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EAP Courses- Lower standards?

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Joined: 27 Jun 2006
Posts: 55
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:27 pm    Post subject: EAP Courses- Lower standards? Reply with quote

Thought I'd post this over here... feel free to join in on the conversation over at www.esl-lesson-plan.

For those of you teaching EAP university courses, you may already know that some of your students are well below the required level of English. How does this happen? There are two main causes of this problem:

1. Some students cheat on their IELTS/TOEFL tests by having other students take the test for them, using a fake ID to get in.

and ...

2. Students who don't meet the minimum requirements are asked to spend a summer or a year studying at their university on a pre-sessional or foundation year course before starting their undergraduate or postgraduate degree course. Because international student fees are much higher than local students' fees, there is quite a bit of pressure for EAP teachers to allow these students to pass the pre-sessional/foundation year courses- whether they are ready for it or not.

While this has obvious negative implications, e.g. setting these students up for failure, less-respect for the school, a lower standard for the classroom, etc., it doesn't look like this trend is going to end any time soon. So, what can we as EAP teachers do for these students?

1. Help students develop more methods for coping with uncertainty.
2. Set students up with a buddy to help them get through their university courses.
3. Initiate more communication with core teachers to help them understand how to help the students in the classroom.
4. Provide students with more resources and lists that they can use during their time at university, e.g., hedging phrases and sentence types commonly used in reports and dissertations.
5. Encourage the school to provide continual support for such students throughout their entire course, not just in the beginning.

What else can be done for these students?
Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb
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Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 183
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommended a 2 track system for my principal, who promptly ignored me. Apparently, it would increase the cost of the program, so all the students go through the program at the same pace. Confused

The downside is that the bright students skip classes and show up for the test. The slow students get frustrated with not being able to follow and often skip class too. Now I've got an openly bored middle section that treats the class as a joke. Mad

I just want to do my time and get out. Rolling Eyes
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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would add tutoring outside of the regular classroom hour. The college I used to teach at had a language lab for ESL students; I would volunteer three hours a week in the lab, going over students' essays and helping them understand their assignments.

This was especially useful since so many ESL students live in a linguistic bubble: once they leave the classroom, they hang out with friends who speak their home language; and thanks to satellite technology and online videos, they can watch nothing but TV shows and films from their countries. I was often told by students that I was the only native English speaker they spoke with during the week. I would remind them that they would never learn English unless they practiced it daily and not just at school: but either shyness or insecurity about their skills kept them from approaching the native English speaking students and faculty.
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