EAP – English for Academic Purposes

English for Academic Purposes is a very specific type of English course aimed at students who wish to improve their academic English. Teacher Alex, the EAP course designer and facilitator briefly explains what EAP is.

EAP | Teacher Alex | UCT English Language Centre
The English for Academic Purposes, or EAP, course at the UCT English Language Centre is aimed at students who are currently studying in, or wish to study in, an English speaking institution of higher education (college, university, etc.).

Teacher Alex, the course designer and facilitator, is the Centre’s Assistant Director of Studies who specialised in teaching EAP in his DELTA (Cambridge teaching diploma). We asked Alex to briefly explain what EAP is, and give us some brief insight into the course he designed for UCT’s English Language Centre.

EAP is a type of ESP (English for Specific Purposes) in that the teaching content is explicitly matched to the language, practices and study needs of the learners. Other examples of ESP are medical English (for medical practitioners) or Legal English (for lawyers).

It specifically refers to the language and associated practices that people need in order to undertake study or work in English medium higher education. The objective of an EAP course is to help these people learn some of the linguistic and cultural – mainly institutional and disciplinary – practices involved in studying or working through the medium of English.

A distinction is often made between EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes) and ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes). EGAP deals with the language and practices common to all EAP students, whereas ESAP is concerned with the specific needs of students in particular disciplines.
For this reason EAP teaching is task based, using the types of academic task commonly found in higher education and writing classes are usually based on some kind of authentic extended writing task that the students do in their own time, with the help of in-class teaching, guided practice and individual tutorial support.

The EAP course at ELC is broken down into two courses which take place on separate days of the week. Focus on Reading & Writing takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays, while focus on Listening & Speaking takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students can opt to take one or both of the courses.

If you are interested in learning more about our courses, you can contact us via email elc@uct.ac.za or phone us on +27 (0)21 650 4161.

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