I'm hoping to tempt Scott Thornbury to comment on my blog while we are sharing the guest spots of writer and teacher, hence a post about methodology in EAP.

I'm hoping to tempt Scott Thornbury to comment on my blog while we are sharing the guest spots of writer and teacher, hence a post about methodology in EAP. I wonder how applicable this is to other ELT contexts?I'm currently preparing to teach a three week course to a group of German engineering students. I don't find myself wondering which methodology/method/approach I'll use. Instead I'm thinking about what I will do at the level of syllabus. The students have target genres they have to produce - an essay and an oral presentation - which form the outcomes and assessment of the course. These were specified by their sponsor so they are constraints on my course that prevent me from doing anything I want to. I'm going to help the students to achieve these outcomes with a functional syllabus, which teaches them how to define concepts, explain the causes of problems and discuss alternative solutions. In order to do this, I'm going to model the performance for them with example texts which we will analyse for useful functional language that they can then use in their own writing and speaking.Learning to 'do' EAP in this way is a performance - like learning to play music - so perhaps I can call this the musical approach. Music has a whole range of genres: sonata, concerto, symphony, whose conventions all competent players recognise. The same is true of EAP which has a range of genres such as report, essay, research article with recognised conventions. Musicians practise scales and arpeggios to train their fingers to handle the complex runs and chords that any piece of music demands. EAP students practise functions: defining, comparing, describing process, because these also transfer to many of the genres they have to produce. Musicians put in hours of practice and a large chunk of memorising to become fluent performers of a particular piece of music. Similarly EAP students need to practise and memorise the language that will help them produce fluent writing in an essay and speaking in an oral presentation.I'd like to stick my neck out and suggest that, unlike communicative/task based/lexical and other approaches, the musical approach is practical because it provides a framework for deciding what is essential to include in a course as well as a method for delivering it.

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