Promoting reflection on science, technology, and society among engineering students through an EAP online learning environment
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With the new European framework, as EAP lecturers in an engineering college, we are reappraising our teaching and the position of our courses. From the perspective of engineering education in the 21st century, we believe that EAP teaching can focus not only on language and communication needs, but also on developing critical thinking about science and technology in its social context. Considering these premises, we present the rationale for the development of an online learning environment (Quantum LEAP, Learning English for Academic Purposes) which integrates EAP with interdisciplinary content, in order to encourage reflection on social, historical, economic and ethical issues related to science and technology. Through a pilot study of learners’ initial reactions, we present their perceptions of this tool for critical thinking on STS contents and for promoting lifelong learning. The implications for EAP course design are then discussed in the context of 21st century engineering education. In sum, this paper questions the position that for the integration of language and content, the EAP teacher can only teach language and that content has to be taught by specialist teachers. Rather, we argue that EAP teachers can address both academic communication and interdisciplinary content in order to engage students in critical thinking.
CitationArnó, E.; Rueda, M. Promoting reflection on science, technology, and society among engineering students through an EAP online learning environment. "Journal of english for academic purposes", Març 2011, vol. 10, núm. 1, p. 19-31.