Working within EAP is in a way similar to existing in the realm of the evening or morning twilights. Everyday you are an English language professional with an academic twist. That academic twist is not just concerning language but the culture of academia as well as the content. At times you are steeply learning and teaching all at the same time which is why the metaphor of the twilight seems quite appropriate. It is not exactly day or night. In the same way that EAP is not exactly ELT but at the same time you are not exactly traditional academic faculty of assistant professors and professors, yet in your teaching sphere you touch both worlds. This personally is an exciting place to participate in on a daily basis. There is always something new to learn and to explore as well as to teach.
However, how do you stay in touch with the EAP world around you. There are many ELT blogs and chat forums as well as published academic articles and the same goes for higher education. You move between the two worlds but only some parts are relevant to you others not. Fortunately there are a few places you can go that are at least 70-100% relevant depending on your EAP environment:
Twighlight destination number 1: Journal of English for Academic Purpose (JEAP)
This journal is available quarterly every year and in its own words:
The Journal of English for Academic Purposes provides a forum for the dissemination of information and views which enables practitioners of and researchers in EAP to keep current with developments in their field and to contribute to its continued updating. JEAP publishes articles, book reviews, conference reports, and academic exchanges in the linguistic, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic description of English as it occurs in the contexts of academic study and scholarly exchange itself. A wide range of linguistic, applied linguistic and educational topics may be treated from the perspective of English for academic purposes; these include: classroom language, teaching methodology, teacher education, assessment of language, needs analysis; materials development and evaluation, discourse analysis, acquisition studies in EAP contexts, research writing and speaking at all academic levels, the sociopolitics of English in academic uses and language planning.
As many EAP practictioners are developing their own materials based on their unique situations I have found that JEAP has upto date and cutting edge articles that keep me informed not only about materials but current reasearch happening in this field. When you visit the site you will notice that this is a pay for publication but through your university library/information centre you will most probably beable to access it for free or request a subscription.
Twilight destination number 2: BALEAP
They have recently launched a website which is quite new but it is their conferences I wish to highlight here. All of the content is EAP oriented and for the first time in a long while every session I attended was highly relevant to my EAP environment with high quality speakers.
Twilight destination number 3: Professor Ken Hyland
He is chair of Applied Linguistics and Head of the Centre for Applied English Studies at The University of Hong Kong. Much of his research, particularly on corpra is where the EAP publishing world is slowing moving towards. He always seems to be slightly ahead and on the cutting edge of new findings and research that will have implications for the way we teach language. He can communicate clearly in his writing and always find something new and insightful for those twilight hours.
Twilight destination number 4: Your own institution
Your own academic institution is one of the best learning grounds to keep abreast of all of the needs of your students and of the faculties. Ideas for using your institution wisely:
1-Find out what the learners will be doing once they leave your classes and join faculty or while they are in faculty coming to your classes. I have invested time in reading the whole of the Freshman courses and finding out what happens in recitation classes, lectures, office hours, assignments, presentations etc, talking to some of the lecturers.
2-Learn again: Since entering EAP, I have found a love of Geometry, trigonometry, calculus, quantum physics and natural sciencesthat I never had at school. Be open to the learning process. this also makes your teaching dynamic.
3-Immerse yourself in the academic environment: Join symposiums, go to lectures etc. Do not be afraid to join other faculty because you are not a professor. It will help make your EAP environment more meaningul and help build important bridges to faculty members who can help you develop you EAP programmes.
At the dawning of this Turkish twilight hour I leave you with Yeats and wish you well on your journeys in the EAP twilight:
Come, heart, where hill is heaped upon hill:
For there the mystical brotherhood
Of sun and moon and hollow and wood
And river and stream work out their will;
Extract from Into the twilight by William Butler Yeats