International tutors visit University to enhance English teaching

The English Language Teaching Unit has organised a visit from a group of six English tutors from the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE) for a two week training course to develop their understanding of teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP).  

The tutors followed a busy schedule of lectures, seminar and workshops with tutors from the ELTU on topics including higher education in the UK, materials evaluation and the development of students’ listening skills and strategies. They also had an opportunity to witness EAP in practice through observations of classes at the ELTU. 

Their project to present a proposal for an action research project for their own context was introduced through an external presentation on Action Research from Dr Phil Wood from the School of Education. They also read journal articles and wrote their own reflective journals.

As a result of this collaboration, James Lambert, Assistant Director of the ELTU has been invited to deliver a workshop at East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai, China. This conference brings together Chinese teachers of English from all over China to learn about the delivery of EAP. 

Philip Horspool, Acting Director of the ELTU said: "This is a great opportunity for us to show and share our expertise in EAP teaching programmes. This gives us access to teachers all over China looking to transfer their teaching skills to EAP and will hopefully lead to further groups coming to Leicester to undertake a course similar to the one outlined above."

One participant said: "The whole programme was rewardingly intensive. Each day, five solid hours were spent on three sessions from different instructors. Even back home, we should finish extended reading and reflective journal before bedtime. As for content, almost all aspects of teacher professional development in the domain of EAP (English for Academic Purposes) were covered, ranging from language skills, teaching methodology, material development, teaching assessment to action research. In addition, we made several classroom observations and saw for ourselves how EAP teaching was conducted at Leicester.

"What impressed me the most was the interactiveness in classroom settings. Unlike in China, here teaching goals were achieved via the closely-knit collaboration between the teacher and the students. To be more exact, student engagement was fully guaranteed because the students must constantly get ready for the teacher’s academic challenges. Though a little bit exhausting, it was the way “real stuff” was learnt by heart.

"We are now celebrating our traditional Chinese Spring Festival, yet my feeling in Leicester still linger on and I can clearly remember those days I spent with my distinguised teachers and colleagues. It is a beneficial and memorable experience in my life. Here I'd like to extend my gratitude to all teachers for their contribution in the training session."