Knowledge and the EAP practitioner

This blog post is unlike others that have been posted. Next week (Saturday 28th of January) we (Bee Bond and I) are hosting a symposium on Knowledge and the EAP practitioner as part of a series of events for BALEAP ResTES.  The central question we shall be discussing is:

what knowledge do practitioners need to master to inform and direct not only their teaching but also, more broadly, their professional activities (including understandings of academia in both its epistemological and sociological dimensions)?

We asked three researchers in the field of EAP – Ian BruceNigel Harwood, and Jackie Tuck – to consider the relationship between knowledge and EAP and asked them to write up their thoughts in short papers prior to the event.

You can find their papers here:

Ian Bruce’s Paper

Nigel Harwood’s Paper

Jackie Tuck’s Paper

These papers form the basis of their presentations for the day. Each paper/presenter has a respondent to challenge and probe their views on the day. All participants on the day will also have the opportunity to question and discuss these papers.

In addition, we would like you to pose your questions and comments here before and after the event. We wanted to make their papers available to all whether you can attend or not. So please feel free to comment and discuss here

Abstract:

Our ResTES symposium poses a central question for EAP practitioners: what knowledge do practitioners need to master to inform and direct not only their teaching but also, more broadly, their professional activities (including understandings of academia in both its epistemological and sociological dimensions)?

Considering this key question leads to a further, fundamental questioning around the adequacy of orthodox and established research strands in EAP – which have defined EAP as a discipline – to act as influential sources for, inter alia, curriculum development, materials creation and pedagogic activity.

How do influential theories and research shape and/or constrain EAP praxis?

What are the limitations of established theories for practice?

What is gained and lost when theory is translated into pedagogy? What else is needed?

These questions highlight a disjunct between research(ers) and practitioners – a gap between on the one hand what we know and how we frame this knowledge, and on the other what is ‘teachable’, useful, effective and transformative.

As a contrast to more research-led, theory-based practice, one common alternative is to emphasise and rely on experiential and reflective practice as the source of socially constructed knowledge to direct practice. Yet, attractive as this might appear, there are limits to what knowledge can be generated in this way, the veracity and warranty of this knowledge, and the perspectivism and relativism that this disposition to knowledge generates.

The aim of the symposium is to explore these key questions and to assess the claims and limits of the mainstream theories and research that define EAP and its practitioners. What do we need to know?

Each speaker has been asked to write a 2,000 to 3,000- word discussion paper. The week before the symposium, we’ll send participants the papers. On the day, speakers will expand on their papers for about twenty minutes. A respondent will have the opportunity to question and critique each paper. There will be plenty of time for all to contribute and participate.

We are looking forward to a lively, engaging and thought-provoking day.

Sponsored by the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE)

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