ISBN: 9781859644195
Author: Alexander Et Al
Publisher: Garnet Education
Series: Methodology
Cover: Paperback
CAD $54.95

More Information

With the increase in students joining academic English-language courses, the teaching of English for Academic Purposes is a rapidly expanding profession. There are, however, few specialist handbooks for the practising teacher in this field. EAP Essentials: A teacher's guide to principles and practice is grounded in the authors' extensive practical experience in the EAP classroom. It bridges the gap between the theory and practice of EAP teaching, by distilling the insights from recent research into ideas that can be applied in teaching and materials development.

EAP Essentials builds confidence through a range of practical tasks and by providing case studies of real teachers and students. This enables the teacher to reflect on best practice and identify ways to develop their own teaching skills.

EAP Essentials offers original and practical ideas appropriate to a wide variety of contexts. The accompanying free CD also provides a large number of well-trialled materials that can be copied for use within the classroom. The book contains ten chapters, each one underpinned by up-to-date research, and backed up with a list of recommended further reading.



  • The latest research adapted for classroom use
  • Practical approach allows teachers immediate engagement with EAP materials
  • Real case studies document classroom experience of teachers and students
  • CD-ROM includes original ideas and well-trialled materials for teaching in a variety of contexts
  • Written by practising EAP trainers from Heriot-Watt University


Unit 1: The EAP context
Unit 2: Text analysis
Unit 3: Course design
Unit 4: Reading
Unit 5: Vocabulary
Unit 6: Writing
Unit 7: Listening and speaking
Unit 8: Critical thinking
Unit 9: Student autonomy
Unit 10: Assessment


"Up-to-date, comprehensive and practical, this book is a very useful resource for EAP novices and experienced teachers alike."

- Nadezhda Yakovchuk, University of Leicester

"Combines current research on EAP practice with a very practical approach that clearly comes from experience: an excellent read for new EAP teachers. I wish I'd had this book before I started in EAP!"

- Karen Nicholls, Sheffield Hallam University

"This book will surely become essential reading for both trainee and practising EAP teachers alike."

- Jane Brooks, Sussex University

"The book by Alexander, Argent and Spencer is a substantial offering at over 370 pages + a CD of photocopiable classroom materials. Working with a Social/Genre tradition, the book focuses on a small number of EAP themes (reading, vocabulary, writing, listening and speaking, critical thinking, learner autonomy, and assessment). More importantly, from my perspective, the authors also devote three major chapters to helping their readers to gain the knowledge and skills they will need as EAP practitioners in developing an account of the 'Context of EAP' and then carrying out detailed 'Text analysis' as a starting point for 'Course design'. The 16-page Bibliography at the end of the book is comprehensive and up-to-date.

The chapter devoted to writing instruction builds on the earlier reading and vocabulary chapters and offers a series of case studies and examples which will help teachers to integrate genre approaches and to adapt Process Approaches into their EAP writing courses. Starting with an overview of what is involved in becoming a writer in higher education (and at least touching on some of the themes which concern Writing in the Disciplines/Academic Literacies practitioners), the chapter goes on to consider some of the challenges involved in writing from data, integrating sources, and developing a teaching programme that will help students to meet some of the challenges of disciplinary writing.

Given my earlier comments on the tendency for teachers working in Social/Genre traditions to need to develop their own materials, the two books in this section have the potential to make a valuable contribution to the professional development of this community of practice. While McCarter and Jakes will be of interest to those approaching EAP for the first time or working on course book-based teaching introductory programmes, I feel that EAP Essentials by Alexander et al. will be more useful for those who are facing the challenge of developing their own EAP courses."

- ELTJ Review, Volume 63/4, Oct ober 2009

"EAP (English for Academic Purposes) is a field that has exploded in recent years: not only are overseas students flooding into universities in the English-speaking world, but many higher education courses are now being taught in English in countries where English is a second language for both teachers and students. For teachers who find themselves catapulted into devising and running such international courses, this book could be a godsend.

Not only have the three authors combed the relevant research literature, but since 2002 they have run EAP teacher development courses at Heriot-Watt University and have harvested valuable material from conversations with the participants. This has enabled them 'to bridge the gap between theory and classroom practice' - and to use the courses as a laboratory in which to test materials and find out what works. Their own experiences over many years have also allowed them to pinpoint situations where teaching and learning can go wrong.

