Perceptions of EAP for Business: Fresh Findings from Academia and Workplace

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 English Language and Literature, Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Allameh Tabataba'i University

Abstract

In a scholarly convention, ESP has bilaterally focused on “academic” and “occupational” arenas leaving the symbiosis between the two almost untouched. The present study, thus, aims to weigh the concordance between what is taught in universities as EAP courses for B.A. students in Business and Economics and what English skills and abilities are, actually, required from them on the job. Altogether, 120 university teachers and 30 business managers were asked for their opinions about the existing curricula from one side and occupation-related English expectations from the graduates from the other. Triangulation of instruments using questionnaire, interview, teacher-assessment, and participant observation was applied. The results narrated not good news: considerable mismatch between the aforementioned arenas (education and occupation) and complete ignorance of oral skills (listening and speaking) in the academia, despite their vital importance at the workplace. The participants mainly emphasized equipping students with various skills required from them at work after their general English proficiency development and empowering EAP teachers with the needed content knowledge to potentially tailor university education and market. Implications of the study can include creating more practical opportunities such as simulated classes based on workshops and on-the-job training (OJT) with cooperation of the professionals in business. The findings can help educational policy-makers shift their focus to the graduates’ professional-future literacy, modify the EAP curricula with regard to real needs of the workplace and contribute to decreasing the gap between academia and labor market.

Keywords


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