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College of Arts & Sciences

ELIP’s Teaching Philosophy

Qian Du teaching ET 6020

Keira Park teaches ET 6020 to ELIP students.

In ELIP, we seek to help students gain the cognitive, literacy, and practical tools and abilities they need to become successful participating members of their current and future disciplinary communities. As an Academic Literacies for Specific Purposes program, we have a teaching approach that is most informed by concepts found within the areas of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and Academic Literacies. Our philosophy is further based on our shared experiences working with a variety of students, ranging from pre-matriculated international students in intensive English programs, to students in English as a Foreign Language programs outside of the United States, and matriculated domestic and international undergraduate and graduate students at American universities.

In line with the key principle of ESP and Academic Literacies, the departure point of our teaching philosophy is the needs of our students. With different disciplinary communities having varying genres and expectations, our courses are highly individualized and provide scaffolded instruction.

We view learning as a social process that occurs within specific sociocultural contexts and is most fruitfully achieved by doing. Collaborative activities and projects, such as peer feedback and group work, are therefore prioritized as we seek to establish both a teacher- and peer-supportive environment to help students negotiate and communicate their meanings. We expect students to be active in the construction of their discipline-specific knowledge, for example, by collecting and analyzing data from within their fields and by presenting their findings to their peers. Engaging students in their own learning allows ELIP courses to be relevant to students’ lives and helps them gain a deeper appreciation of the complexities of professional and academic communication and practices within their specific disciplines.

By viewing teaching from the perspective of learners and learning, we seek to assist students in gaining the knowledge, abilities, and tools necessary to become active, competent, and contributing members of their specific academic and professional communities.

ELIP’s Approach to Feedback

In line with our teaching philosophy, the starting point of our philosophy on responding to student work is the needs of our students. We view response as a complex social process and activity centered on helping students negotiate and communicate their individual meanings. As a learning activity, we view response as a dialogic, interactive, and goal-oriented endeavor that involves scaffolding and mediation through selective intervention in order to assist students in developing the knowledge, abilities, and tools necessary to become autonomous and competent communicators.   

Based on this philosophy, we approach our response practices according to the following guidelines:

  1. Feedback will be customized to the specific student and context (class, assignment, draft/presentation, etc.).
  2. Feedback will include both encouragement and constructive criticism.
  3. Feedback will focus more on content, organization and clarity than grammar or phonology unless these errors are major concerns that obscure meaning.
  4. Feedback will include questions to promote student thinking and autonomy, or if something is unclear. Imperatives are used if the issue must be corrected or revised.
  5. Feedback on errors will be selective and targeted rather than comprehensive, based on course objectives, student need, and assignment; not all errors or problems will be identified in the feedback.
  6. In written assignments, feedback on errors will be primarily indirect. Direct feedback on grammar or citation errors or word choice will be used when it is likely the student is unable to fix the error himself or herself, and an explanation will be included. Feedback on errors will be given the first few times for repeated errors or concerns, and then students are asked to find and correct on their own.
  7. A grading rubric will be used for each assignment. Students will practice with the rubric, or at least discuss it, before submitting or presenting their work.
  8. Summative comments will be included in the feedback, moving from something positive to then highlighting a few of the main concerns or areas in need of improvement.
  9. Graded assignments are integrated into the course (e.g., reviewed in class with students revising and asking questions, discussed during office hours and conferences, etc.).


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College of Arts & Sciences