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Amin Saed Doctoral School of Education, Faculty of Education and Psychology ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

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Krisztina Karoly Department of English Language Pedagogy, School of English and American Studies, Eötvös Loránd, University Budapest, Hungary

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Erika Kopp Institute of Education, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

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Abstract

Informed by constructivism, the present qualitative case study first aimed to explore the effectiveness of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instruction, as the case of the study, at a Hungarian university to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and difficulties that EFL teacher trainees (TTs) experience during their studies. Second, it aimed to investigate the perceived usefulness of EAP instruction in preparing EFL TTs for their future careers. This paper examines the case of five Hungarian EFL TTs' perceptions of EAP instruction with the help of semi-structured interviews to see the importance of EAP education in both the TTs' studies and in their future careers. To this end, through purposeful sampling, five fourth-year TTs were invited to participate in the study to obtain a deep understanding of EAP instruction from their points of view. The results revealed that EFL TTs recognize the purpose and importance of the university EAP instruction and hold favorable views towards the teacher training program in general and EAP instruction in particular. Moreover, they considered the EAP courses as crucial in their future success as EFL teachers. However, they complained about several issues such as lack of practice opportunities, clear-cut standards, and EAP-specific materials. Hopefully, the results will provide valuable insights into the Hungarian EFL TT program's success in preparing competent future teachers.

Abstract

Informed by constructivism, the present qualitative case study first aimed to explore the effectiveness of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instruction, as the case of the study, at a Hungarian university to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and difficulties that EFL teacher trainees (TTs) experience during their studies. Second, it aimed to investigate the perceived usefulness of EAP instruction in preparing EFL TTs for their future careers. This paper examines the case of five Hungarian EFL TTs' perceptions of EAP instruction with the help of semi-structured interviews to see the importance of EAP education in both the TTs' studies and in their future careers. To this end, through purposeful sampling, five fourth-year TTs were invited to participate in the study to obtain a deep understanding of EAP instruction from their points of view. The results revealed that EFL TTs recognize the purpose and importance of the university EAP instruction and hold favorable views towards the teacher training program in general and EAP instruction in particular. Moreover, they considered the EAP courses as crucial in their future success as EFL teachers. However, they complained about several issues such as lack of practice opportunities, clear-cut standards, and EAP-specific materials. Hopefully, the results will provide valuable insights into the Hungarian EFL TT program's success in preparing competent future teachers.

Introduction

Flowerdew and Peacock (2001) define English for Academic Purposes (EAP) as “the teaching of English with the specific aim of helping learners to study, conduct research or teach in that language” (p. 8). EAP courses play a significant role in our professional lives as language learners and teachers. However, there is evidence of dissatisfaction with EAP courses among teachers and learners. According to his recent research findings, Gaskaree (2020) found dissatisfaction with EAP courses among teachers and students. Hyland (2006) stated that the expansion of these courses had always been challenging regarding the development of EAP courses, as many EAP courses and textbooks lack theoretical rationale. In addition, he believed that EAP textbooks are mainly based on the writers' experience and intuition. Thus, a paucity of students' position and voice in developing the EAP courses is implied (Hyland, 2006).

The importance of EAP instruction might be highlighted when Medgyes (2017) emphasized teachers' inability to voice their valuable experiences and share their experiences with the colleagues in the field. In addition, as Prescott (2011) identified, Hungarian university students in their first semester know little about academic skills before they begin the course; therefore, academic writing elements are problematic for most of them. Moreover, it could be argued that the students of these programs will find it challenging to deal with both academic English and the study skills needed for their university. According to Bruce (2017), having a prerequisite EAP knowledge to support students is essential; hence, EAP courses need to be evaluated for efficiency from the TTs' perspectives.

Accordingly, the present study aimed to evaluate the current situation of EAP courses, at a Hungarian university within an EFL teacher training program. By exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the courses, this study will be able to produce suggestions for improvement in the current EAP courses at the Hungarian university under investigation. Therefore, first, a brief overview of the related literature on the importance of EAP courses and education will be provided. Then, the method of the study, the participants, the context, and other related elements will be described. This will be followed by the presentation and discussion of the results of the semi-structured interviews. Finally, the conclusion will introduce possible suggestions, recommendations, and implications for improving EAP courses.

Review of the literature

Specific terms in the study

English for Academic Purposes

According to Hyland and Hamp-Lyons (2002), EAP “refers to language research and instruction that focuses on the specific communicative needs and practices of particular groups in academic contexts” (p. 2). As they put it, this definition focuses on the linguistic, cognitive, and social demands of a discipline. However, as with the purpose of the current study, in the present study another recent definition will be used, in which Gillett (2011) uses EAP to refer to

the language and associated practices that people need in order to undertake study or work in English medium higher education. The objective of an EAP course, then, is to help these people learn some of the linguistic and cultural – mainly institutional and disciplinary - practices involved in studying or working through the medium of English (Gillett, 2011, p. 1).

