Singapore Institute of Technology

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Applying Complex Dynamic Systems Theory in EAP Curriculum Design and Teaching Practice: Challenges and Possibilities

posted on 2024-02-15, 07:48 authored by R RosmawatiR Rosmawati

The increasingly wider integration of Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) into the fields of applied linguistics and second language acquisition has advanced our understanding of the complexity of language use and language learning processes at the conceptual, methodological and empirical levels through the rich scholarship published in the past two decades or so (e.g. Fogal and Verspoor 2020; Han 2019; Hiver and Al-Hoorie 2020). This theory, however, has enjoyed a significantly smaller scale of adoption in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) enterprise, leading to a much more modest repertoire of CDST-inspired EAP publications, if any. Despite the valuable contributions CDST has made in applied linguistics, education and related disciplines, researchers and practitioners in the EAP field seem to have reservations about the practicality of the application of this theory as well as its pedagogical value for EAP. There could be many possible reasons behind these doubts. For one thing, CDST emphasizes interconnectedness among components of a system and does away with simple causal relationships. This very frequently prompts instantaneous skepticism due to the easily foreseeable complications in its operationalization in research and teaching. Moreover, as CDST is deeply rooted in hard sciences, a lot of its methodologies are heavily based in mathematics and/or advanced statistics, which requires a retraining, frequently with a steep learning curve, for many researchers and practitioners in soft sciences.


Journal/Conference/Book title

Linguistic Approaches in English for Academic Purposes

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Rosmawati. (2023). Applying complex dynamic systems theory in EAP curriculum design and teaching practice: Challenges and possibilities. In Milada Walková (Ed.), Linguistic approaches in English for academic purposes: Expanding the discourse (pp. 117-141). Bloomsbury Academic.