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Multiformity of Media Use in the EAP Classroom: Part One

  • Multiformity of Media Use in the EAP Classroom

The following blog post was written by Greg Danowskia faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement (CEIIA). This blog post is part of our Conference Reflection blog series. 

As part of the ATESL 2017 Conference, on Saturday, October 21, I delivered a presentation titled Multiformity of Media Use in an EAP Classroom with my colleagues Bob de Hoog and Chris Hyland. Each of us discussed ways in which his level of the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program at Bow Valley College introduces learners to Canadian media cultures.

Bob, an instructor in Transition to Academic English (TAE), showed how he uses easily accessible media, such as radio podcasts, to help his students develop solid content analysis skills.

Chris, who currently teaches Academic English 1 (AE1) in our program, talked about how AE1 builds on the skills learners acquire in TAE by introducing point of view and perspective into media analysis.

I explained how the level I teach, Academic English 2 (AE2), continues to work with Canadian media in the classroom in order to encourage learners not to simply use various media as study tools but to gradually become critical interpreters of media. My portion of the presentation focused on the collaborative practice used in AE2 called the Art Walk.

If you have ever visited the downtown campus of Bow Valley College, you will notice that there’s a lot of art on the walls. Art is donated by local artists, Artstream students, and from public institutions like the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Learn more

An added benefit of this activity is gaining an appreciation of Canadian visual art.

In the Art Walk activity, learners form small groups and work together to select one campus work of art. Then, they prepare and deliver a short oral presentation interpreting their chosen artwork. The presentation is followed by a five-minute Q&A session and/or a brief discussion. As AE2 learners analyze a work of art’s physical properties, subject matter, and formal elements, they develop higher-level interpretive skills and an ability to use English to think in the abstract. An added benefit of this activity is gaining an appreciation of Canadian visual art.

In our presentation, we demonstrated that all media-centred activities in EAP are learner-driven and aimed at progressive skills development. We concluded by saying that, as learners navigate through the richness and diversity of Canadian media cultures in their respective courses, they acquire strong academic English skills as well as improving their intercultural competencies. 

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