Therefore, the aforementioned definition that focuses on the language itself and its associated skills for people to undertake studies will be used throughout the current study.

Effectiveness/efficiency

The terms efficiency and effectiveness in educational contexts have always been confusing in that there has not been an agreed-upon definition for them. Lockheed and Hanushek (1994) maintained that the “lack of a consistent definition at times produces very misleading discussions and policy recommendations” (p. 1). They believed that to measure these terms in any system, we need to measure and compare the inputs with the output. However, the actual measurement of an educational program's efficiency and effectiveness is not an easy task because there are several variables involved in any learning process.

Considering the above concise explanation, the present small-scale case study is not to measure these terms so as to compare the inputs and outputs of the EAP courses; rather, it intends to use these two terms in their general dictionary meanings. In fact, this constructivist study aims to explore the development of EFL TTs' EAP knowledge and skills over the past years. It is also worth mentioning that this study is limited to the trainee's points of view to see if their EAP training has added value to their studies and future careers.

Review of related literature

This section presents a review of the literature pertaining to the importance of the constructive approach to evaluating EAP instruction at a Hungarian university with special reference to both Hungarian and international contexts of EAP education. It also reviews the research into EAP to review the importance of EAP instruction and the difficulties that students face during their studies.

According to Dudley-Evans and St John (1998), students are believed to need help in both the language of the academic discipline and specific study skills. Apart from the learners' needs for EAP knowledge, they also need to master the study skills for their studies as university students. In her study, Öveges (2017) referred to a sad fact adopted from the findings of a study by Szenay (2005), who noted that “every fourth school education student attended for-profit language schools or studied with private tutors to complement their foreign language education” (p. 153), since the public education has not been able to bring about the desired improvement in their foreign language learning and knowledge. She maintains that students' failure to master English at schools can be related to several factors. However, as “teachers are the most significant resources in todays' schools” (OECD, 2018, p. 15), students' failure in achieving the language-related goals at school might be linked to the teachers' lack of mastery in the subject area or/and the academic skills, which are supposed to be acquired during their studies as TTs. Moreover, it is believed that “the lack of qualified teachers is a major barrier to overcome disadvantage and improve learning” (OECD, 2018, p. 1).

The fundamental motive behind the existence of many teacher education programs, as Latha (2014) stated, stands for the importance of teacher education and its impact upon teacher quality. One such impact originates from the teachers' sharing their practical experiences with the peers in the field. In this regard, Medgyes (2017) emphasized the role of teachers and teaching. He believed that teachers need to voice their tacit knowledge and take the opportunities to speak up and share their valuable experiences with fellow professionals (Medgyes, 2017). In the same line, Freeman (1996) stated that “teachers and learners know the story of the classroom well, but they usually do not know how to tell it, because they are not often called upon to do so, nor do they usually have opportunities. Researchers, curriculum developers, and policymakers, on the other hand, are very skilled at telling certain things about classrooms" (p. 90). Accordingly, Freeman (1996), claimed that academic researchers with high levels of academic skills can better voice their inauthentic accounts on classroom experiences without having a full account of classroom experiences. On the other hand, teachers who lack enough academic skills are not proficient enough in voicing their authentic classroom experiences.

According to Fielder (2011), there are two categories of EAP speaking skills; presentation and participation skills. She considers agreeing/disagreeing and expressing criticism/objection functions within these categories. Based on the categories and functions presented by Fielder (2011) and also according to Freeman's (2011) argument on the passiveness of teachers in voicing and sharing their classroom experiences, there might be a relationship between having EAP skills and success in a teacher's professional life. As a result, the present constructivist approach to evaluation, which, according to Stufflebeam (2001), “rejects positivism's deterministic and reductionist structure” (p. 71) and emphasizes all the stakeholders' perceptions and understandings.

Overview of empirical studies on EAP instruction

Jordan (1997) maintained that in EAP instruction, there are three key sources of difficulties for students; “listening and speaking in seminars, academic writing, and listening, with understanding, and note-taking in lectures” (p. 44). However, he added that academic writing was the most researched literature component among these challenging factors in EAP instruction.

Although several studies have investigated academic writing as an essential component of EAP instruction, information on the whole EAP instruction is still sparse in the context of university EAP instruction in Hungary. Prescott (2011) conducted a study to discover teachers' views on the importance of academic writing as a significant part of university EAP instruction. As an experienced teacher of academic courses, Prescott became “interested in the experience of first-year students as they come to terms with a new academic environment” (p. 16). He was particularly interested in students' difficulties in mastering academic writing. He considered academic writing an essential course for the students, because first, many students knew truly little about it before they began the course. Second, most of them had difficulty with the elements of academic writing. Therefore, he believed that “this course has such a pivotal role in acclimatizing the students to university requirements” (Prescott, 2011, p. 17).

