Olga Rossikhina, Ph.D. in Biology, Associate Professor, National University of Science Technology MISIS, Moscow, Russia.

Title: Designing an EAP/ESP course for undergraduate students at NUST MISIS

EAP/ESP is the most expected approach to language teaching in higher educational institution throughout the world because it aims at supporting students in their special subjects studying. In Russian universities, where the language of instruction is predominantly Russian, EAP/ESP course designers are often guided by perceived rather than actual learners’ needs, and this fact affects the course syllabus and methodology. NUST MISiS runs semester-long separate EAP courses for undergraduate students majoring in technical disciplines and linguistics. Needs analysis revealed that 3-rd year students have hardly ever used academic written genres in English, even the most common ones, such as an essay or report, outside the English class. Their only encounter with academic genres apart from reading research papers might have been writing an abstract for a student conference, or making a short presentation there. However, there is common understanding among teachers and students that academic writing develops cognitive skills which form essential for university graduate competences. In the process of writing learners have to search for information, critically analyse and evaluate it, organize a text logically and coherently and ultimately make writing a powerful communication tool. During 10 years of teaching EAP we have tried three different designs to make the course more relevant to learners- a classical EAP course, a combination of a classical EAP with IELTS materials and a task-based syllabus- and see that the last approach gets more positive feedback from learners. Currently we are piloting an ESP project, where while solving a professional case, written specifically for mining, IT, nanotechnology and economics majors, students not only master technical vocabulary and the skill of professional communication, but also become familiar with academic conventions. Such combination may be a viable solution to the problem of relevancy of EAP/ESP courses to undergraduate students.
Third-year students, regardless of their majoring in engineering or linguistics, have had a very limited encounter with academic genres in English in their academic life. Taking their needs in account, NUST MISIS is piloting an EAP/ESP module where students practice academic writing and oral skills while solving a professional case designed specifically for each institute.