English for Academic Purposes. Call Number: PE D Routledge Applied Linguistics is a series of comprehensive resource books, providing students and researchers with the support they need for advanced study in the core areas of English Language and Applied Linguistics. Each book in the series guides readers through three main sections, enabling them to explore and develop major themes within the discipline. Section A, Introduction, establishes the key terms and concepts and extends readers' techniques of analysis through practical application.
Section B, Extension, brings together influential articles, sets them in context, and discusses their contribution to the field. As a result of this interrelation, activity systems emerge and are then subdivided into subsystems associated with the different disciplines, and scientific and professional fields in question. The two authors argue that the organization of genres used in the university should account for the different activity systems that characterize the communities of which they are part.
One of those systems - the activity of teaching and learning - directly concerns this study, insofar as what is read and written therein is at the service of learning. In this sense, writing is linked to the elaboration, construction, negotiation, and reflection of knowledge, as well as to the evaluation of content learned.
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In this regard, Carlino argues that in the Latin American context we must take care of literacy practices in the academic context and for this, within a genre-based teaching approach, it is important to differentiate instructional genres from expert genres. While both categories have continuities and dependencies, they most clearly differ in their contrasting aims. Therefore, if the predominant writing practices serve to validate acquired knowledge, then we are dealing with instructional genres; however, if the practices aim more at evaluating the level of disciplinary integration, then they can be considered expert genres.
In general, the former genres circulate more in an educational context, consisting of tests in class or take-home , reading responses, essays , and research projects, whereas the latter gravitate more towards the academic-professional context, i. In order to understand the kinds of epistemic practices students are learning in their course work, we examined from a qualitative approach how teachers and students visualize literacy in academic writing in undergraduate programs in Science Biochemistry, Biology and Mathematics and Humanities History and Art at a Chilean university, and also, what genres circulate in those disciplinary communities.
To do this, researchers and qualified technical staff enter the field and interact with the different informants as well as with the academic community in order to collect the necessary information through semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The transcriptions of the material collected, the coding process, analysis and interpretation of the results, as presented in the following pages, have constituted a significant corpus that has not only motivated dissemination to the participating communities but also to the sponsoring institution.
Finally, there is no doubt that in these communities academic literacy is carried out through a deep nexus between writing, knowledge and learning within a particular academic field. This work is framed in a qualitative and exploratory approach. As has been mentioned above, its main objective is to determine based on the genres that circulate at a Chilean university. To account for how literacy in academic writing is addressed in the disciplinary communities of Art, History, Biochemistry, Biology and Mathematics we needed to identify the genres that circulate in each of these disciplines, and determine the way literacy in academic writing is conceived.
In both cases, the process of gathering information will be addressed based on teachers' and students' Social Representations SR Jodelet, It should be pointed out that, for the purposes of this study, a SR will be conceived as a belief that someone may have about the issue at hand, and that is identifiable in the discourse of teachers and students through the different coding procedures that entail content analysis.
That is to say, the SR in this case has a declarative character, being the way reality is reconstructed. As Araya argues, the importance of addressing a social phenomenon from the SR perspective is that it:. In other words, this construct allows us to understand how interactions within a given community occur as well as the reasons that motivate them, because, as Abric states, representation, discourse and practices are mutually generated.
In summary, social representations SR are, first of all, both a product and a process of an external reality appropriation activity and of a psychological and social elaboration of that reality. Second, they would be on the basis of knowledge socially elaborated and shared, and constituted based on the experiences, information, and models of thought that are received and constructed.
Finally, they would be the practical knowledge that is part of a group's social construction of a common reality and that intends to essentially dominate that environment, understand and explain the facts and ideas of our universe of life Jodelet, Finally, the data collected were processed using the procedures of content analysis technique, as they allow us to obtain the latent content of the collected information.
It is noted that, given the nature of this study, the obtained results are not generalizable to other academic communities from other educational institutions. First, we contacted the directors of the target communities, who then referred us to the other two informants, the teachers and their respective students. Data collection was carried out through either in-depth interviews or focal groups. The specifications of the data analyzed are presented in the following table :.
What texts do students write along their major programs? Tell us about the last writing activity in which you were involved at university. What did you do? How did you do it? First, recordings of the interviews and focus groups were transcribed and separated according to conversation turns, in order to make the analysis process easier. In addition, a number was assigned to each of them to facilitate subsequent search in case we need to reference examples.
Then, we identified the registration units in the corpus, that is, those analyzable parts that had relevant content to the aims of this study. In this case, our interest is in all the information related to the following variables:. For the purpose of simplifying the analysis, each one of these units was paraphrased, keeping the information that is useful for the investigation.
Later, we carried out the coding process, assigning categories to each of the identified register units. This procedure is named microanalysis and it is based on a line-by-line work, although it is also possible to apply it to a word, sentence or paragraph. For this reason, it is possible that a registration unit contains more than one category according to its content. One example of the coding process described is presented in the following table :.