In another study, Khany and Tarlani-Aliabadi (2015) attempted to examine teachers' and students' perceptions of EAP classes in Iran. This study was based on all stakeholders' feedback on EAP instruction. To this end, they used both interviews and open-ended survey questions. The investigation results revealed that in that particular Iranian context of EAP, students were mainly passive, and they had no control over the selection of content, teaching methods, evaluation, assessment, and classroom setting. Therefore, students had to follow the requirements and expectations set by the department and the EAP teachers.

Furthermore, in another research attempt, Abdolerezapour and Tavakoli (2013), in the same line with Khany and Tarlani-Aliabadi (2015), investigated EAP methodology and its effectiveness in Isfahan, Iran. To this aim, they developed several questionnaires and administered them to 30 EAP teachers and 90 EAP students. In their research, they reported that there was a paucity of opportunity for the students to practice. Moreover, both teachers and students complained about the textbooks lacking enough authentic materials for them to practice with.

Another study conducted by Zou, Cheng, and Hsu (2017) investigated the impact of EAP instruction on the graduates' future careers to examine EAP education's occupational and academic merits. They invited 66 graduates from a variety of disciplines to participate in the study. At the time of the research, the graduates were working at different companies. The findings of the study suggested that they were using speaking skills frequently and appropriately in their workplaces. So, it was found out that the EAP instruction had a positive effect on their future career. However, the graduates also maintained that they still need to improve their speaking skills as they face various situations at work every day. Furthermore, the interview findings indicated that the graduates were more confident, and accordingly, based on the knowledge received in the EAP classes, they could develop team efficiency and interpersonal skills.

The present paper is based on a constructivist approach to evaluation, which, according to Stufflebeam (2001), “rejects positivism's deterministic and reductionist structure” (p. 71) and places importance on all the stakeholders' perceptions and understandings. According to the philosophy beyond this model of evaluation, it is believed that there is no ultimate answer to problems and inquiries (Stufflebeam, 2001).

The significance of the gap of the current study lies in a constructivist approach to evaluation (Stufflebeam, 2001), which places importance on all the stakeholders' perceptions and understandings of the EAP courses, including TTs as the participants of the current study. Therefore, this case study aims to explore the efficiency of EAP courses from EFL TTs' perspectives as essential stakeholders. Accordingly, based on their perceptions, recommendations, and feedback, this study will introduce possible suggestions and recommendations for improving EAP courses at a Hungarian university to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and difficulties that EFL TTs experience during their studies. It also explores the perceived usefulness of EAP instruction in preparing Hungarian EFL TTs for their future careers.

Research design

The case in the current qualitative case study is the TTs' perceptions of the usefulness of EAP instruction at a Hungarian university. The value of the current case lies in the fact that TTs' perceptions of the EAP courses can shed light on how effective these courses are with regard to their success as both EFL TTs at university and as future EFL teachers. In addition, their perceptions can also indicate how well the TTs' needs are met based on the objectives of the EAP courses presented in the course syllabi.

Hence, the design of the present study utilizes a qualitative case study to explore Hungarian EFL TTs' perceptions of the usefulness of the EAP instruction they receive during their university training. Denzin and Linkoln (2018) state that a “descriptive study usually requires […] in-depth interviews to understand the experiences, perspectives, and worldviews of people in a particular set of circumstances” (p. 608). Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to explore the strengths, weaknesses, and difficulties that EFL TTs experience during their studies by using in-depth semi-structured interviews. This paper examines five Hungarian EFL TTs' perceptions of the EAP instruction, as the case of the study, at a prestigious university in Budapest, Hungary. According to the purposes of the study, the following research questions are to be answered.

  1. What do Hungarian EFL teacher trainees perceive as the purpose(s) of their university EAP instruction?

  2. What are the perceptions of EFL teacher trainees at a Hungarian university about their EAP instruction efficiency?

  3. How do Hungarian EFL teacher trainees perceive the possible impact that university EAP instruction may have on their future careers?

To this aim, this study was conducted at a prestigious Hungarian university to obtain a comprehensive understanding of TTs' perceptions of EAP instruction, as the case of the study, within the EFL teacher training program. The logic beyond a case study research method, as explained by Dörnyei (2007), is that

because of the detailed information we wish to gather about the case, researchers usually spend an extended time examining the case […] During this […], any type of research method can be used that can yield case-specific data. Especially if the case is not an individual but, say, an institution, this can lead to an overabundance of data, and in order to remain on top of all the details, it may be useful to have a ‘data-gathering plan,' (p. 151).

Context of the study

The present study was conducted at a prestigious university in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. This university runs an EFL teacher training program. Kormos, Kontra, and Csölle (2002) explained that in Hungary, English major university students, after eight to ten semesters of long training, get a degree equivalent to an MA. The entry-level English language proficiency is approximately the upper-intermediate level, so they have to take an advanced-level school leaving exam. The age range of TTs at the entry is around 19–22 and they graduate at the age of 24–28. According to Kormos et al. (2002), based on the data that they received from the university, it is estimated that approximately 75% of Hungarian English TTs are female and 25% are male.

