Exploring teacher beliefs in teaching EAP at low proficiency levels

Olwyn Alexander

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) requires teachers experienced in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) to acquire additional skills, abilities and approaches. Beliefs about CLT teaching may not be appropriate for teaching EAP, especially to low level learners. Making teachers aware of their beliefs is the first step in helping them to change. This study explored the beliefs of two teachers as they piloted and evaluated a new coursebook for low level EAP, which is based on a functional syllabus and supports students to perform beyond their current level of competence. The teachers were interviewed about their experiences of using the coursebook and from these interviews, 23 pairs of contrasting belief statements were interpreted. Informed by the literature and the
    BALEAP Competency framework for Teachers of EAP, these statements were categorised as barriers to or success factors for successful EAP teaching. They were compiled into a reflective questionnaire, which was completed online by 124 teachers. The results highlighted two key aspects where CLT and EAP approaches differ: the description of the language system within which teachers frame their talk and the approach to scaffolding student performance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-111
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


    • Teacher beliefs
    • EAP
    • Low level learners
    • Barriers to effective teaching
    • Success factors


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