English for Academic Purposes (or EAP) is usually concerned with teaching English to students who are involved in higher education at an English speaking university or college.
EAP students are usually current higher education students or they are hoping to go on to higher education after their EAP course. They need to learn English in order to succeed in their academic careers. Most EAP students are over 18 and they have chosen to study in an English medium university.
EAP courses are strictly tailored to suit the students’ specific language needs. Although it will include general English skills, emphasis is placed on the use of these skills in an academic setting. In addition, teachers will often find themselves teaching study skills as well (since most teachers will have been through a higher course at an English speaking college or university, they are used to the kind of study techniques and culture which the student is likely to find themself in).
Typical sub-skills taught will include:
- academic reading & note-taking
- academic writing (style for papers, reports and so on)
- library research skills
- specialized vocabulary relating to academia
- critical thinking and formalized debate
EAP can also move into specialized areas of study so that students who are attending a particular course will have training in the skills involved in their subject area.
Sometimes EAP courses are intended to raise students’ English levels so that they can enter university. In the United Kingdom this often means endeavoring to help students get a score of 6 or above in the IELTS examination. In the USA this can mean helping students attain a score of 500 or greater on the TOEFL.