An Overview of Syllabuses in English Language Teaching
An Overview ofSyllabuses in English Language Teaching By: Mohammad Mohseni Far, M.A., Shahid Chamran University, Iran Presented by Angela Britton
What is a syllabus?According to Wilkins’ (1981) it is defined as“specifications of the content of languageteaching which have been submitted to somedegree of structuring or ordering with the aim ofmaking teaching and learning a more effectiveprocess”In the simplest terms…. “a statement of what isto be learnt” (Hutchinson and Waters, 1987,80)
Syllabuses in ELTA Procedural Syllabus Proposed by Prabhu 1980 Focuses on learning or the learner Tasks/activities designed ahead of time, but not the linguistic subject matter Learner perceives the language content subconsciously while focusing on the meaning behind the task.
A Cultural Syllabus Introduced by Stern 1992 Many different viewpoints on culture and how to study culture Stern (1992) believes the aims for teaching culture should be: • research based • Native to the learner • background knowledge of the culture studying • Affective goals; interest, intellectual curiosity, empathy • Similarities and differences between the studied culture • Emphasis on understanding the implications on society and language use.
A Situational Syllabus Language is in relational to the situational context Designer predicts the situations that learners will encounter Collection of real or imaginary scenarios Situational needs are prioritized over grammatical units Liar of situations reflective of how language and behavior are used in everyday situations Learner centered verses subject centered, which heightens motivation
A Skill Based Syllabus Skills that people must be able to do competently in a language Consists of a collection of skills that could potentially play a part in using language Main objective is to learn the language skill Develop competence in the langauage
A Structured or Formal Syllabus “Traditional” syllabus Focus on outcomes or product Structual patterns as the basic units of learning and organizes as such Learner expected to master each step Highly controlled, structured and sequenced pattern practice drills
A Multi-Dimentional Syllabus Idea is that this is flexible to change the central point of teaching material as the course progresses Less rigid design, flexibilty and responds to learner’s needsA Task Based Syllabus Using tasks and activities to promote learning and make use of communication to fulfill a need Interaction and practice that perfects language skills Meaningful tasks that are multifaceted and focused to enhance learning
A Process Syllabus Supported by Breen (1984) Designed as learning and teaching progress Takes into account the interrelationships between content, learning and the contributions of the classroomA Learner-Led Syllabus Breen and Candlin (1984) proposed focusing on how learners learn. Emphasis on learner and their interest and motivation while developing the skill Some feel this is far reaching, complicated to follow, lack course book and puts the responsibility on the student
A Proportional Syllabus Goal to provide an overall competence Appropriate and applicable for learners who need exposure to the target language Incorporates a variety of elements; form and interaction Indicates what will be taught moreso than what will be learned Dynamic and has plenty of opportunity for feedback and flexibilityA Content-Based Syllabus Critical goal is to teach specific information and content using the language that is being learned Language and content learning are occurring simultaneously
A Notional/Functional Syllabus Emphasis is on the communicative purpose and conceptual meaning of language; notions and functions Proposes a list consisting of notions and functions that are the main focusA Lexical Syllabus Advocated by Willis (1990) Based on the most common words and phrases and their meanings in English Real language and research into natural language instead of other pedagogic grammars Shifts responsibility for learning onto the learner
Need to consider all the points when choosing asyllabus to be used.Many times syllabus’ are combined together inorder to meet the needs of all parties.No single syllabus type is appropriate for everylearner or situation; many things should beconsidered
Questions to Consider:Most of us who have been in a collegiate setting, know that the syllabus is often the framework of what will be taught in the weeks ahead for a given course. I myself find that it is very helpful to have an overview of the expectations and the desired goals and outcomes. My questions to consider are as follows:1. Given the several syllabus types outlined in this article, do you see a particular type that would be more beneficial than the others for an English Language Learner?2. Do you feel it is more beneficial to have the course outlined in whole or a more flexible approach that allows for planning in process as you go? Or is it situational?
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