Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Critical EAP in the Mainstream Curriculum - Reflections

Kashmir Kaur, University of Leeds (United Kingdom)


The time is ripe in today’s polarised world to proactively engage with EAP by moving away from “vulgar pragmatism” (Pennycook, 1997: 256) and “political quietism” (Benesch, 2001: 38) and take up the mantle of Critical EAP. Critical EAP is making inroads into the mainstream, albeit at a glacial pace. This paper discusses the experience of taking the classroom practice of CEAP to the next stage. It reflects on an interdisciplinary module that moved Critical EAP into the mainstream EAP curriculum. It will show how the student as a political actor approach was combined with the theme of sustainability. Students, after being inducted in the term ‘sustainability’ and observed it in action at local, national and global levels, linked the concept to their various disciplines (STEM, Arts and Humanities), through the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The module culminated with the students claiming the classroom space as they transformed themselves into critical political actors. In the current landscape, whether it be the financialisation, marketisation and commodification of EAP in higher education or global events which result in echo chambers, it is more necessary than ever before for students to have the skills to navigate through a tsunami of information and challenge ‘fake’ news and ‘post truth’ dogma. They need to have the skills to view the world beyond their immediate lens of their ‘bubble’ to be conversant with the opposing views. Based on qualitative data from student focus groups, the paper argues CEAP can enable a greater sense of student criticality and autonomy as they reflect on their own political position and place in the world.

Keywords: English for Academic Purposes (EAP), Critical EAP, CEAP, sustainability.

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[8] Pennycook, A. (2010). Language as Local Practice. London: Routledge.

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