapter concentrates on reading and writing academic texts, and their interconnection. We then spend a chapter looking at listening and speaking, emphasising the use of authentic discourse to prepare students for real life listening and speaking activities.

Chapter 6 shows the importance of grammar and vocabulary in EAP, and blended skills, pointing out that, for example, note-taking combines reading, writing, listening and speaking, and they all use grammar and vocabulary.

The final chapter stresses the importance of professional development and suggests joining professional organisations, reading academic journals, as well as carrying out classroom research on their own teaching and sharing their findings.

The book finishes with a useful list of references and 2 appendices: sample rubrics and a sample lesson.

Overall, this is a good short introduction to EAP teaching for teachers with no previous experience. It might also be useful for subject teachers who want to help their learners with the language of their subject.


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