EAP: Imagining a new tertiary community

  • Caroline Malthus Te Puna Ako Learning Centre Unitec Institute of Technology
  • Jacqueline Widin Adult Learning and Applied Linguistics Program
Keywords: English for Academic Purposes (EAP), imagined communities, relational, student voice, sociocultural, agency, academic preparation, Laos,


Through a case study of an English for Academic Purposes and academic readiness program in Lao PDR, this article explores how the particular needs of the students can be taken into account in the design and teaching approaches of such programs. The program, delivered for international students preparing to study in Australia or New Zealand, suggests ways to incorporate students’ voices, which, in the pressure to prepare students to cope with disciplinary and academic study demands, may be overlooked in the design of current EAP programs. We found that questions written by students gave insights into ways they were imagining their future study communities. Our responses involved drawing on the Lao students’ previous educational experiences to highlight the diverse learnings and insights they could bring to their new contexts. Working from sociocultural perspectives and with insights provided by the notion of relational agency, we reflect on ways that these approaches provided a basis for students to observe and experience the deployment of new academic skills and related social practices as additions to their existing repertoires.

Author Biographies

Caroline Malthus, Te Puna Ako Learning Centre Unitec Institute of Technology
Senior Lecturer Te Puna Ako Learning Centre Background in Applied Linguistics and Language Teacher Education. Current role includes academic reading and writing at all levels, coordination of PG programme, mentoring, spoken language for clinical practice and for workplace.
Jacqueline Widin, Adult Learning and Applied Linguistics Program
Jacqueline Widin is a senior lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
How to Cite
MalthusC., & WidinJ. (2018). EAP: Imagining a new tertiary community. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 12(2), A75-A87. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/503
Research Articles