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Yet the low transferability of structural knowledge to actual language behaviour severely limits its application in language teaching settings ,at least to language instruction whose goal is the ability to function in the language.
A fundamental criticism is that the grammatical syllabus focuses on only one aspect of language, namely grammar, whereas in truth there exist many more aspects to language.
Finally, recent corpus based research suggests there is a divergence between the grammar of the spoken and of the written language; raising implications for the grading of content in grammar based syllabuses.
Notional/ functional syllabus has been closely associated with what has been called “ communicative language teaching”.
According to communicative approach, language is used as vehicle for the expression of functional meaning. The functional view emphasizes the semantic and communicative dimension rather than the grammatical.
Notional/ Functionalism was initially associated with a cognitive type of learning theory that called for explicit presentation of language material, conscious recognition and practice. Sequencing and grading of language material do not seem to be of major concern.
Functions associated with multiple forms are the basis for instruction.
So a few structures can be used to perform many functions. Inviting someone out.
Also, the syllabi is limited to short utterances or exchanges involving the functions in question. Routines are short and presented primarily a vehicle for teaching, formualic utterances generally used to perform some specific function such as I`d love to but I cant.
A situational syllabus is similar to a functional-notional syllabus in that it will usually contain communication functions and notions, but in this syllabus the choice of functions and notions depends on the situational context.
Warning The potential disadvantage of the situational syllabus is that functions and notions may be learned in the context of only one situation, whereas they may be expressed in a variety of situations.
Also, although some situations have a predictable script, unforeseen things can happen in any situation, requiring a change of script or topic.
Situational courses do exist. They consist of learning units with labels like 'At the post office', 'Buying a theatre ticket', 'Asking the way' and so on.
In all probability they are successful in what they set out to do, but there are reasons for doubting whether they can be taken as a model for the general organization of language teaching.
The difficulty centres on just what is meant by 'situation'. With examples like the ones above there is no great difficulty. They are situations with fairly evident, objectively describable physical characteristics.
The language interactions that are taking place are closely related to the situation itself. There will be grammatical and lexical forms that have a high probability of occurrence in these kinds of language event.
The primary purpose of skill-based instruction is to learn the specific language skill. A possible secondary purpose is to develop more general competence in the language, learning only incidentally any information that may be available while applying the language skills.
The one aspect of language knowledge that may not be addressed by task-based instruction, however, is explicit metalinguistic knowledge, or the ability to make descriptive or prescriptive statements about the language.
According to students` cognitive skills and linguistic readiness for particular tasks, their need for the particular discourse or interactional type, and availability of resources for carrying out the task.
It is closely related to provide instruction/ education to children of immigrants ( LEP, limited English Proficiency ). One solution to the problem of LEP has been controlled immersion programs… but also bilingual programs: but they are costly.
Immersion: students are given content instruction in a language they may not control well or at all.