Saturday, May 11, 2013

BALEAP Competency Framework

BALEAP (formerly British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes) is the self-professed "Global Forum for EAP Professionals." The BALEAP competency framework was published in August 2008. (As usual with me, this is not news!) That has given the world (or at least the UK) of EAP a good 5 years to demonstrate the usefulness of the document and show how it has been used as per the aims of the document which are:
  • An agreed description of good practice
  • A reference document acting as a basis for:
    • supporting the professional development of EAP teachers within institutions
    • self-monitoring of professional development for freelance teachers
    • accreditation of individual teacher portfolios as evidence of professional achievement
    • EAP teacher recruitment and selection
    • course design for teacher training in EAP
    • course accreditation for teacher training in EAP
  • A means of raising the profile of the profession within institutions and the further and higher education sector
You would think someone had given it a thorough road-test by now, wouldn't you? Well, apart from a few plucky individuals at recent BALEAP conferences, that does not seem to be the case. I have no doubt that the TEAP Working Party (probably the following:  Olwyn Alexander, Douglas Bell, Sandra Cardew, Julie King, Anne Pallant, Mary Scott, Desmond Thomas, Magdalen Ward Goodbody) did their very best to identify best working practices based on the most up to date information. However, that is not the same as empirically validating the document. It is about time someone did. Watch this space!!!


  1. hi there, just wrote a paper about this for my tesol MA. i couldnt find single research paper or study on them. it is funny that they insinuate their framework has been validated because they presented it at their own conference!!

    1. Hi David
      Many thanks for your comment.
      I find it very interesting that BALEAP felt that such a document was necessary and that they were in a position to produce one.
      I agree that the framework remains to be validated by empirical studies. My impression is that the framework is the best stab at a definition of best practices. However, I still see it as guesswork, despite its very authoritative appearance.
      I think it is up to EAP teachers everywhere to test the competencies framework - does it really work on the ground? Can it account for all contexts and experiences of EAP? What empirical evidence can be produced to challenge and adapt the competencies? What can be done to challenge the concept of predefined teaching competencies?
      I hope to start testing the document in different situations with different teachers to see if it really can help with teacher development. Please get in touch if you would be interested in contributing to such a project.