Participants within the case study

Since the overall study was about the case of the usefulness of the EAP instruction at a Hungarian university, a total of five Hungarian female EFL TTs were invited to take part in this qualitative case study. Due to two reasons, all participants in the present study were females. First, as Kormos et al. (2002) put it, most EFL TTs in Hungary, 75%, are female. Besides, according to the purposes of the current study, two sampling methods were utilized. First, the convenient sampling strategy, which, as Dörnyei (2007) puts it, “is the least desirable but the most common sampling strategy, at least at the postgraduate research level” (p. 129). Accordingly, those TTs who were available were invited and participated in the study. The second strategy was snowball sampling. The TTs who took part in the study through the convenient sampling strategy were asked to link the researcher to the classmates or acquaintances willing to participate in the research project. In light of the reasons mentioned above, and based on TTs' availability, only female TTs participated in the current case study.

In view of the above, and following the ethical concerns of the interviews, participants were given pseudonyms to ensure no one would have access to the interview data (Table 1). As the EFL teacher-training program in Hungary is a six-year-long program, those TTs who have a minimum of three years of experience were invited to participate in the study because these trainees were supposed to have sufficient information and knowledge regarding both the program itself and the EAP courses and instruction as the core focuses of the present study (Table 2).

Table 1.

Participant's Demographics

Pseudonyms Age Gender Number of Years enrolled Major
Anna 23 Female 4 ELT
Kata 22 Female 4 ELT
Orsi 24 Female 4 ELT
Rita 24 Female 4 ELT
Timi 23 Female 4 ELT
Table 2.

Emerging Themes

Emerging Themes Number of occurrences
1. lack of enough EAP material and resources 3
2. lack of practice opportunity 4
3. crowded classes and lack of interactive classes 3
4. teachers having different standards 3
5. professional and hardworking teachers 4
6. strict deadlines followed by constructive feedback 3

Data collection

According to the aims of the current study, data were collected solely through five semi-structured interviews as the only source of data collection. Based on the study's three main research questions, nine interview questions were formulated and piloted with two expert colleagues for possible weaknesses. After 2 h of conducting expert validation with two experienced colleagues to check and finalize the interview questions, three main interview questions and seven sub-questions were chosen (Appendix: Interview questions).

The semi-structured interview format helped the researcher understand the situation by asking for more information and encouraging the participants to elaborate on them. The researcher conducted the five interviews in person so that the interviewees could have enough time to speak freely. Also, the interviews were held in the same university located in Budapest. At the beginning of the interview session, the researcher asked for permission to audio record the interview sessions. Finally, the interview files were transcribed and listened to several times carefully to identify the common themes among the interviewees' answers. The participants were informed about the purpose and the process of the interview, also anonymity and confidentiality of the provided personal data and responses were ensured.

Data analysis

For data analysis purposes, thematic content analysis was conducted to explore the participants' perceptions of the efficiency of university EAP instruction. According to the aims of the study, the data collected from the interviews were transcribed and analyzed using summative content analysis (SCA). Since as explained by Hsieh and Shannon (2005), SCA is “a summative approach to qualitative content analysis which goes beyond mere word counts to include latent content analysis” (p. 1283). Through this content analysis approach, the content of the interviews was analyzed and interpreted based on the context of the meaning, and it went beyond the surface meaning of the words. To this aim, first, the trainees' interviews were transcribed and read carefully for common themes. Then, to understand the participants' underlying ideas, the themes were sorted out based on the research questions.

Results and discussion

At first, students were asked to talk about the purposes of EAP instruction at university through one main and two sub-questions “What do Hungarian EFL TTs perceive as the purpose(s) of their university EAP instruction?”. They were asked to speak about the goals of the EAP courses and education at university. For clarity and conciseness, the answers are being quoted. The responses are presented with the interviewees' pseudonyms.

The primary themes that emerged in the first part of the interviews were about the goals and purposes of EAP instruction at the university. The findings of the present study support the idea that academic writing is the most practiced and noticed component in the reviewed literature, followed by paraphrasing, summarizing, note-taking, and speaking (academic presentation). In the same line with the literature, Anna said that

I think the main purpose of these courses is to teach us how to write academic papers, how to conduct research, and to help us prepare for writing our thesis." She goes on to say…"To enable students to deal with texts," "Paraphrasing, summarizing, synthesizing, using literature, making references, research tools and methods, the process of doing research and writing a research paper.

Based on all the points mentioned in the above quotation from Anna's interview, academic writing and its components are of utmost importance in her opinion since she emphasizes the elements of academic writing in the process of conducting research projects and writing research reports.

