Last month, I reviewed “How to Write Grammar Presentations and Practice” which can be read here. This was the first time that I had been introduced to the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series and I was pleasantly surprised by the invaluable advice provided in the first reviewed publication. In this post, I am pleased to share with you my second review of “How to Write EAP Materials” by the publishers ELT Teacher 2 Writer.
About The Author
If you have read the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series before, as with my previous review, there is a common theme that you may be aware of. The first few sections of the book (prior to the first chapter) includes a part where the author introduces themselves as well as an introduction of the book in its entirety.
What I found fascinating learning about the author, Julie Moore, is the route she followed towards teaching English for Academic Purposes (henceforth EAP). I suppose most EAP practitioners have their own story to tell but learning about Julie’s route is captivating. You learn very much about the author’s interests as well as her work in the English teaching profession, and this very much sets up the reader towards the introduction.
Chapter 1: Introduction
The introduction section of the book provides the reader the foundation required to learn more about EAP. As with the previous publication reviewed, there are a variety of tasks included which provide the reader the opportunity to better understand the contexts of EAP and also the varying requirements of students, whose English is their second language, which seek to improve their overall academic English.
There are many important issues raised within the introduction of this book, which offers the reader an insight towards the expected arguments: Language vs Study Skills, Low-Level EAP, or English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) vs English for Specialist Academic Purposes (ESAP). Included within the introductory chapter are a variety of tasks (which can be compared and reflected on in conjunction with the suggested thoughts and ideas at the end of the book “Commentaries On Tasks”).
Chapter 2: Reading
The second Chapter, Reading, introduces the reader to the concept of reading, especially in higher education, and highlights the fact that learners will need to read extensively, especially within any EAP course. The sources of reading, as explained in the chapter, include academic texts, articles, newspapers or other specialist magazines. The obvious leap between general texts and more academic ones are highlighted within the first few paragraphs.
The author introduces possible ways of using authentic materials and texts for learners with a number of suggestions that they might be supplemented with additional material: infographics, glossaries, etc. One part that I found encouraging for the budding materials writer was the fact that copyright and conventions were covered to some degree within this section of the book. Also within this book were activities that could be implemented with reading, possible lead-ins for texts, as well as develop quick reading skills.
The chapter concludes with a checklist (much like the previous book in this series that I reviewed) with a series of questions for aims, the text as well as activities. There are additional reading suggested in the bibliography should you consider wanting to further your knowledge of reading in EAP.
Chapter 3: Writing
Chapter three introduces the topic of writing within EAP, and suggests that it is probably the most important areas for students to develop within any course. The author highlights the various genres of writing that potential learners will have to be knowledgeable about: essays, reflective diaries, etc. The introduction about writing is supplemented with tasks which allow the reader to undertake, and reflect. Each task is associated with the topic of writing, which supplements the chapter well.
The other section of this chapter looks at approaches to teaching writing skills: content, style and structure as well as drafting and redrafting written work. The focus of drafting and finalising a piece of writing is a valuable skill that students tend to undervalue, and it is refreshing to note that this has skill has been included within this publication.
As with the previous chapter, as well as previous series that I reviewed, the author includes a checklist for authoring written material. The checklist includes focus on aims, input and activities with a brief bibliography for readers to consider further reading.
Chapter 4: Language Work
The next Chapter looks at developing materials associated with language work, with the reader being introduced to the context with much more emphasis on developing learner skills (reading, writing, etc.) compared to their overall language during an EAP course. The author also suggests that many language areas involve both elements of grammar and vocabulary, with less clarity between them.
One aspect of language work within an EAP course would be on developing academic vocabulary, and the author includes greater analysis such as general academic language, semi-technical academic language, and technical language. Also included is the use of Academic Word-Lists which are freely available from various sources and can be used to some extent in develop learner awareness of academic vocabulary.
Some thought is considered with grammar but much language work developed within a classroom environment combines elements of writing and reading to some degree, so I feel that there are parts within this chapter which could be developed further. Nevertheless, the inclusion of vocabulary and grammar does raise some invaluable points for the reader. The final part of the chapter includes a checklist and the much needed bibliography. If readers are interested in developing material associated with language work, then I would highly recommend further reading, especially “Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students”.
Chapter 5: Listening And Speaking
Chapter five focuses on the skills of listening and speaking within an EAP context. It is interesting to note that both the skills of listening and speaking have been combined into one chapter. The reader is introduced to possible listening that could be sourced for authoring material, as well as important points to consider: copyright and creative common issues, public recordings, etc. This naturally develops towards the skills required within an EAP context: listening for an extended period of time, understanding lectures, signposting language, etc.
The next half of the chapter focuses on the skill of speaking in a higher educational environment: seminars and presentations. One area that could be developed in a future publication could be the use of poster presentations. These are becoming a more popular to assess EAP students on listening to questions and responding appropriately. Within my own context, we use poster presentation during EAP courses as a tool for students to interact as naturally as possible with a familiar topic to the student. The chapter finishes with the usual checklist and bibliography for readers to contemplate on.
Chapter 6: Writing Better EAP Materials
The final chapter within this book aids the reader or potential writer on authoring more suitable EAP materials. It is a brief chapter intended to highlight the importance of self-reflection: “Is the material authentic / relevant? What skills will students take away from the material? Does the material build on previous input?” (p.108). There are further areas that give greater clarity for the reader to consider (language skills, academic style, etc.) with complementary questions.
This chapter also highlights the importance of the reviewing process with EAP material, responding to feedback where necessary, as well as peer-reviewing being required especially for in-house produced material. The author concludes the final chapter about EAP material writing with some general thoughts about the time required to produce tasks for learners or other teachers.
Commentaries On Tasks & Glossary
This appendix to the book offers readers the chance to reflect on their personal thoughts associated with ten tasks included within the six chapters. Readers can compare their own answers or thoughts on tasks with the suggested commentaries. All commentaries are in task order and can referred to while reading.
You may also notice at the bottom of various pages within the book, footers which detail more specific vocabulary. All these selected terms and language are integrated within the Glossary and is also in alphabetical order. If a reader is unable to find the specific term within the book, they may find it within this section. It would be useful if the publishers were able to indicate the page where the term originates within the book – a form of cross-referencing – so readers are able to go to the relevant page from the Glossary. Nevertheless, it is invaluable to have all terms located as an appendix within the publication.
Final Thoughts About The Book
With an increasing number of students studying at English speaking Universities around the world, this book offers teachers and potential material writers invaluable suggestions for creating EAP material. The book is logically structured for readers breaking down the different skills and systems of English for Academic Purposes. This publication provides readers reflections on the ten tasks included throughout, with a checklist at each chapter suggesting best practice allowing teachers and material writers to self-assess what they have written.
Furthermore, this book helps provide EAP tutors write better materials for their classroom, institution or for more formal publications. It also supplements the other titles in the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series. Perhaps one area that could be reviewed is the use of Poster Presentations, which is somewhat lacking in Chapter 5 (Listening and Speaking), but is becoming a more popular tool in EAP to assess speaking and discussion. However, you shall not be disappointed with this publication and will find plenty to incorporate when authoring EAP material.