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Designing a pre-sessional EAP(English for Academic Purposes) course for exchange students

Designing a pre-sessional EAP(English for Academic Purposes) course for exchange students
Chang, Eun Ha
Issue Date
외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
Candice A. MacDonald
A. Plan Ⅰ: Introduction Studying abroad seems to be a trend among Korean college students. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), 124,865 Korean students were studying in colleges in English-speaking countries in 2006 (Kang, 2008). The Office of Global Affairs at Ewha Womans University (OGA) reports that it sends approximately 400 undergraduate students every year to its affiliated universities in English-speaking countries through exchange programs (Jihyen Kim, personal communication, Sept.9, 2011). According to the OGA, the selected exchange students are not provided with language courses, nor are they required to complete a preparation course before entering the realm of academia in English-speaking universities. My textbook, therefore, attempts to address this issue by targeting undergraduate students at Ewha Womans University who will participate in exchange programs in American or Canadian colleges. This textbook is intended to be used at the Ewha Language Center. The target students will take a pre-sessional EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course at the language center 6 months prior to their departure and they will use my textbook in the classroom. The age range of my target audience is 20 to 22 year-old female students who are mostly sophomores and juniors studying in humanities and social science disciplines. Despite the possible variance in language proficiency among the target learners, this textbook is intended for intermediate learners on the ACTFL scales or B1to B2 on the CEF scale in terms of English language proficiency level. Although there are some discrepancies in proficiency between language skills, learners at this level are generally able to express their ideas and present views on familiar or non-specialized topics. Compared to grammar and vocabulary proficiency, the target learners’ fluency levels in the productive skills such as speaking and writing are relatively low. Daly (2005) asserts that exchange students want to develop their language skills and intercultural competencies while studying abroad. They also want to take advantage of studying-abroad experiences to increase their marketability in the workplace. Kang (2008) obtained similar findings from her study: Korean college-level students expect to improve their English language skills, better understand another culture and become more competitive in the job market through their experiences while studying abroad. In an attempt to meet the target learners’ needs, my textbook will cover study skills such as note-taking skills and reading strategies. The textbook will also include tasks and activities to enhance my target students’ language skills. Ⅱ: Expected outcomes My textbook aims to teach learning skills and strategies as well as language skills to my target students. For example, students will learn skimming and scanning strategies while reading an academic passage. They will also learn note-taking skills while listening to a lecture. Throughout the ten chapters, students will be exposed to the selected topics which the students are expected to encounter while studying abroad. In each chapter, students will have opportunities to practice integrated language skills by engaging in various authentic and genuine tasks and activities. As a result, students should be able to present their views on the covered topics in spoken or written English after completing the whole chapter. Students are also expected to achieve the following objectives: Students should be able to identify main ideas of academic reading passages within limited time frames by using reading strategies. Target students should be able to write an academic essay on given topics, and present their finished essays through oral presentation or publication. Students should be able to effectively use note-taking strategies while listening, and summarize the main points after listening to a video. In addition, raising target students’ awareness of cultural differences in social and academic contexts will be another outcome that my textbook seeks to achieve. International students are likely to experience difficulties which are derived from cultural differences in and outside of the classroom while living in an English-speaking country. Plagiarism, for example, is an issue which reflects the culture of educational institutes in North America, and therefore, target students need to understand these issues in order to comply with academic regulations in the respective North American universities. This textbook also aims to help students recognize the importance of selected cultural issues throughout the book. Ⅲ: Method My textbook will be designed for 10 week-intensive courses to meet the target learners’ immediate needs to be prepared for their new academic environments. I will adopt a topic and skill-centered approach for organizing the content of my textbook. A skill-based syllabus focuses on teaching macro-skills and micro-skills, which are defined as language skills and study skills respectively by Jordan (1997). As Robinson claims, “skill-based syllabuses are something of a half-way house between content or product syllabus on the one side and method or process syllabuses on the other” (as cited in Jordan, 1997, p.62). My textbook will focus on meaning and fluency in authentic contexts and will offer its target learners various activities that attempt to improve the target students’ communicative competency (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). Activities that focus on fluency will help students use natural language and require students to negotiate meaning and use communicative strategies (Richards, 2006). Students will be also motivated to learn when they are provided with comprehensible input, meaningful activities, authentic tasks and materials. Task-based instruction (TBI) is also believed to develop learners’ communicative competence and it will be employed in my textbook. In TBI, “tasks generally bear some resemblance to real-life language use” (Skehan, 1996, p.20). The advocates of TBI maintain that students can learn language forms as a result of completing meaning-based tasks (Harmer, 2007). My textbook will take Jane Willis’s TBI approach throughout each chapter by following three task cycles. This approach places an emphasis on student-centered inductive learning and meaning-based tasks, rather than on teacher’s explicit teaching of language (Willis, 1996). Ⅳ: Conclusion My textbook is designed to benefit undergraduate students at Ewha Womans University who plan to study in American or Canadian colleges as exchange students. Considering the current situation in which no specific books or courses are available for this target group of students, this textbook is designed to prepare target students for overseas exchange programs through authentic texts and communicative activities and tasks. I believe that my textbook will serve as a useful book for exchange students who would like to upgrade their language skills and academic strategies before leaving for a study-abroad experience.
☞ 이 논문은 저자가 원문공개에 동의하지 않은 논문으로, 도서관 내에서만 열람이 가능하며, 인쇄 및 저장은 불가합니다.
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