Conference: English for Academic Purposes as a glocal language

26 May 2021

While more educational institutions worldwide are using English as a medium of instruction, traditional English for Academic Purposes teaching falls short in regions where English is not the first language, says Dr Bin Zou of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

“In China, there is an increasing demand of exploring how to localise EAP teaching patterns, resources and assessments for better adapting to Chinese students,” says Dr Zou, of XJTLU’s School of Humanities and Social Science.

XJTLU will host an international conference on 28-30 May that will focus on localising EAP teaching, transforming it into a glocal language.

The conference is the first ever joint international conference of two authoritative EAP organisations: CEAPA (China EAP Association) and BALEAP (British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes).

“As the only BALEAP-accredited language centre in mainland China, we are honoured to host this conference,” says Angela Xia, Director of XJTLU English Language Centre.

“We look forward to not only assisting in the reform of EAP (English for Academic Purposes) in China but also learning the latest research and practice findings globally.”

Helen Beech, Acting Dean of XJTLU's School of Languages, notes that the University -- with one of the largest language centres in the world -- has the opportunity to share EAP knowledge developed over the past 15 years. All-English taught degree programmes and a large cohort of teachers have facilitated XJTLU’s EAP development.

“This conference allows us to present our research or best practice, such as the innovation we are doing in the classroom. In that way, we are being more outward-looking than we have been in previous years,” Beech says.

Conrad Heyns, incoming President of BALEAP from Goldsmiths, University of London, also noted the importance of localisation of EAP around the globe.

“I think this is a very important topic because BALEAP is always striving to become international, so we need to understand how EAP is understood and applied in contexts worldwide,” he says.

In China, EAP, which focuses on the English-language skills students need to succeed in academia, has gained traction in recent years.

“The significance of teaching EAP in China is already beyond the mere instruction of a foreign language in higher education; it plays an increasing role in the development of university students’ ability of accessing information, critical thinking and academic, ethic conventions,” says Professor Jigang Cai, President of CEAPA from Fudan University.

“This conference will not only help Chinese scholars gain a deeper understanding of the functions of EAP in a wider context, but also will provide an opportunity for further co-operation such as the development of the ability scale of EAP for students.”

By Xinyi Liu

Edited by Tamara Kaup

26 May 2021