Designing an EAP curriculum for Transfer: a focus on knowledge

  • Laetitia Monbec National University of Singapore
Keywords: English for Academic Purposes, Transfer, curriculum design


Defined as occurring when “learning in one context or with one set of materials impacts on performance in another context or with another set of materials” (Perkins & Salomon, 1994, p.6452), transfer is a crucial goal for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) provisions in tertiary settings because EAP modules aim to develop students’ academic literacy to enable them to meet the linguistic demands of their discipline (Hyland & Hamp-Lyons, 2002). The EAP literature on transfer tends to look at this issue from a psychological perspective, fronting aspects of the learner’s attributes (such as motivation and self-efficacy) as the main variables in the transfer equation and often leaving aside the impact content knowledge may have. However, concepts drawn from Legitimation Code Theory (LCT), such as Specialization and Semantics (Maton, 2014b) provide a means to bring knowledge into the analysis of transfer from an EAP module into disciplinary modules. LCT enables the investigation of the organising principles of knowledge practices and as such it allows for an exploration of the constraints to transfer there may be in an EAP curriculum. This paper first problematizes the issue of transfer from a general EAP provision. It then describes the two LCT dimensions, the questions they raise and the solutions they point to. Specialization provides a means to analyse what is valued in the EAP curriculum and what is missing. Semantics, and in particular semantic gravity, can help to view the syllabus items in terms of context-dependency. Examples of implementation are provided.

Author Biography

Laetitia Monbec, National University of Singapore
Lecturer in the Centre for English Language and Communication; Coordinator of the EAP module.
How to Cite
MonbecL. (2018). Designing an EAP curriculum for Transfer: a focus on knowledge. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 12(2), A88-A101. Retrieved from
Research Articles