English for academic purposes

Authored by: Helen Basturkmen , Rosemary Wette

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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This chapter outlines developments in the increasingly influential field of English for academic purposes (EAP), a subfield of English for specific purposes (ESP; see Starfield, this volume). It begins with a definition and brief history of EAP, followed by a review of the key stages in EAP course planning and implementation, including discussion of teaching approaches and curriculum choices. It continues with an examination of debates in this field (such as differing views on the importance of disciplinary knowledge for teachers of English for specific academic purposes) and recent challenges to EAP’s self-image as a socially and politically neutral enterprise. The chapter concludes by identifying a number of future directions, including continuation of the trend towards discipline-specific and ethnographic explorations of academic discourse communities.

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