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The University of Southampton
Video Resources for English Language Teacher EducationEFL lessons

EAP (A4) Adults

This is a 90 minute lesson on English for Academic Purposes with a focus on speaking and listening. The focus of this class is on academic discussion skills, specifically on the expressions used to clarify and confirm understanding. The adult, international students are enrolled on an intensive pre-sessional course with about 30 contact hours per week, which lasts about 10 weeks. The course aims to prepare students for university study in the UK. In order to attend students must have a minimum IELTS score of 5.5 and students hope to pass language exams corresponding to IELTS score 6.5 at the end of the ten-week course.

Materials used in class:

 Anderson,K., MacLean, J. and Lynch, T. (2004) Study Speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This language course is high-stakes for the students involved as for most of them gaining a sufficient score on the final exam is a condition of entry to their chosen degree programmes.


View Mags' class below

ELT: EAP Discussion Skills (Mags) from Julia Huettner on Vimeo.


1) Getting students to talk: setting up and monitoring group & pair work


To reflect on potentials and limitations of group and pair work


Before viewing, consider the following questions:

  • In general, what are the advantages of pair-group work?
  • In general, what are the disadvantages or limitations of pair-group work?
  • What type of information do students need in order to successfully do a pair-group work activity
  • In your classes, when do you let students choose their partners for pair or group work, when do you assign them? Why?
  • What exact words, phrases, gestures do you use in your classes to set up groups?
  • What do you do once students are engaged in group-pair work? How and when do you monitor? How and when do you give feedback?
  • What elements of language (words, phrases, structures, strategies) would you target in order to help students participate in academic discussions? Why these?


 Now observe the "practice" stage of this lesson (starting at minute 21 and continuing until 1:16). This section includes one short pair work activity (there are more pair work activities in the first 21 minutes if you want to use these, too) and one Long Group work (36 minutes). Answer the following questions

  • 1. What are the (verbal and non-verbal) instructions for individual pair work and group work activities?
  • 2. How do students react to these instructions? Do the instructions seem clear and appropriate?
  • 3. To what extent does the topic chosen for the group work activity promote the use of the targeted vocabulary?
  • 4. How does the teacher monitor group work?
  • 5. What feedback does she give to students at what time?

Now compare your answers with that of another one or two students and try to agree on a list of your top three recommendations each for a) setting up group and pair work and b) monitoring group and pair work!

Thanks go to Anna Papanolikaou (student on the MA ALLT 2012-13) for this task

The teacher's views

Listen to two extracts with Mags talking about her class. She talks about how typical the lesson is of the class and about which elements didn't go quite to plan!

Mags_is this a typical class from Julia Huettner on Vimeo.

Mags talking about her EAPclass from Julia Huettner on Vimeo.

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