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Content Unplugged: a bespoke approach to teaching EAP?. my motivations. “Our teaching and learning habits are useful but they can be deadly.” ( McWilliam 2008: 263)

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my motivations
my motivations

“Our teaching and learning habits are useful but they can be deadly.”

(McWilliam 2008: 263)

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

- Alvin Toffler

student thoughts
student thoughts

“for me, i think the most important thing for media students is that we need to learn how to improve our reading skills and writing skills. as you know, for us, we may have almost 10000 words to write in every semester”

my inspirations
my inspirations
  • Threshold concepts
  • Academic Reading Circles
  • Teaching ‘unplugged’
  • Dialogic Teaching / Learning
the approach
the approach
  • ½ the class is dedicated to discussion based on a pre-selected text in the vein of ARC
  • ½ the class is dedicated to producing writing and focusing on a certain aspect of academic writing
  • Compiles a ‘dictionary’ of key terms and vocabulary [maximum 20 words]. Include definitions and pronunciation and share with your group
  • Looks at sentences and considers language use in terms of clarity of argument and coherence. Take some sentences and copy the structure to provide some of your own examples how the structure can be used.
  • Tries to find out what the author’s position is. Are they pro or anti a certain theory / argument / research method/ author. Use the language in the text around these issues to help you decide.
  • Maps the text – draw a mind map type illustration showing the article’s main ideas / arguments and the examples used to support them
  • Checks/ googles cultural references and finds more up-to-date / relevant examples

Britain from 1970s – 1997.

  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Greenpeace’sStopEsso Campaign
  • Married … with children
  • Explains how this text is relevant and how it relates to the course.
media lecturer s observations
Media lecturer’s observations

“there was some evidence of engagement with key concepts e.g. one group compared covert participant observation to the activities of journalism and another discussed how field notes could be recorded when conducting such research.”

media lecturer s observations1
Media lecturer’s observations

“I got the impression that the class did build on prior knowledge of some in the class and primed others for the forthcoming lecture on this subject.”

student feedback
student feedback

“the highlight of the classes this semester are better student involvementand interaction, more appropriate content relating to our lectures. The class time is so productivecause we all participate in thinking, discussing, writing, speaking etc,.”

student feedback1
student feedback

“I should felt confident, because I received the unconditional offer of this university”

“this semester, I found after I attended in the ELTU classes, I become more familiar with some terminologies, when the lecturer said them in the class, I felt so excited because I know that! And I also found my reading speed is getting faster and faster.”

manager s observations
manager’s observations

“What I saw was a group of students engaged in genuine academic discussion about a core text and this has to be beneficial to them. Despite the focus on ‘autonomous learning’, I saw a lesson in which the tutor took a variety of relevant roles and aided the learning and understanding of the students. This group of students definitely buy into the methodology and clearly feel that the classes are beneficial.”

manager s observations1
manager’s observations

“Language input was student driven. They chose the vocabulary from the text, they chose what items of vocabulary to discuss together without rushing to the tutor or their dictionary for an explanation. They discussed, argued and joked about meaning...”

manager s observations2
manager’s observations

“I saw a tremendous amount of self and peer correction going on. Students are using language naturally and are not afraid to question each other, seek clarification, agree and disagree. They try to work things out for themselves. This seemed to happen across the group and there wasn’t a ‘silent student’.”

looking ahead
looking ahead
  • More structure to the writing
  • Analyse/track student performance
  • Trial with a multi-disciplinary group [pre-sessional]
  • Even greater synchronisation with the media department
media lecturer s observations2
Media lecturer’s observations

“perhaps there may even be a case to synchronise the ELTU and lectures so the former allows students to deepen learning and clarify misunderstandings of key concepts conveyed in each class? The students could perhaps bring along specific questions from the lecture powerpoint as a means of prompting group discussion.”

  • Donohue, J. (2012) Using systemic functional linguistics in academic writing development: An example from film studies. Journal of English for Academic Purposes.11(2) pp4-16.
  • Lyle, S. (2008) Dialogic Teaching: Discussing Theoretical Contexts and Reviewing Evidence from Classroom Practice. Language and Education. 22(3), pp222-240.
  • McWilliam, E. (2008) Unlearning how to teach. Innovations in Education and Teaching International. 45(3), pp263-269.
  • Meddings, L. & Thornbury, S. (2009) Teaching Unplugged. Surrey: Delta Publishing
  • Seburn, T. (2011) Academic Reading Circles (ARC). 4C ELT [blog] accessed 27th February 2014
thank you
Thank you