Writing and literacy in academic contexts largely depend on the ability to transfer and use the knowledge acquired in the classroom. With the general focus resting upon schools in India, aiming to reduce the risk of dropouts, scant attention gets paid to the English language skills of the Indian university student. The absence of standardized tests in the Indian context for adult language learners has exacerbated the problem as there is no data or studies on the English language proficiency level of an adult in India. While universities in the U.S. and U.K have recognized the importance of providing such support provision to first and second-language speakers of English, in Indian universities, many students must learn to read and write academic English on their own. This expectation from the student is ambitious when they come from economic and socio-linguistic minority community backgrounds and struggle with Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) in English.
It is important to also note that universities or colleges in India do not identify English for Academic Purposes (EAP) as a category and often subsume it under overarching terms such as ‘English Communication’ or ‘General English’. This failure to identify EAP as an advanced course result in confusing teaching methods and an unplanned curriculum. To mitigate some of these concerns, while public universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) established the Linguistic Empowerment Cell (LEC) and the Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) set up the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), private universities like Ashoka University, Krea University and O.P. Jindal Global University established writing centers. However, there is a lot that has to be done towards syllabi making, deciding on appropriate pedagogical practices, as well as building robust evaluative criteria, keeping in mind the varying levels of English proficiency in a diverse, multilingual student body. In the light of these developments, we believe that this conference would be helpful in weaving together theoretical and methodological studies on academic literacy, and reflecting on EAP teaching methods and practices in colleges and universities across India.
Themes that the conference seeks to address include:
Designing Curriculum to teach English for Academic Purposes
How to Assess varying levels of English Proficiency?
The role of feedback for instructors and students
Addressing the EAP student
The role of the Institution
English Languauge Teaching and English for Academic Purposes - Are these contributing towards or challenging a monolingual academic market?
Please send your abstracts (max. 300 words) and a short bio-note (300 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org . The email should bear the subject line ‘Conference abstract’. The last date for submission is 5 January 2019.
Centre for Writing and Communication, Ashoka University, Sonepat