A syllabus is a document which
says what will ( or at least what
should ) be learnt. But, in
fact, there are several different
ways in which a syllabus can be
A. The evaluation syllabus
This kind of syllabus will be most familiar
as the document that is handed down by
ministries or other regulatory bodies. It
states what the succesful learner will
know by the end of the course. In
effect, it puts on record the basis on
which succes or failure will be evaluated.
B. THE ORGANISATIONAL SYLLABUS
The carries organisational syllabus differs
from the evaluation syllabus in that it
carries assumptions about the nature of
learning as well as language, since, in
organising the items in a syllabus, it is
necessary to consider factors which depend
upon a view of how people learn,e.g :
• What is more easily learnt ?
• What is more fundamental to learning ?
• Are some items needed in order to
learn other items ?
• What is more usefeul in the classroom
C. The material syllabus
In writing materials, the author adds yet more
assumptions about the nature of
language, language learning and language use.
The author decides the contexts in which the
language will appear, the relative weighthings
and integration of skills, the number and type of
exercises to be spent on any aspect of
language, the degree of recycling or revision.
D.The teacher syllabus
Thus we have the teacher syllabus ( Breen, 1984 )
the teacher can influence the clarity, intensity and
frequency of any item, and thereby affect the
image that the learners receive.
Stevick ( 1984 ) recounts how an inexperienced
teacher would finish in two minutes an activity that
he would spend twenty minutes on.
E. The classroom syllabus
A lesson is a communicative
event, which is created by the interaction
of a number of force. The lesson plan is
like the planed route, but like a planed
route it can be affected by all sorts of
conditions along the way – the
unexpected traffic jam, the slow –
moving vehicle that you get stuck
behind, the diversion because of road
works, the new one – way system that
F. The learner syllabus
It is the network of knowledge that
develops in the learners brain and
which enables that learner to
comprehend and store the later
knowledge. We might call this the
learner syllabus ( Breen, 1984 ).
This will reveal that just as there are
knowledged and hidden syllabuses, there
are also acknowledged and hidden reasons
for having a syllabus.
a. Language is a complex entity.
b. In addition to its practical benefits, a
syllabus also gives moral support to
teacher and learner, in that it makes
the language learning tasks appear
c) A syllabus, particularly an ESP syllabus, also has a
d) Returning to our analogy of learning as a
journey, the syllabus can be seen as a statement of
projected routes, so that teacher and learner not
only have an idea of where they are going, but how
they might get there.
e) A syllabus is an implict statement of views on the
nature of language and learning.
f) A syllabus provides a set of criteria for materials
selection and/or writing.
g. Uniformity is a necesarry condition of any
institutionalised activity, such as education.
h. In that teaching is intended to lead a
learner to a particular state of
knowledge, there need to be criteria against
which successor failure in reaching that
state will be assessed.
It is clear from this list oroles that a syllabus is an
important document in the teaching/learning
process. But there in also lie the dangers.
a. We should be aware of why we want a syllabus
and what we will use it for.
b. A syllabus is a model – a statement of an ideal.
A sylllabus is not, therefore, a statement of
what will be learnt.
c. Syllabuses cannot express the intangible
factors that are so crucial to learning.
d. Syllabuses cannot take account of individual
Functional/ notional syllabus
Functional/ task – based syllabus
Discourse/ skills syllabus
Skills and strategies
a. A language – centered approach
The syllabus is quite clearly the
determiner of the entire course. It
is, so to speak, the crystallisation of
what the course is all about – the
inspiration for the production of texts
and exercises and the basis on which
proficiency will be evaluated.
b. A skills – centered approach
In this approach the syllabus is
not a prime generator. Althought
Holmes presents it as a linear
process, it is more likely that
there is a degreee of negoitiation
between texts and skills.