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Has EAP instruction at Canadian
universities
been successful?
by
Robert Berman
- 2

Interviews

During Phase One, we interviewed 72 people from the three universities, as set out in Table 1, i.e. 34 students, 10 EAP instructors and 28 professors.

Table 1

Participants

From

Total:

Students

Alberta: 12

Carleton: 12

Queen’s: 10

34

Instructors

Alberta: 4

Carleton: 4

Queen’s: 2

10

Professors

Alberta: 10

Carleton: 10

Queen’s: 8

28

TOTAL

 

72

From the data, on the one hand from the students, and on the other from the professors and instructors, researchers independently generated a number of “categories” of data, as exemplified in Table 2, which is one researcher’s categorization of the data generated by professors and instructors, and is included for illustration only.

Table 2 Teacher / Professor Categories, as Analysed by Researcher “J”

Individual needs

Testing

University Context

Programs/Access/ Support

Program Needs
Prof. & T.A.

Professor Attitude

Student Attitude

Time

Technical vocabulary

Feedback

Time (processing, use, application)

Integration (C2 vs. socialization)

Language vs. academic environment -integration

-strategic

Background

Diagnostic -

(strategic + language in technical communications L1/L2)

H.S. -- L2 students have no place to go.

-- L1have no language support

Filter out -

Queens’ – L1 and L2 take English lang. test

-- How does it work?

Admission requirements (access)– TOEFL versus EAP and ESP and high school

Class size:

- large (Carleton)

- small (Queen’s)

80 (Queen’s) vs. 320 (Carleton)

- Carleton attrition 320/24

Profs. – heavy workload

(need to be cloned into 6 to go to “TA lab to set the tone”)

Prof. - noticing C's in class correlate with students from particular culture

Carleton – 2 nd choice university after Toronto vs. Queen’s – 90’s average

Carleton- provides positive support (E.g.; ESL, EAP, Engineering Communication course, WTS)

Queen’s-lack of support

EAP, ESP

Mothering, gender (female) – time

Discipline Specific

Male dominated

Strategies + language development

Logical connections-academic
success/ background

Critical thinking –EAP (self-evaluation/

reflections)

Making sense

Opinions- C2

Compensatory strategies – only work at a certain level of language

Coop -- 3-tier system:

- coop students (super bright)

- L1 students

- L2 students

Prof. needs:

- many presentations, reports, group work

TA issues – NNS; gender; flexibility to hire TA's

- Diagnostic test

- H.S. student support

Technical course (vocabulary)

Intro to Communications for L2 students (terminology and technical knowledge)

Engineering Communication course - 1 st year vs. 4 th year

needs/ requirements

- in 4 th year shy, use presentations.

L1 & L2 interaction

Feedback

Help (welcome students) vs. “Sink or Swim” (don't help students) philosophy

Importance of communication (workplace)

High Road (more presentations, visits to classes) vs. Low Road.

Compensate for low language skills with marks (Queen's)

Hardworking – L2 students

Motivated vs. lazy students

Strategic vs. non-strategic L2

Frustration

Stress

Anger

Uncomfortable presenting

L1 students’ expectations change over time

L2 students-thankful for what learned later

“’TAs expectations” – bias, gender, L2, C2

“Expectations”

L2 students who have the language think they do need the Engineering Communication course (Carleton)

Cost

Feedback

Increased interaction

Speed (critical in academic success)

- Coop

- Small classes

- processing with EAP & Communications

L2 students need more time

Scaffolding -- Teachers/
Professors need to scaffold for L2 students

Technical Course

The research team then agreed on the most salient categories of data, which I will present here, and incidentally, will be used after further modification, to create a questionnaire that will be administered to students, professors and instructors at all three universities in Phase Two of the study.

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