A co-authored research article, titled ‘“Now I hear what you say” – How short EAP courses can foster successful academic interactional strategies’ by Dr. Anna Tsakalaki (Lecturer in Education, University of Reading) has recently been published in Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and can be accessible free of charge here.
This article reports on data from 230 postgraduate students of mixed first languages (or L1s). We compared use of second language or L2 (i.e., English) listening and speaking strategies at the start and end of a 5-week English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme at a UK university. This is one of the first studies to use speaker stance analysis (i.e., analysis of the way people perceive themselves as speakers and listeners, for example, how prepared they are to actively communicate with another person) in studying L2 academic communication.
Factor analysis revealed a subtle but clear shift towards more other-oriented stance in both the listening and speaking strategies the students used before and at the end of the course, although with much individual variation. (The more other-oriented stance is when the other person becomes the centre of attention during communication – a direct contrast to the self-oriented stance when oneself is at the centre of attention.)
Based on our findings, we argue that even short-term EAP courses can have valuable potential in boosting oral language strategies and skills, particularly in listening, which are needed for preparedness by students to learn from lecturers and each other when joining their course.