Join us for a free online talk by Clare Wright (University of Leeds), Anna Tsakalaki (University of Reading) and Mei Lin (University of Newcastle) on English for Academic Purposes on March 17th,  at 3.30pm (UK time).

“Now I Hear What You Say” – How Short EAP Courses Can Foster Successful Academic Interactional Strategies

In globalised higher education, strategies to build academic interactional competence can be key to international students’ success, e.g. in seminars and oral assessments. Linguistically, academic interaction requires meaning-focused, other-oriented oral skills, which can be challenging for international second-language (L2) students to acquire, even with specific training.

In this talk we are going to argue that even short-term English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses can have valuable potential in boosting oral language strategies and skills, particularly in listening, which are needed for successful academic interactional competence.

In this study, we report on data from 230 postgraduate students of mixed L1s. We compared use of L2 (English) listening and speaking strategies at the start and end of a 5-week EAP programme at a UK university.

We found a moderate significant improvement over time in meaning-focused listening strategies, and some evidence in increased use of a wider range of speaking strategies. Further factor analysis revealed a subtle but clear shift towards more other-oriented stance in both listening and speaking strategy use, although with much individual variation, and no significant correlation with proficiency.

This study is one of the first to use speaker stance analysis in studying L2 academic communication. It provides some initial evidence to suggest that, if taken further, strategy teaching may enhance international students’ interactional competence when listening and speaking in a HE learning environment.

To register to attend this online talk please click here.