Timi also believed that academic writing had been at the center of the goals of the academic courses. As she put it, “to give students the opportunity to participate in academic life if they wish so, and also to familiarize them with more academic texts and discussion topics, which also helps to learn some more formal expressions.“ In addition, the other three interviewees agreed that academic writing, particularly, paraphrasing and summarizing, were of the utmost importance when it came to EAP courses. In the same line with the others, Orsi noted that ”definitely improving the writing and comprehension skills“ and ”paraphrasing and summarizing“ were very important, for example; ”… getting to know a lot of texts and […] different types of thinking”.

Concerning the first research question, Kata also noted that “the main purposes are academic articles and to be able to summarize and paraphrase them, and also they are useful for writing skills”. Apart from that they also learn “how to write [their] thesis” as in these courses they are focusing on “how to write something that looks academic and professional.” Finally, Rita, as the last interviewee, felt that “[being] able to write [their] thesis” and “improving writing” were the essential purposes of the EAP courses. Besides, she maintained that “being able to speak in a better way, pronounce[ing] the words in a better and nicer way, also grammar should be developed. Also, in doing research.” This is also maintained and supported by Shaw (2016) in that the purpose of EAP might be the production of useful text for the intended community (p. 253). As with the first highlighted factor in EAP instruction by Jordan (1997), Rita, the fifth interviewee, held that, in her opinion, speaking in a better way was the first purpose of EAP instruction.

The students' answers to the first set of interview questions concerning the purposes of EAP courses and instruction supported the idea put forward by Jordan (1997), in which writing skill is the second important skill in the hierarchy of academic skills. Jordan (1997) maintained that listening and speaking in seminars were of utmost importance in EAP instruction, and academic writing came next. Finally, the listening skill with understanding and note-taking in lectures was highlighted (p. 44). The findings of the first research question, “what do Hungarian EFL teacher trainees perceive as the purpose(s) of their university EAP instruction?”, support the idea that academic writing is the most practiced and noticed component in the literature, which is also maintained and supported by Shaw (2016) in that the purpose of EAP might be the production of useful text for the intended community (p. 253).

The second set of themes emerged in relation to the perceptions of EFL TTs concerning the efficiency of EAP instruction. To this aim, the participants were asked if the EAP courses were adequately covered at the university. Moreover, they were invited to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the EAP courses and instruction that they attended at the university. Finally, they were asked to talk about how successful they thought EAP courses were in meeting their EAP needs at university.

The emerging themes included lack of enough EAP material coverage, lack of enough exposure, lack of practice opportunity, lack of interactive classes, lack of resources, teachers having different standards, and overcrowded classes. In addition, they identified the following themes as strengths of the EAP courses: professional and hardworking teachers, strict deadlines followed by constructive feedback.

Even though the first interviewee, Anna had a generally positive perception of the way EAP skills had been practiced in classes, she doubted the allocated time needed for those taught EAP skills was sufficient. She maintained that, “What we learn is enough for the intended purposes, I think.” She also believed that “teachers' explanations of the processes we should follow when writing an academic paper are very detailed and clear,” and that she “found the EAP courses I attended very useful.” However, she added that “It could have been helpful if we had had to write more “thesis-like” assignments.” She continued and added that students did not have enough time to practice the materials. Based on the interviewees' belief, this was rooted in overcrowded classes. Anna went on to say, “there are too many of us in the courses, and it would be impossible for teachers to correct long assignments that we write.”

In the same line, Timi added the lack of interactive classes as another weakness of EAP instruction at university. She noted that: “ I believe it's really up to the teacher and how they manage their courses. In a seminar, I think the more interactive the class is, the more effective it is indeed.” Timi also highlighted the importance of cooperative learning and regarded it as highly effective learning if they could work together in smaller groups and help each other that way.

The third interviewee highlighted the lack of EAP resources. Orsi said: “I think there is a lack of resources”. In the same line, Rita also hinted at the lack of EAP resources. She noted that the teacher “let us choose the articles that we liked” as homework; she added that this was primarily “good”, but since “we did not receive feedback and got a mark and still we do not know why we got that mark we could not see the difference in our levels of academic writing skills”. Right feedback from the teachers on their homework and projects proved to be the most highlighted idea throughout the interviews. In the same line, Jordan (1997) maintained that “no matter which kind of academic writing students undertake; they will need feedback regarding its acceptability and accuracy” (p. 171). Having a close look at the participants' statements, one can perceive the reason for their dissatisfaction with EAP instruction: most of the interviewees voiced their expectations of enough feedback on their work in order to know if they had fulfilled their tasks successfully. Furthermore, Rita considered her professional writing teacher as the best teacher because she had given them “tons of homework,” followed by the right feedback.

The fourth interviewee, Kata, noted another weakness of EAP instruction. She added that “another weakness is about the teachers; they know a lot, but I feel they were not taught these skills [EAP], and now they are teaching them. And sometimes they teach us to be objective, but they themselves were subjective”. Another issue voiced by Kata is the lack of interactive EAP classes with enough practice. This factor is of utmost importance in EAP instruction; however, as Ypsilandis and Kantaridou (2007) claimed, EAP instruction is now more crowded than before because many people across the globe are interested in tertiary education, and accordingly, EAP classes as a fundamental part of tertiary education are more overpopulated than other classes.

