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Can the DELTA help you to teach EAP?
by Gerald Kelly
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The following quotes from ELT professionals illustrate a variety of viewpoints:

Reflections on the DELTA

  • “I learned more about teaching on the course than on any other I’ve ever attended”
  • “A Masters provides better training for someone teaching EAP, as to understand the needs and demands on students we need to experience those ourselves”
  • “The issue is really whether or not you need to make a choice. If you can do both, then great”
  • “I think there is still a core within EAP which can/should be approached from a ‘traditional’/communicative/ELT perspective”
  • “I’m in favour of the DELTA, but I don’t think the course alone is enough to enable someone to teach EAP - for that, you need some knowledge of academic conventions, research skills, etc”.
  • “I wasted students’ summers the first time I became involved in EAP by being scared by its ‘seriousness’. I think we should be looking towards creative ways of teaching which meet the students’ learning needs, and the DELTA can help”
  • “There is a tendency for people to do either the CELTA/DELTA route or an academic route (MA, PhD). We need both”

The last quote above again indicates the prevalent “choice of routes” attitude towards the DELTA. In fact there are other choices too. In my days as a CELTA tutor in London, I occasionally taught candidates with an MA TESOL (or similar) but with no teaching experience, who then came to us to take a practical course, as they found that employers would not give them a job without any practical experience.

The following quote perhaps shows why some teachers without so much practical experience can find themselves first in line when it comes to employment in EAP.

  • “Her first choice when recruiting are postgraduate-trained teachers who have completed - preferably recently - a Masters in TESOL with either a strong EAP or English for Specific Purposes (ESP) component. Not only will they have learned the theory of designing courses for learners who want to use English in a very specialised context, but they will also have first-hand experience of academic study” (Max de Lotbinière, Educ. Guardian Feb 2003, referring to Rebecca Hughes, Nottingham Uni).

Here another commentator expresses the commonly held view that EAP is fundamentally different from EFL, and that a different qualification is needed:

  • “EAP is so diverse and in many respects different from EFL and ESOL that it deserves more prominence in ELT: a separate recognised qualification would raise the status of the EAP specialism” (Mark Krzanowski, University of Hertfordshire, BALEAP PIMS reports, 2001)

One final quote from an EAP professional confirms the fundamental question:

  • “I don’t know whether the slant that is (now) taken focuses on EFL or EAP” (teacher had taken the old RSA DTEFLA many years ago)

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