Positioning an academic literacies framework in an EAP context: case study of a university Pre-sessional course


  • Paul Breen University of Westminster




academic literacies, English for Academic Purposes, pedagogic research, case study research, Pre-sessional courses.


Historically, there has been a strong element of crossover between English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and academic literacies approaches, as originally conceptualised by Lea and Street (1998). However, a recurring cause of concern for the latter has been its perceived lack of focus on pedagogy, with greater emphasis on construction of text (Lea, 2004). Lillis (2003) highlights another concern being the lack of ‘a design frame’ (Kress, 2000) which can harness synergy between theory and practice. As such, the strength of academic literacy from a theoretical perspective can simultaneously be an Achilles heel in its practical pedagogic application. Consequently, examples of sustained academic literacies approaches in practice are rare. This paper thus argues for EAP acting as a fulcrum between theory and practice and provides one instance of enacting academic literacies approaches in the practical context of a Pre-sessional course in a post-92 university. Therein academic literacies approaches have shaped the design and delivery of an EAP curriculum. Through presenting a case study of this story, I hope to provide one ‘exemplar’ (Shulman, 1986) of integrating pedagogic practice and theory to serve as a model for the future. In doing so, academic literacies can better meet both the practical and theoretical demands of 21st century teaching, learning and educational development.  

Author Biography

Paul Breen, University of Westminster

Dr Paul Breen is a Senior Lecturer in EAP & Academic Practice currently working for the University of Westminster in London. Originally from Ireland, he has worked in London on a permanent basis since 2007. He is the author of Developing Educators for the Digital Age, a story of teacher education published by The University of Westminster Press in January 2018.




How to Cite

Breen, P. (2019) “Positioning an academic literacies framework in an EAP context: case study of a university Pre-sessional course”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (15). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i15.553.