The last set of interview questions referred to the importance of EAP courses and instruction at university and their impacts on the students' future careers. The participants were asked, how Hungarian EFL TTs perceived the possible impact that university EAP instruction might have on their future career. Considering the EAP learners' needs, the purpose of this section of the interview was to find out what the participants thought about their EAP needs as future teachers, the relevance of the EAP course they have attended to their future career, and if their EAP courses at university have inspired them in any way.

Moreover, the interviewees were asked about their perceptions of EAP courses' relevance and instruction to their future careers. They all had approximately similar perspectives on the relevance of the EAP courses to their future in several ways in that all TTs believed that those courses were effective. Timi, Anna, and Orsi emphasized these courses' usefulness for future teachers, especially instructing adults. Also, Orsi believed that the EAP courses and instruction increased her self-confidence. On the other hand, Kata was concerned about reading many academic articles and believed that the EAP instruction had opened her eyes and helped her be a good reader. Finally, Rita identified improvement in language skills due to EAP instruction, and she implied that this would help her be a good and confident teacher. The findings of this set of interview questions are in line with Zou et al. (2017), who asserted that those workers who had been learning EAP skills before their careers were successfully using their language skills, especially their speaking skills. Moreover, it was found that those EAP learners were highly confident in their workplace, established effective team relationships and developed their interpersonal skills.

Therefore, the emerging theme in the last section of the interviews was is the lasting impact of EAP courses on future careers. Anna, as the first interviewee, noted that, “I think we have got a good basis what we can build on and further develop as teachers. For the time being, we have all the important knowledge that we need.” “The relevance of these courses is unquestionable.” She highlighted some critical factors for the long-term effectiveness of EAP courses on her future career and studies. She went on and said

I can mention three reasons: if I want to advance to higher studies in English, the knowledge I have gained in these courses will be a good basis for me as a teacher I will be able to read and make use of academic, pedagogical works (articles, books, etc.) I am not afraid of teaching ESP. There are certain topics (connected to foreign/ English language teaching) that I started to be interested in due to these courses.

In the same line, Timi, in an answer to the same question, said: “yes, definitely, as a teacher, it is very useful to have those skills; [good understanding, analytical reading, critical thinking] in order to help your students as well.” Orsi also strongly supported the idea of long-term effects of academic skills on her future endeavors. She continued: “yes, definitely, to be a PhD student and deal with adult learner” one would need such skills. She also went on and said “well, I can see the improvement”, “it gave me some sort of confidence”.

Moreover, the last two interviewees, Kata and Rita, were also positive about the future effects of EAP courses: Kata said,

I think it opened my eyes, I could read a lot of interesting articles […] I can also decide of something is well written or not, and in the future, I will be aware that why something is not good and give reasons for tha […] yes but not totally, I must have developed a lot but because of the lack of feedback I don't know if my writing is good or not.

Rita also maintained that: “they [EAP courses] all wanted to improve the language skills” this way she would expect positive long-term effects on her future endeavors. As far as the aforementioned quotations are concerned, they provide empirical evidence that the EAP courses are beneficial for both study and career purposes.

Conclusion

The results of the present small-scale qualitative case study indicate that EFL TTs recognize the purpose and importance of EAP instruction at the Hungarian university in Budapest; however, based on the findings of the current study, the following key issues need to be taken into consideration.

First of all, the related departments hosting the EAP courses should be aware of the introduction phase of EAP courses to first-year students as they are not thoroughly familiar with EAP components. According to the interview data, it is highly recommended to include a concise introductory part in the syllabus. Second, they should support the EAP teachers in handling overcrowded classes so that they can provide students with the right feedback. Third, it is highly recommended the EAP teachers include academic listening and speaking in their syllabi because, as Jordan (1997) maintained, speaking and listening are the highly emphasized components of EAP instruction. Fourth, it is also recommended that EAP teachers use peer correction as a constructive strategy in crowded classes to decrease the burden of being overloaded with many students' tasks to be corrected. Finally, concerning the effectiveness of EAP instruction in students' future careers, it is suggested that EAP teachers emphasize the usefulness of EAP instruction in their professional lives. Some of the interviewees believed that EAP courses are not appropriate for learners other than adults. However, as Scarcella (2014) emphasized, EAP instruction was also appropriate for younger students. We need to ensure that TTs are familiar with all EAP components and their age suitability.

Consequently, according to the present case study's interview data, the following implications could be considered by the program authorities. First, holding introductory sessions to introduce EAP instruction and EAP courses in particular. Second, encouraging EAP teachers to have a unified set of teaching standards. Third, requiring teachers to use EAP-related materials instead of their favorite previously practiced materials. Fourth, providing EFL pre-service trainees with various EAP components; listening, speaking, discussion, and argumentation.

