I was struck by a recent throwaway remark from one of the ELT teachers who is currently working on the pre-sessional course being run at my university.

She was reacting to some materials about research and the collection of research data that we use with students preparing for postgraduate degrees. Her comment was 'That's OK if you know about research but what if you don't know?'

It is fundamental to good EAP teaching that the teacher has an understanding of the context that her/his students are preparing for. This means an understanding of research. Usually this comes from studying at postgraduate level and conducting a small research project for a masters degree. It doesn't matter what the degree subject was; it is the fact that an EAP teacher has attempted to establish a context and methodology for research though reading and reviewing relevant literature and collected and analysed data that is important. These skills transfer to any research context.

For a teacher who has never experienced research it is very difficult to guide students though this process. These are the teachers who are tempted to hold the view that they are only teaching language and not study/research competence. In my view this is not a particularly useful stance for an EAP teacher to hold.

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