Finally, the repetition of the categories raised in the sample according to each community was reviewed, removing information that is not significant in this regard. The importance of this task is that it will determine, on the one hand, when it is an individual representation and when a SR, and, on the other, what the genres circulating in the communities are.
To raise and homogenize data related to genres, first, the name or label used by community members was identified; second, the characterization they made of these genres was formulated, to establish relationships and find similarities among the named genres. Finally, respondents were asked to confirm a sample of the genres. In this section, we present the analysis of the data regarding the identification of genres circulating in each community and their conceptions in relation to the ways of tackling literacy in academic writing.
Within the community of Arts three different sub-disciplines coexist in the same undergraduate program: Visual Arts, Art History and Art Theory. Important differences were detected between the first and the last two programs in the two aspects our analytical work focuses on.
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In all three subdisciplines, the majority of the genres identified from the SR of teachers and students are instructional, but the ensayo is the only one that appears in the 3 sub-disciplines, without major changes. As some students comment:. For example, in Art Theory, they teach you about the structure of an ensayo The book , however, appears uniquely in the Visual Arts, and does not circulate in other communities.
Its purpose is to have students reflect on the compilation of works that they have done both during the creation process, and when it is ready to be exhibited to the public. It is multimodal, because it uses different materials leather, wood, wool, aluminum, etc. Its mode of discourse is informative and narrative.
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The book corresponds to the end-of degree project to be submitted by students in this sub-discipline and it is the only genre in the community that resembles expert genres. One student comments:. I paint, and everything I have painted and what influences my work, all that is in my Book , it's like Art History and Art Theory subdisciplines share three academic genres that do not appear in the Visual Arts. The first is called biografema , and requires connecting the creation of an artistic work to an aspect or particular events of the biography of the author.
Its predominant mode of discourse is narrative and it is also known in the community as texto-artista. Then there is the diccionario , recording the definition of concepts used in the community and that are relevant to the analysis being made of an art work. Its predominant discursive organization is informative. It can also be regarded as an instructional genre, in which an argumentative-informative mode of discourse is recognized. One teacher comments:. So I teach them to stop and think of words [ Regardless of the subdiscipline concerned, all the genres have a strong formative orientation, which students themselves recognize along with the role of the instructor in providing guidance.
For example, one student comments:. In history, we must write, for example, an article and it must have a very determined structure, the teacher would give you guidelines stating you need to have paragraphs, some of them of a given extension, how the written part goes, as well as the images, and she would give you themes you had researched before, and also themes you had presented about before. So, it all depends on the teacher. These guided exercises help the students develop their written competence while they familiarize the students with the methodology underlying each subdiscipline and its particular way of writing.
An instructor comments:. The main difference between the sub-disciplines lies not only in the fact that they have exclusive genres, but in the importance that the genres have within the communities. In the Visual Arts - with a more applied approach - each of the productions made by the student will shape his style and his future career. This is mainly recognized in the book , because, as was mentioned above, it works as a portfolio in which it is possible to browse through works, proposals or art interventions carried out during the student's' academic formation.
It also serves as a way for the student to be known from a personal perspective and to set up his artistic graduation project. In the undergraduate programs in Art, Art Theory and Art History with a more theoretical approach written production is carried out as an exercise that does not transcend the academic community and that is focused on showing a portion of specialized knowledge.
For example, through the development of research reports or essays students are asked to investigate an artistic phenomenon or to pose a research problem that can be analyzed through the relation of various literature sources. In this case, the focus would be much more on learning the methodology of each area, which brings them closer to a formative approach of the discipline. It is also possible to recognize some support specialists give novice community members.
As its name implies, its purpose is to propose an investigation about a problem posed based on the student's observations; its mode of discourse organization is predominantly argumentative and it arises from a question raised in that is appropriate to the formulation of a project.
This genre brings the student close to the demands of his professional life. As one teacher comments:. Because in science, one tries to convince the other of what you want to do is feasible, it's like, Its mode of discourse organization is predominantly informative, although argumentative segments are recognized. As a student comments:. One teacher describes this:.
Likewise, the informe de trabajo experimental is identified, which meets the objective of recording relevant aspects of the development of a laboratory work. The first one, the prueba, has the purpose to demonstrate specialized knowledge, especially from the integration of sources. The second, the tesis , develops an end-of-degree research project based on an experimental laboratory work.
Its predominant discourse modality is informative, with clearly argumentative segments, especially those related to the analysis and discussion of the data. As in Biology, students write in Biochemistry to acquire the particular method of work of this science; although, in this case, there is no support from teachers to deal with this learning process.
Overall, this is because teachers believe that the teaching of writing in higher education is not something they should be responsible for. Teaching writing is part of the competences students should bring, because we can not dilute time devoted to a specialty in going back and form what was not previously formed [ Precisely, the lack of support and formative orientation is what is recognized from the analysis of the SR of the community members.
