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Editorial
20 September 2023

Global English education and EAP research in the New Era: An introduction

Publication: International Journal of English for Academic Purposes: Research and Practice
Volume 3, Number 2

Abstract

This article was published open access under a CC BY licence: https://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0.
Welcome to the sixth issue of the International Journal of English for Academic Purposes: Research and Practice (IJEAP), an open-access peer-reviewed periodical. IJEAP is pleased to partner with the 2022 Global English Education China Assembly (henceforth ‘the Assembly’) to publish this special issue, which is the second of a total of three special issues/columns of the 2022 Assembly (see also https://tesol.i21st.cn/2023/). Organized by China Daily in partnership with Shanghai International Studies University, the Assembly is a high-level international English Language Teaching (ELT) event held annually in China. The 2022 Assembly, held in Hangzhou (China), brought together over 2,600 ELT practitioners, scholars, and researchers in China and from abroad (Wei & Reynolds, 2023). At the time of writing, the 2023 Assembly is scheduled to be held in Macau (China), and we believe that it will be a great success as well!
This special issue of IJEAP features eight articles written by English education / EAP experts, researchers, and practitioners from China, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.A. In the first paper, ‘“The quality of learning depends on the quality of the Wi-Fi”: The views and experiences of EAP students during emergency remote teaching’, Karla K. de Lima Guedes reports a timely mixed-methods study. The quantitative data from a survey of 570 learners at one British university were presented in the form of descriptive statistics and the qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis, to fully explore EAP students’ access to electronic devices, internet connectivity, and their previous encounters with online learning and perspectives on emergency remote teaching. She found that: 1) although almost all students had access to electronic devices, a significant percentage of them lacked appropriate internet bandwidth for online learning and had little to no experience as online learners; and 2) students highly valued the convenience, flexibility, learner-centredness, and time and cost-saving advantages provided by online education, notwithstanding some concerns regarding internet access and the development of speaking skills in the online learning environment. This timely study contributes to our limited understanding of the shift from in-person to online delivery of EAP pre-sessional programmes since 2020 and its impact on students’ educational experiences.
In the second paper ‘International Students’ emotional engagement with, and well-being during, an online EAP pre-sessional course’, Ide Haghi focuses on the captioned two individual difference variables. Similar to the first paper, this paper also utilizes a mix-methods design, leveraging data from both online survey and follow-up interview data. A total of seventy-five students ultimately completed the questionnaire, fifteen of whom participated in the follow-up focus group interviews; the students were predominantly Chinese international postgraduates from a range of disciplines at one university in the U.K. Emotional engagement and well-being (operationalized as perceived stress) were measured with an instrument based on earlier research (e.g., Sun & Rueda, 2012), with a high level of reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = .88). One important finding was that the participants’ emotional engagement with the course was high, although they considered this online course experience as relatively stressful. Useful pedagogical implications are offered, such as providing additional scaffolding at initial stages of the online EAP courses and presenting the instructions and guidance via multimedia means (e.g., videos).
The third paper, ‘Teacher’s talk in warm-up sessions: A case study of the Chinese secondary EFL classroom’ by Xin Fang, turns to the Chinese EFL context. With the largest ELT population in the world (Liu, 2022), China provides a vast land of research opportunities for scholars and practitioners in ELT and EAP. In the Chinese EFL context, there remains a dearth of research on the organization and unfolding of classroom discourse from a conversation analysis perspective. To narrow this research gap, this paper examines the linguistic practices employed by a teacher during the warm-up phase of one class. This video-recorded class was sampled from the ‘National Public Service Platform for Educational Resources’, a database comprised of ELT class videos rated as outstanding by China’s Ministry of Education. Analyses show that the teacher’s language use supported students’ engagement with sociopragmatic and pragmalinguistic activities. Methodologically, despite its relatively small sample size, this exploratory case study confirms the value of applying conversation analysis to research into teachers’ use of verbal and embodied language within classroom settings.
The fourth article ‘Nominalization in high- and low-rated L2 undergraduate writing’ by Tetyana (Tanya) Bychkovska and Joseph J. Lee presents a comparative corpus-based quantitative analysis of nominalization use in university student papers. Specifically, they analysed nominalizations in terms of frequencies, unique types, abstract/concrete and human/non-human categories, nominal stance types, and modification types for two corpora: high-rated (A graded) and low-rated (C graded) L2 undergraduate research papers. No statistically significant differences were found in any of the examined classifications, suggesting that high- and low-rated student papers did not differ in their use of nominalization in terms of the above-mentioned areas. In connection with data analysis, it was commendable that this article reported measures (e.g., r) of effect size, although IJEAP does not mandate effect size reporting (Wei, 2023); in terms of effect size interpretation, it would be better if the authors could attempt to develop a set of more effect size benchmarks rather than relying on the generic labels (e.g., ‘small’), given ‘the topic-specific nature of effect size interpretation’ (Wei & Hu, 2019, p. 1216). The article concludes with useful pedagogical implications such as making students aware of the prominence of nominalization in contemporary academic writing, and of the important functions that it serves (e.g., making texts formal, objective, concise, and cohesive).
The next two articles are shorter empirical papers focusing on China, a vast land full of opportunities for English education and EAP research. The fifth article ‘L2 Students’ behavioural intention to use motivation journals: Insights from PLS-SEM analysis’ by Austin Pack, examines one Sino-British university in the Chinese mainland which uses English as the medium of instruction (EMI). This study utilized partial least squares structural equation modelling to explore how EAP students’ perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of the motivational journals affected students’ intention to use motivational journals in the future. In light of the importance of motivation in successful language learning and the potential for journals to increase L2 motivation, more studies similar to Pack’s research on the effectiveness of using journals as a motivational tool are needed.
The sixth article ‘The role of English at key Chinese universities: Englishmedium instruction, international cooperation, and English-language websites’ by Rining Wei, Mengxia Kong, and Jing Wang surveys the websites of top-tier universities in China. Their study replicated Arik and Arik’s (2014) so far the research within the World Englishes paradigm has focused mostly on Inner and Outer Circle countries and their English varieties (Seidlhofer, 2009 innovative research design of surveying the focal universities’ websites, and examined the role of English in major Chinese universities along three dimensions, viz. provision of EMI, international cooperation with U.S. or U.K.-based institutions, and website languages. Indeed, (partial) replication studies (especially those with improved research designs) are needed in that the importance of replication research is increasingly recognized in the broad field of applied linguistics.
The last two articles are reflective practice-based papers, and both offer useful insights and suggestions applicable outside their immediate contexts. The seventh paper, ‘EAP practitioner formation in a low-resource EMI context: Developing an in-house EAP continuing professional development (CPD) programme in Lebanon’ by Angela Hakim, provides an overview of the multiple components of a CPD programme developed for EAP tutors at one university in Beirut, Lebanon. The university in question, aspiring to redesign its EAP module to address the growth in EMI across multiple departments and the need for discipline-specific English language and literacy provision, consulted Hakim and her doctoral supervisor. Since then, she was closely involved in the design and implementation of the CPD programme for the tutors to improve their delivery of the EAP module. When sharing her valuable experience and insights, Hakim utilizes the concept of ‘EAP practitioner formation’, a term proposed by Bruce (2021) in the inaugural issue of IJEAP.
The last paper in this special issue, ‘How an increased awareness of the Chinese education system can improve online student engagement when teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP)’ by Edwina Coghlan, offers practical suggestions to enhance the quality of online EAP courses. When sharing good practice, Coghlan utilizes the Online Engagement Framework for Higher Education, a model developed in collaboration between the University of Southern Queensland and Monash University in Australia. She discusses how to optimize social, cognitive, behavioural, collaborative, and emotional engagement of Chinese students vis-à-vis what she called ‘Chinese learning characteristics’.
We hope that the readers will enjoy reading the articles in this IJEAP special issue for the 2022 Global English Education China Assembly. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the editorial board members, reviewers, and copy editors for their valuable input and support, and to the authors for their fine submissions!
Starting from 2023, IJEAP will adopt the volume-issue format in labelling the issues. Put differently, we will use ‘Issue 2, Volume 3’ rather than ‘the Autumn 2023 Issue’. And IJEAP does not charge a fee for publication or peer review. We look forward to your continued support and your submissions to both the special and regular issues of IJEAP in the coming years.

