Organizing a Language Course


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A presentation by professor Álvaro Muñoz. Manizales, Colombia

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Organizing a Language Course

  2. 2. WHAT IT MEANS<br />Deciding what the underlying systems will be that pull together the content and material in accordance with the goals and objectives and that give the course a shape and structure<br />
  3. 3. It occurs on different levels<br />The course as a whole<br />The level of subsets of the whole : units modules or strands<br />Individual lessons<br />
  4. 4. Organizing the course has five overlapping processes<br />Determining the organizing principle that drive the course<br />Identifying units, modules or strands based on organizing principles<br />Sequencing the units<br />Determining the language and skills content of the units<br />Organizing the content within each unit<br />
  5. 5. You may be wondering…<br />What is a strand?<br />Some courses are organized around strands rather than units or modules.<br />A course I taught was organized around three strands: A video series. Specific work with learning strategies and students` projects.<br />A third of each class was devoted to each strand.<br />
  6. 6. Why organize a course?<br />Having a negotiated syllabus doesn&apos;t mean that you walk into the course with no plan in mind.<br />“But an emphasis on learner autonomy does not absolve the curriculum designer of his responsibilities to plan the options within which the learner will be encouraged to exercise his judgment.” (Stern, 1992)<br />A negotiated syllabus works best when there is a conceptual container to support it<br />
  7. 7. How do I decide on an appropriate organization?<br />It depends on: <br />The course content<br />Your goals and objectives<br />Your past experience<br />Your students` needs<br />Your beliefs and understandings<br />The method or text <br />The context<br />
  8. 8. For example<br />Courses that focus on writing skills are often organized around types of compositions (narrative, argument etc.)<br />A course for integrated basic skills may be organized around themes<br />A content based history course around chronological order, historical themes or periods.<br />A task based course around a series of cumulative tasks<br />
  9. 9. What are the different ways to organize and sequence a course?<br />I don&apos;t advise Grammar or functions as organizing principles because they are better as supporting elements in achieving communicative or analytical skills. <br />
  10. 10. Sequencing<br />Deciding the order in which you will teach the content: (units and order within each unit)<br />The common sense of building (step A prepares in some way (provides the foundation for step B.<br />Let&apos;s see more in detail.<br />
  11. 11. A is simpler or less demanding ; B is more complex or more demanding.<br />(mechanism/process. Past/ present perfect)<br />A is more controlled; B is more open ended <br /> (summarizing vs. writing an article)<br />A provides knowledge or skills required to do or understand B (learning vocabulary before role play at a restaurant- then ordering in an actual restaurant.<br />Individual to home community and larger world.<br />Recycling (Skills field) and spiraling.<br />
  12. 12. TASK<br />In pairs, decide the order in which you would teach the items on the list in a way that makes sense to both of you.<br />
  13. 13. Unit organization<br />Cycle: some elements occur in a predictable sequence and once the sequence is completed, it starts all over again<br />Matrix: elements are selected from certain categories of content but not in a predictable order<br />
  14. 14. Task<br />Read Dylan Bates reflection on the curriculum process. Compare it with the process that you followed in order to create your syllabus<br />
  15. 15. Material design<br />What a teacher uses<br />Technique : how he uses it<br />Creating using or adapting and organizing materials and activities so that students can achieve the objectives and the goals<br />