Limitations of the study

Limitations are inevitable parts of any research project. As a small-scale case study, this study focused on EFL TTs' perceptions of their EAP instruction at a well-known Hungarian university in Budapest that runs EFL teacher training courses. As a limitation of the current project, the participants were not selected randomly. Also, involving more participants in the project would have yielded more valid results. Nevertheless, apart from these limitation, the study managed to accomplish the previously set objectives.

References

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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  • Dudley-Evans, T. , & St John, M. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes; A multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Fielder, C. (2011). An EAP course as preparation for academic study in English. Journal of the English for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group, 1523.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flowerdew, J. , & Peacock, M. (2001). Issues in EAP: A preliminary perspective. In J. Flowerdew , & M. Peacock (Eds.), Research perspectives on English for academic purposes (pp. 824). Cambridge, UK & New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    • Crossref
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  • Freeman, D. (1996). Redefining the relationship between research and what teachers know. In K. M. Bailey , & D. Nunan (Eds.), Voices from the language classroom. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Gillett, A. (2011, March 31). Background to EAP: What is EAP? Retrieved from UEfAP - using English for academic purposes. https://www.uefap.com/bgnd/.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Hsieh, H.-F. , & Shannon, E.S. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 12771288.

  • Hyland, K. (2006). English for Academic Purposes, an advanced resource book. London and New York: Routledgde.

  • Hyland, K. , & Hamp-Lyons, L. (2002). EAP: Issues and directions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1(1), 112.

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    • Crossref
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  • Khany, R. , & Tarlani-Aliabadi, H. (2015). Studying power relations in an academic setting: Teachers 'and students' perceptions of EAP classes in Iran. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 21, 7285.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kormos, J. , Kontra, E. , & Csölle, A. (2002). Language wants of English majors in a non-native context. System, 30(4), 517542. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0346-251X(02)00045-3.

    • Crossref
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  • Lockheed, M. , Hanushek, E. , & Policy, H. R. O. (1994). Concepts of educational efficiency and effectiveness. https://lst-iiep.iiep-unesco.org/cgi-bin/wwwi32.exe/[in=epidoc1.in]/?t2000=006905/(100).

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  • Medgyes, P. (2017, Agust 12). The (ir)relevance of academic research for the language teacher. ELT Journal, 491498. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccx034.

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  • OECD (2018). Effective teacher policies: Insights from PISA, PISA. OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264301603-en.

  • Öveges, E. (2017, May 17). Year of intensive language learning, A special program to rocket Hungarian students’ foreign language proficiency: A success story? Sustainable Multilingualism(10), 150174. https://doi.org/10.1515/sm-2017-0008.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prescott, F. J. (2011). Validating a long qualitative interview schedule. Working Papers in Language Pedagogy, 5, 1638.

  • Scarcella, R. (2014, April 25). Academic Language and English language learners. (D. Pompa, Interviewer) Retrieved 05 15, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFMkc9uwnW4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shaw, P. (2016). genRe analysis. In K. Hyland , & P. Shaw (Eds.), The RouTledge handbook of English foR academic puRposes (pp. 243255). London and New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
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  • Stufflebeam, D. (2001). Evaluation models. New Directions for Evaluation(89), 798. https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.3.

  • Ypsilandis, G. , & Kantaridou, Z. (2007). English for academic purposes: Case studies in Europe. Revista de Linguistica y Lenguas Aplicadas, 2, 6983.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zou, B. , Cheng, C. , & Hsu, W. (2017). EAP and occupations. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 14(2), 320326.

Appendix

Interview questions

  1. What do you think are the purposes of the EAP courses at university?

    • 1.1.  What do you think is the main purpose of EAP courses at university?

    • 1.2.  What are the skills that the EAP courses you have attended are intended to teach?

  2. Are EAP courses effectively covered at the university?

    • 2.1.  What are the strengths and weaknesses of the EAP course you have attended at the university?

    • 2.2.  How successful do you think EAP courses are in meeting the needs of the students?

  3. How do the contents of the EAP courses at university apply to foreign language teaching?

    • 3.1.  Considering the EAP learners' needs, do you think your EAP needs as a future teacher are met?

    • 3.2.  Do you see the relevance of the EAP course you have attended at university to your future career? If yes, what is it?

    • 3.3.  Do you think your EAP course at university has inspired you in any way? If yes, how?

  • Abdolerezapour, P. , & Tavakoli, M. (2013). University teachers and students perceptions of EAP methodologies and their effectiveness. The Social Sciences, 8(1), 4954.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dudley-Evans, T. , & St John, M. (1998). Developments in English for specific purposes; A multi-disciplinary approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fielder, C. (2011). An EAP course as preparation for academic study in English. Journal of the English for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group, 1523.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flowerdew, J. , & Peacock, M. (2001). Issues in EAP: A preliminary perspective. In J. Flowerdew , & M. Peacock (Eds.), Research perspectives on English for academic purposes (pp. 824). Cambridge, UK & New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Freeman, D. (1996). Redefining the relationship between research and what teachers know. In K. M. Bailey , & D. Nunan (Eds.), Voices from the language classroom. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gillett, A. (2011, March 31). Background to EAP: What is EAP? Retrieved from UEfAP - using English for academic purposes. https://www.uefap.com/bgnd/.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hsieh, H.-F. , & Shannon, E.S. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 12771288.

