A colloquium on “Inquiry into expertise in EAP teaching: EAP teachers’ professional growth” was held on 26 January.  40 teachers from different ELCs gathered together to explore this topic.  Here is a summary of the key points from the group discussions.

What is EAP teacher expertise?

·         Knowing how to identify the gap between what students know and what they need to know

·         Learning to master the writer’s voice

·         Prioritizing students’ needs and helping them become more competent academic writers

·         Expertise can include research, teaching, materials development and assessment

·         Basic EAP knowledge (e.g., referencing, paraphrasing) and knowledge about specific kinds of communication in the discipline (exposure to other disciplines)

·         Requires ongoing development and it’s achieved mostly with experience

·         Openness to learning

·         Ability to develop knowledge about discourse and styles of different genres with an understanding of audience and purpose

·         Having the ability to make decisions about material selection

·         Having the latest knowledge

*** Core competency refers to the ability to gauge the language level of  your students and adapting or selecting materials appropriate to their level

–          To find students in their own voice but in an academic way

–          To identify EAP genre (which language features provided in the text)

–          Knowing about the proficiency level (where did they start) and how they can go further

–          Bridge the gap in between language and their  field exploration

What are the best practices of effective EAP teachers?

–          Being reflective and willing to change

–          Being knowledgeable about students’  needs, interests, strengths and weaknesses

–          Willingness to innovate

–          Planning to ensure effective practice

–          Collaborating with other practitioners

–          Collaborating with content area specialists

–          Engaging in critique of texts

–          Focusing on  and being sensitive to learner needs

–          Engaging in materials development initiatives or projects of relevance to teaching

–          Ensuring sound student engagement in class

–          Scaffolding learning

–          Integrating technology in teaching

–          Effective use of exemplars

How can we develop expertise in EAP teaching?

–          Join PD sessions

–          Join the HKCPD PD sessions and conference

–          Learning from other colleagues

–          Reflecting on own experiences

–          Conducting action research

–          Keeping abreast of changes in the disciplines

–          Helping students understand teachers’ roles

–          Use of technology (MOOCs, Blends/online learning/teaching)

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