Session Title: I’m an EAP teacher… but who am I?

Your Name: Adam Simpson

Work Title: EAP instructor

School or Organization Name: Sabanci University, School of Languages, Istanbul

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Istanbul, Turkey

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Tertiary education English language teachers, EAP teachers, ELT curriculum designers

Short Session Description:

I teach EAP with a coursebook and have to follow a strict syllabus… so how do I stay true to my student-centred teaching philosophy?

Full Session Description:

I have now been an English language teacher for thirteen years: I have much to reflect back on, both in terms of how my life in general and in how my teaching career has progressed in the dozen years since I first entered a language classroom.


My time as a teacher has been eventful; from my rite-of-passage beginnings of ‘P-P-P’ and ‘devotion to the coursebook’ to the entirely more open philosophy I now espouse. Where I am now as a teacher is ‘a thousand years’ from where I began, and with good reason. While the changes have been dramatic, they aren’t without precedent. As I enter my fifth decade of life, and with many years of experience to share with my audience, I wish to share my answers to pertinent questions: How do I follow prescribed curricula and yet allow learners to have input in what we do in class? How do I foster learner-centeredness while remaining a slave to assessment?


While contemplating my ‘teaching self’, I wanted to discover the origins of our modern classroom environment. What I found was surprising. While I reside uncomfortably in a system that originated in nineteenth century Prussia, my escape from its constraints harks back to many centuries earlier, in the ‘Usta’ apprenticeship model of ancient Anatolia. My presentation will examine these origins and inform my audience as to how we may adopt an ‘Usta’ approach to language teaching; raising our learners’ abilities up to our own while giving them a sense of ownership for their learning. In addition to explaining my philosophy, the audience will also receive ideas on how to develop curricula based on this model and how to proceed with ‘Usta’ teaching on a day-to-day classroom basis.


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