10 October 2017
A new organisation, EAP in Ireland, has been organised to develop a community in Ireland similar to BALEAP. EAP in Ireland hopes to give everyone the space to share perspectives and experiences about the EAP industry as well as share best practice and research. The organisation seeks to bridge the gap between research and practice by creating a community for those who are involved with academic English within Ireland in any capacity.
The idea for the organisation emerged during the 2017 Study Abroad conference at University College Cork. During a chat over coffee, Julie Butters, who teaches at University College Cork and had just moved to Ireland after working in EAP in the UK for eleven years, shared her ideas and observations. Jessica Garska, who teaches at Trinity College Dublin, similarly had hopes for creating a community and organisation after studying EAP and working in EAP for the past two years in Ireland. As the conversation went on, it was clear that an organisation was needed to support the growing EAP community. From this small idea, the gears started turning and the plan was set into motion as an effort to support an educational sector that is currently in the initial stages of development, yet on the edge of quick and enormous growth.
An initial interest meeting was held at the Centre for English Language Learning and Teaching, Trinity College Dublin in September. The aim of this meeting was to discuss the goals of EAP in Ireland, to evaluate the current environment of EAP within Ireland, to brainstorm the future of EAP within Ireland, and to consider the voluntary roles that are needed within the organisation.
The core of this meeting was the mind-mapping activity where the participants had a chance to brainstorm the current state and future direction of EAP in Ireland. Three questions were discussed:
From these questions it was noted that the growth potential, calibre of practitioners, and the numbers of learners are all current positive aspects of the industry. Areas identified for development include status and recognition of the sector and teachers, the creation of specific EAP CPD, training, and modules, accreditation, research, and a distinct community/network. To develop these areas, it was suggested that materials, assessment, professional/career structure, and credited EAP modules in universities be developed. Further, there was interest in doing research, publishing research, organising conferences, and efforts to raise organisations’ and the country’s awareness of EAP and its purpose.
The goals for this academic year are to gauge interest and involvement, organise and hold the first EAP in Ireland conference, and organise initial workshops. To accomplish this, and as EAP in Ireland is a national organisation, the group wants to make sure that they give as many people the chance to attend sessions and become involved wherever they may be located. Meetings with the same aim are now organised in Cork (20th October), Limerick (3rd November), and Galway (TBC). If you are interested in following the development of the organisation, including conference and workshop announcements, join their Facebook group EAP in Ireland, follow them on twitter @EAP_in_Ireland or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join their mailing list.