One of the major issues within EAP and similar fields is the purpose(s) of scholarship for and by practitioners. Not only is there resistance within the field to practitioner scholarship, but there are also conflicting discourses around the purposes of scholarship. One such view holds that scholarship must be directly related to student education, learning, and outcomes. This instrumental view of scholarship can be mapped onto deeper and larger struggles for legitimation, capital and (mis)recognition within and beyond the field of EAP.

In this presentation, I will, initially, outline the reasons for resistance to scholarship in EAP as well as the reasons for and impact of an instrumentalization of scholarship in our field. This analysis draws heavily on Bourdieu and his notions of capital, field and habitus as well as my own professional observations and experience.

The main part of my talk seeks to clarify a broader and deeper understanding of scholarship through: A socio-analysis of the field of EAP; tracing the knowledge we need to understand our field and other academic fields; exploring the multiple dimensions of our work as practitioners; exemplifying the multiple ways in which scholarship can contribute to our agency and our status and claiming ways in which we contribute to changing practices for the benefit of our students. My position is that we have an ethical duty to deploy our scholarship to reduce the gap from the real to the ideal. Ultimately, scholarship endeavours cannot be reduced to an instrument to improve teaching in a very direct manner, but, rather, it can open up our work to contributing to a more reflexive, more ethical, more impactful, and more agential practitioner.

Dr. Alex Ding is Director of Scholarship in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies and Associate Professor of English for Academic Purposes at the University of Leeds. He recently co-edited a volume entitled ‘Social Theory for English for Academic Purposes: Foundations and Perspectives’ and co-authored with Dr. Ian Bruce ‘The English for Academic Purposes Practitioner: Operating on the Edge of Academia’ (Palgrave). He is currently co-editing another volume on practitioner agency and identity with Dr. Laetitia Monbec.
Blog: Teaching EAP
Twitter: @alexanderding


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