The book presents major aspects of EAP, using well-chosen text extracts, questionnaires, discussions and case studies to stimulate reflection on and awareness of key issues. Chapter 1, 'The Context of EAP' (academic purposes and expectations), for instance, begins by differentiating ELT from EAP; probes the nature of teaching and learning at a university; continues with a fascinating discussion of the nature of the 'academic tribe' and how to join it ('the hidden curriculum'); suggests the most practical ways of handling the EAP learning process; delves into student and teacher expectations - and much more. Subsequent chapters cover text analysis, course design, reading, vocabulary, writing, listening and speaking, critical thinking, student autonomy and assessment.

Clearly, this book isn't just about language: it explores the strategies, thinking, skills and attitudes that underpin the academic project - and how to convey these to the student.

The accompanying CD, which contains photocopiable classroom materials, is a vital component in all this: it takes us from discussion to experience, with a wealth of tasks, exercises and tools to enable the student to master the language and thinking necessary for academic success.

One niggle: Clarity. 'Academic writing should be transparent, like a pane of glass, so that ideas can be clearly seen without the language intruding.' How true! Yet the authors rather reverently present nominalisation ('noun phrases') pre-modification and the passive as essential components of academic writing. True - up to a point; but used to excess, these elements lead to obscurity. John Kirkman's Good Style: Writing for Science and Technology would be a useful corrective here.

All in all, though: indispensible."

- Charles Rankin, Warnford, UK for English Teaching Professional, Issue 64, September 2009

"One of the must-haves of an English teacher is glimpses of knowledge from different fields, such as art, music, sports, psychology, and world issues. An EAP instructor requires more specialised knowledge and skills to present it within an academic approach. That situation can create anxiety.Three EAP instructors and teacher trainers from Heriot-Watt University revealed this self-confidence problem and have produced this guidebook to help resolve it.

The product of their reflective work comprises ten chapters, each dealing with a specific domain of EAP instruction, such as course design, text analysis, critical thinking, student autonomy, assessment and the four essential skills. Whereas the introductory chapter acquaints readers with the basics of academia, the most lengthy section belongs to 'Text analysis' (2) and 'Critical thinking' (8) as they are considered key elements of academic thought. The proposed framework to equip students with these skills is to exploit one text in detail rather than deal with a variety of texts. So, teachers are encouraged to assess the linguistic aspects of texts when selecting them for class use.

The prerequisite of this skill is 'teacher language awareness', which has been brought into the limelight in recent years. This concept incorporates teachers' knowledge about language, knowledge of language and consideration of the learners' perspective. Indirectly, EAP Essentials encourages both teachers and learners to adopt this approach.

A particular strength of the book is that each chapter is supplemented by case studies. Teacher trainers may discuss these studies in their training sessions. The EAP syllabus itself may be supplemented by the in-class discussion of the student case studies given. For readers willing to expand on the given information, further reading lists of leading research titles are also provided at the end of each chapter.

The accompanying 'Classroom materials CD' includes 47 trialled activities, usually in the form of awareness-raising tasks that range from identifying attitudes towards plagiarism, to text analysis tools. I highly recommend this title for both novice and experienced EAP instructors, teacher trainers and researchers who would like to gain insights into current EAP research and practice."

- Filiz Rizaoglu, Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey for iatefl Voices, Issue 210

"Nowadays course books could consider an on-line element as an indispensible part of the format, while remaining practical, grounded, realistic and skills-based.

Those laudable aims are achieved handsomely in EAP Essentials: A teacher's guide to principles and practice. As a 'how to' manual, EAP Essentials identifies some key concepts: course design, building specific skills for an academic context, and pathways toward student autonomy. What is especially encouraging in this book is its clear, focussed and thorough explication of the many skills required for the successful student at a tertiary level; even practitioners of study skills for native English speakers would find much of this material useful. Each chapter includes reflexive questions on relevant topics which require the reader to engage fully in the learning process and to develop his or her own skills base. The book includes a CD of classroom materials which are suitable for adaptation to a range of contexts. As a grounding in the skills needed to teach EAP, this book indeed covers the EAP Essentials."

- Jack Bowers, Australian National University for the Journal of Academic Language & Learning