  • Hyland, K. (2006). English for Academic Purposes, an advanced resource book. London and New York: Routledgde.

  • Hyland, K. , & Hamp-Lyons, L. (2002). EAP: Issues and directions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 1(1), 112.

  • In Denzin, N. K. , & In Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.), (2018). The Sage handbook of qualitative research.

  • Jordan, R. R. (1997). English for Academic Purposes; A guide and resource book for teachers. (2009, 11th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Khany, R. , & Tarlani-Aliabadi, H. (2015). Studying power relations in an academic setting: Teachers 'and students' perceptions of EAP classes in Iran. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 21, 7285.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kormos, J. , Kontra, E. , & Csölle, A. (2002). Language wants of English majors in a non-native context. System, 30(4), 517542. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0346-251X(02)00045-3.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lockheed, M. , Hanushek, E. , & Policy, H. R. O. (1994). Concepts of educational efficiency and effectiveness. https://lst-iiep.iiep-unesco.org/cgi-bin/wwwi32.exe/[in=epidoc1.in]/?t2000=006905/(100).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Medgyes, P. (2017, Agust 12). The (ir)relevance of academic research for the language teacher. ELT Journal, 491498. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccx034.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OECD (2018). Effective teacher policies: Insights from PISA, PISA. OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264301603-en.

  • Öveges, E. (2017, May 17). Year of intensive language learning, A special program to rocket Hungarian students’ foreign language proficiency: A success story? Sustainable Multilingualism(10), 150174. https://doi.org/10.1515/sm-2017-0008.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Prescott, F. J. (2011). Validating a long qualitative interview schedule. Working Papers in Language Pedagogy, 5, 1638.

  • Scarcella, R. (2014, April 25). Academic Language and English language learners. (D. Pompa, Interviewer) Retrieved 05 15, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFMkc9uwnW4.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shaw, P. (2016). genRe analysis. In K. Hyland , & P. Shaw (Eds.), The RouTledge handbook of English foR academic puRposes (pp. 243255). London and New York: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stufflebeam, D. (2001). Evaluation models. New Directions for Evaluation(89), 798. https://doi.org/10.1002/ev.3.

  • Ypsilandis, G. , & Kantaridou, Z. (2007). English for academic purposes: Case studies in Europe. Revista de Linguistica y Lenguas Aplicadas, 2, 6983.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zou, B. , Cheng, C. , & Hsu, W. (2017). EAP and occupations. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 14(2), 320326.

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Helga DORNER

Associate Editors 

  • Csíkos, Csaba (Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary)
  • Csizér, Kata (Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary)
  • Dorner, Helga (Central European University, Hungary)

 

Editorial Board

  • Basseches, Michael (Suffolk University, USA)
  • Billett, Stephen (Griffith University, Australia)
  • Cakmakci, Gültekin (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
  • Damsa, Crina (University of Oslo,Norway)
  • Dörnyei, Zoltán (Nottingham University, UK)
  • Endedijk, Maaike (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
  • Fejes, Andreas (Linköping University, Sweden)
  • Guimaraes, Paula (University of Lisbon, Portugal)
  • Halász, Gábor (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Hansman, Catherine A. (Cleveland State University, USA)
  • Kroeber, Edith (Stuttgart University, Germany)
  • Kumar, Swapna (University of Florida, USA)
  • MacDonald, Ronald (University of Prince Edward Island, Canada)
  • Marsick, Victoria J. (Columbia University, USA)
  • Martensson, Katarina (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Matei, Liviu (Central European University, Hungary)
  • Matyja, Malgorzata (Wroclaw University of Economics, Poland)
  • Mercer, Sarah (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Nichols, Gill (University of Surrey, UK)
  • Nokkala, Terhi (University of Jyvaskyla, Finland)
  • Ostrouch-Kaminska (Uniwersytet Warminsko-Mazurski, Poland)
  • Pusztai, Gabriella (University of Debrecen, Hungary)
  • Ramesal, Ana (Barcelona University, Spain)
  • Reischmann, Jost (Bamberg University, Germany)
  • Rösken-Winter, Bettina (Humboldt, Germany)
  • Ryan, Stephen (Waseda University, Japan)
  • Török, Erika (Pallasz Athéné University, Hungary)
  • Wach-Kakolewicz, Anna (Poznan University of Economics and Business, Poland)
  • Watkins, Karen E. (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia)

 

 

 

Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
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Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
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Journal of Adult Learning, Knowledge and Innovation
Language English
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