Considering the specificity of the genres that have been mentioned and that teachers generally do not provide support in the development of these writing activities, students are forced to rely on their intuition to comply with what they are required to do, clinging to what they know. A student comments:. The above statement highlights the strategy used by the community newcomers: the observation of models.
Finally, it should be noted that, although in this community genres that move towards the expert types are recognized, the texts produced are not considered an advance in the knowledge of the discipline. In fact, the only possibility for these texts to transcend is ascribing them to a research project developed by the teachers of the community. In this case, they would serve as part of the input for a scientific publication, but may not constitute one by themselves. In the History community, internal differences among the teachers result in different ways of dealing with writing activities.
Thus, it is possible to consider a traditional school and a new or interpretive one. Despite this difference, the genres that were identified were cross-disciplinary. One key instructional genre is the control de lectura, which aims to record the critical analysis of historical facts based on a given literature, guided by one or more questions. The discourse organization is eminently informative. Another recognized genre is the ensayo , which aims to discuss a historical problem, relying on specialized literature, with a prevailing argumentative discursive mode.
Finally, the tesis , an end-of-degree work that shares the same purposes and mode of discourse as that of the ensayo. The former makes an in-depth investigation of a historical event with support from various sources, especially primary sources, and whose prevailing discursive mode is argumentative.
The latter aims at disseminating research conducted in the discipline.
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It usually uses various semiotic modes and comes from other discourse communities Science, Engineering. Within the interpretative school identified in this community, stands out the support given by teachers, who generate instances to give feedback and guide the writing work, so that the students manage to learn the conventions of the discipline. As two teachers comment:. Then, students present what they have analyzed and I also take this opportunity to make some observations and complementing a little the interpretation of the text.
In many cases the teacher aids in each of the courses, provides the primary support for the students in their process of integration into the community. By contrast, within the traditional school identified in this community, the instructors themselves tend to have a more prescriptive orientation, pointing out how things should be done in the discipline, without explaining why they work this way. These instructors focus on evaluating the knowledge gained rather than recognizing the degree of insertion of helping students integrate into the specialty. Then in some courses students have to do some short research, which are essentially bibliographic, [ There they also write texts, but, as I say, bibliographic and [ A fundamental part of the problem is that students, in their final years of study, are expected in their tesis to contribute to the disciplinary knowledge, even though they were never guided on how to construct their texts in class, nor were the tasks properly contextualized according to their future work as researchers.
Against this prescriptive scenario, students must generate their own strategies to meet these demands:. I was inspired to write the sections from other tesis [ But it was not like the teacher gave me a paper and said "There's the structure ". Then I clinged to what I had been taught about doing smaller research work. Then I saw other tesis. Despite these difficulties, the texts produced by the students are recognized as contributing to some extent to the development of knowledge in their area.
In this community three genres are recognized, which correspond to the so-called instructional genre category. In the first case, we find the prueba , which aims at recording the acquired knowledge and learning related to solving mathematical problems. Its discursive mode is predominantly informative, but it can sometimes be argumentative.
It uses various multimodal artifacts and uses mathematical language. There are two types according to the resolution time, the place in which it develops in class or outside , the complexity of the required skills, and the depth of analysis necessary to answer them:. You learn, through the different pruebas and assignments, how teachers correct and the writing style they consider the best [ The second genre is the tesis , which aims at establishing the research capacity in the discipline based on the discussion of a mathematical problem.
Its prevailing discourse mode is argumentative:. I'm ready to apply. Save course for later.
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Send me a PDF copy. I want more info. Highlights Improve and develop your academic English language proficiency. Learn to operate effectively in an Australian academic setting, with topics including study techniques, and expectations of student to lecturer relations. Why choose this course? What to expect. Learn from the best All of our on-going English language teachers have postgraduate qualifications specialising in TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages , and a minimum of 15 years teaching experience, so we can cater to your educational background and cultural perspective.
Careers and outcomes. Course articulation To progress into an undergraduate or postgraduate program that has an IELTS entry requirement of 6. Details and units.
When you apply for this course, we will recommend which English course you should enrol in. Your actual fees may vary depending on which units you choose. You can apply for scholarships to help you with study and living costs. Scholarship eligibility. You may also be eligible for Centrelink payments. Study English in a university environment Develop your academic English in preparation for undergraduate or postgraduate studies at QUT.
Other courses you might be interested in. View courses for:. Single degrees. Double degrees. English for Academic Purposes 1 Extended Duration 15 weeks full-time. English for Academic Purposes 1 Standard Duration 10 weeks full-time. English for Academic Purposes 2 Extended Duration 15 weeks full-time. English for Academic Purposes 2 Standard Duration 10 weeks full-time. English for Academic Purposes 3 Extended Duration 15 weeks full-time.