Accounting for the troubled status of English language teachers in Higher Education

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have witnessed a heightening of interest in the role of teachers working in EAP (English for Academic Purposes), particularly with regard to defining and debating their professional identity. However, it must be said that most authors have painted a rather dismal picture, when comparing the status and professional standing of English language teachers in Higher Education with that of academics working in other disciplines. Drawing on concepts and models developed by the educational sociologists Basil Bernstein and Pierre Bourdieu, this reflective paper proposes a theoretical framework to account for why these differences in status might be so. The paper concludes that EAP as an academic discipline currently faces some significant threats. However, the paper also argues that if EAP practitioners are to gain the professional recognition they desire, then they themselves must strive to trade more explicitly on the forms of capital valued by the academy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1831-1846
Number of pages16
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number8
Early online date4 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished Online - 4 Jun 2021


  • academic capital
  • academic identity
  • Basil Bernstein
  • EAP
  • English language teaching
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • professional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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