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This year's EAP conference at the University of St Andrews

In 2018, we moved on to the topic of stance in a conference entitled No Innocent Bystanders: Stance and Engagement in Academic Discourse. The Plenary Speaker was Dr Zak Lancaster (Wake Forest University, North Carolina).

Road sign with the words "Where do you stand?" written on it

The title of his presentation was Stance and Judgment: What Discourse Analysis Can Reveal about Successful Student Writing in the Disciplines. Dr Lancaster explains: "Teachers often make tacit judgments about the quality of stance students project through their written texts, including their attitudes and epistemic judgments (Soliday, 2011). Stance therefore remains a “hidden” yet important factor of success in student coursework writing (Wingate, 2012). In this talk, I draw from three previous studies that together demonstrate how corpus-based linguistic analysis of student writing can expose patterns of stance expressions, ones that differentiate between beginning and advanced students, between disciplinary contexts, and between high- and low-graded papers. It can also reveal discrepancies, I show, between students’ stated beliefs about writing and their textual practices, as well as between instructors’ stated assessment criteria and patterns of stance evident in the papers they graded. Systematic linguistic analyses of student texts, I argue, can thus challenge our intuitions about good language use, revealing how our abstract expectations—for example that students display “engagement,” “analytic rigor,” and “critical thinking/reasoning”—can be made concrete through attention to the language choices students actually make."

Visit the Sociolinguistics calendar for more events.

EAP conference in previous years

ELT has held an EAP conference for teaching professionals for the last five years. We looked at materials in 2013 (Materials for Thought: moving best practice in EAP forward) and innovation in 2014 (Innovation in EAP: the key to the future), assessment in 2015 (Assessment in EAP: what’s the score?), and the balance between language and content (Finding the Balance: Language and Content in EAP) in 2016.

Having reflected on how language/grammar is inextricably linked with expressing and understanding meaning in academic content, in previous years, it seemed appropriate to go beyond grammar in 2017 and look at how cohesive, coherent discourse is achieved. We held our 2017 conference on 25th February, Go with the Flow: coherence and cohesion in EAP discourse. The plenary speaker was Nigel Caplan (University of Delaware), author of Grammar Choices for Graduate and Professional Writers. The plenary talk was entitled “Tricks of the Academic Writer's Trade: The Language of Cohesion". In this plenary talk, Nigel showed us how teaching students to use the resources of theme, grammatical metaphor, and reference can result in academic writing that "goes with the flow."

EAP Conference Presentations Archive

Visit the Conference presentations archive to have a look at presentations from previous years and the history of the conference.


Download copies of the EAP conference 2018 presentations

This year's presentations are available for download here:

2018 Dr Zak Lancaster (Pre-conference seminar) (PowerPoint, 67 KB)Stance and Academic Writing.

2018 Dr Zak Lancaster (Plenary) (PowerPoint, 2,758 KB) Stance and judgement: What Discourse Analysis Reveals about Successful Student Writing in the Disciplines.

2018 Sue Argent (PowerPoint, 90 KB) Teaching the language of reasonable persuasion.

2018 Dr Katrien Deroey (PDF, 1,079 KB) Importance marking in lectures: confronting EAP coursebooks with real lectures.

2018 Jenifer Spencer (PowerPoint, 387 KB) Teaching stance: is our approach too simplistic?

We will continue to add presentations to the list shown above as we receive copies from our speakers.

Digital programme

Download a copy of the EAP Conference digital programme 2018 (PDF, 6,609 KB)

Conference Facilitator

Kerry Tavakoli
Phone: +44 (1334) 462255