Teaching language through content in EAP

Olwyn Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is becoming an increasingly important aspect of English Language teaching (ELT) as more and more people require support to study, teach and communicate research through the medium of English. The field has matured as a discipline and, in the UK, it now has its own institution (BALEAP: the global forum for EAP professionals), well-established centres in most further and higher education institutions and an active research base with a dedicated journal. Nevertheless, training for EAP teaching remains largely ad hoc and informal. Partly this is because of its specificity: there is no one-size-fits-all EAP. But it is also a result of teacher misconceptions about what EAP involves and how it compares with communicative language teaching. Some extremely well-qualified and experienced teachers report feeling ‘deskilled’ when they begin to teach EAP. In this article I will consider one particularly challenging aspect of EAP teaching: working with content from students’ subject disciplines. I hope to show that although this can seem daunting at first it can also turn out to be the most rewarding aspect of EAP teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalModern English Teacher
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • language
  • content-based
  • English for Academic PUrposes


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