References

Arik, B. T., & Arik, E. (2014). The role and status of English in Turkish higher education: English is the language of instruction in around 20% of the programs in Turkish universities. English Today, 30(4), 5–10.
Bruce, I. (2021). Towards an EAP without borders: Developing knowledge, practitioners, and communities. International Journal of English for Academic Purposes: Research and Practice, 1(1), 23–36.
Liu, J. (2022). Discourses of Chinese ELT stakeholders on native speakerism. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 45(2), 227–246.
Sun, J. C., & Rueda, R. (2012). Situational interest, computer self-efficacy and self-regulation: Their impact on student engagement in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43, 191–204.
Wei, R. (2023). Editor’s note. International Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 3(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1080/15244113.2020.1711646.
Wei, R., & Hu, Y. (2019). Exploring the relationship between multilingualism and tolerance of ambiguity: A survey study from an EFL context. Bilingualism, 22(5), 1209–1219.
Wei, R., & Reynolds, B. L. (2023). TESOL in the New Era: Introduction to the 2021 Global English Education China Assembly Special Issue. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 5(3), 84–87.

Information & Authors

Information

Published In

International Journal of English for Academic Purposes: Research and Practice
Volume 3Number 220 September 2023
Pages: 69 - 73

History

Published online: 20 September 2023
Published in print: 20 September 2023

Authors

Affiliations

Barry Lee Reynolds
Faculty of Education / Centre for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, University of Macau, China
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China (Corresponding Author: [email protected])

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