EAP Learners as Discourse Analysts: Empowering Emergent Multilingual Students





Discourse Analysis, Systemic Functional Linguistics, Student empowerment, EAP, International students


English for Academic Purposes (EAP) aims to equip multilingual students with the tools to effectively engage in disciplinary academic communication, especially writing. An ongoing challenge is how to transfer students’ knowledge of language from the EAP classroom into their current and future disciplines (Monbec, 2018) and how to empower them as independent learners and collaborators in their knowledge development. This paper reports on an EAP curriculum project in which first-year international science students in British Columbia were scaffolded to conduct independent comparative discourse analysis to develop their academic literacy abilities. We demonstrate how students not only improved their understanding of specific language features, but also were empowered with the critical knowledge and skills to become apprentice scholars and active members in the science community. The students were therefore legitimized as academic apprentices, rather than framed as deficient in language or victims of circumstance (Gallagher & Haan, 2017). We therefore present evidence of non-linguist language students successfully conducting independent discourse analysis to further their own language and learning goals.

Author Biographies

Kelly Shoecraft, Griffith University

Dr. Kelly Shoecraft is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Griffith University, Australia. She has extensive experience teaching English as an additional language to students of all ages around the world.  Her research interests include Academic English, Online teaching, Plurilingualism, and Translanguaging.   

Jodie L. Martin, UBC Vantage College

Dr. Jodie Martin is an educational linguist specializing in academic discourse. She currently works as an Academic English lecturer at Vantage College, University of British Columbia, Canada, where she teaches in the Science stream. She draws on systemic functional linguistics and Legitimation Code Theory to unlock the secrets of language and knowledge practices for students in reading and writing. Her current research interests include the role of grammatical circumstances and logic in academic registers and inclusive reflective writing pedagogy.

Greta Perris, University of British Columbia

Greta Perris is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at UBC. Her research interests draw on her professional experience as Lecturer EAP at Vantage College, UBC and manager of EAP programs at York University and elsewhere. She is interested in exploring language teachers’ collaborations for professional learning, learner corpus-driven teaching and research, and language across the curriculum.




How to Cite

Shoecraft, K., Martin, J. L., & Perris, G. (2022). EAP Learners as Discourse Analysts: Empowering Emergent Multilingual Students. BC TEAL Journal, 7(1), 23–41. https://doi.org/10.14288/bctj.v7i1.452