Meredith MacAulay, UNSWIL
Relevance is the key: Engaging learners in an English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) course

English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) courses approach academic literacy from a multidisciplinary approach, rather than focussing on a specific faculty. In such courses, students are taught language, skills and strategies which are assumed to be transferable across different disciplinary contexts and courses. However, students do not always perceive the relationship between the EGAP course and their future disciplines, seeing the course as a hurdle rather than an important pathway. EGAP graduates have also reported lacking background knowledge or content language to discuss issues in their university courses, particularly at the beginning of their courses.

This presentation will outline how we can help students to make connections with their future disciplines within an EGAP course. It will draw on principles of learning transfer and motivation and highlight an Action Research Project which took place at UNSWIL. In this research project, students were given opportunities to research the structure, content and expectations of their future courses by accessing course documents, university staff and students. The results of the research were positive with students acquiring greater knowledge of their future courses, valuable research skills and connections with other students from their discourse communities. They also reported increased levels of motivation, stemming from their perceptions of the relevance of their EGAP course and the research activities.

Meredith MacAulay currently teaches Academic English on a Direct Entry Pathway course at UNSW Institute of Languages, where she is also a teacher trainer. She has developed course materials in both of these areas and has recently written a book of activities for teachers called Energising EAP (the round, 2017).