EAP: Overqualification and Professional Boredom

My first experience with EAP was when I wanted to study at an English-speaking university. This was an American institution of higher education in which students who were not native speakers of English had to attend EAP courses that aimed at developing language skills. Once we reached a proficient level of English (what we now call C2), we were officially accepted to the University. Then, as part of the general education requirements, we had to attend three composition classes: an Introduction to Academic Writing course, a Research and Academic Writing course, and a Literature and Academic Writing course.

Six months ago, I received my first offer from a UK university for an EAP teaching position (in the UK, these courses are called ‘pre-sessionals’). Having read the requirements for this post, I immediately thought that this was going to be a very demanding but exciting role. They were looking for people who had an MA and/or a Cambridge Delta (preferably both) and an extensive teaching experience. Continue reading

What Is Your Colleague Type?

(Note: An edited version of the following post was originally published on the iTDi blog. To access the original post, click here.)

Many things have been said about the importance of understanding our learners and how this can positively affect our teaching. What about understanding our colleagues, though? Undoubtedly, these are people with whom we already share common interests and spend much time of our daily schedule, be it in a staff-room or online. Is there a need to ‘categorise’ them? Will knowing our own or our colleagues’ type affect our job?

staff room

Image taken from Malta Union of Teachers

Having spent 9 years in various hallways, staff-rooms, FB groups, Twitter discussions, etc. I have come across similar types of colleagues all of whom had and still have something to teach me. So, here is my list:

The Newbie Type A:

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Lessons From Technology

It is widely known that there are as many arguments for as there are against technology and its effects on our psychology. There are those who believe that technology alienates us from one another, while others believe that it brings people together. Some of these arguments are scientifically supported, some are the result of personal observations, and others are just opinions.

I am definitely not willing to draw any definite conclusions on the issue of technology and people’s psychology. Recently, though, I have come across a very interesting fact that I would like to share: social media experts encourage people to press the like button on their own Facebook updates, pics, etc. in order for the specific update, pic, etc. to reach a wider audience.


(Image taken from: http://cultureslurp.com/how-to-add-facebook-like-button-like-box-for-different-languages/)

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On Error Correction

closeup of a pencil eraser correcting an error

(Image taken from: http://theheat.dk/blog/?p=1753)

There are so many things written on the area of Error Correction. It is Scott Thornbury (2006, 56), among others, who writes that “[t]he amount and type of correction favoured by teachers is closely related to the teacher’s attitude to error, which is in turn influenced by the teacher’s theory of language learning.”

Indeed, there are teachers who are in favour of hot correction (correcting the learner the minute they make an error) and others who prefer cold correction (waiting for the student to finish the task and then provide the correction.

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On Demand High

Today, I’ve spent some time reading about Demand High ELT, a concept conceived by Adrian Underhill and Jim Scrivener and I feel the need to commend on it. By no means do I intend to undervalue the concept; I had, though, some objections that I would like to share here.

In the first page of Demand High ELT, the writers explain the rationale of the DH concept, as it had “gone to by June 2012.” They begin their presentation by asking a series of questions that form the basis of the DH concept. It is important, at this point, to stress that most of the questions are reasonable and, in my opinion, should be asked by every professional in our field. The only question with which I do not agree, though, is the very first one: Continue reading