She Uban's Chronicles

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Designing Syllabus

Points of Departure in Syllabus Design:

1. Analysis of the language

  • components/elements/ building blocks (sounds ……..discourses)
  • rules
  • skills + microskills
  • functions
  • notions
  • aspects: pronunciation, intonation, accent.
  • vocabulary.
  • use: L1, L2 (SL), FL
  • general English vs ESP

2. Information about the learner

  • Kinds of learner: young/children versus adult learners
  • Academic & experience background
  • Motivation: intrinsic versus extrinsic instrumental versus integrative
  • Demographic Background: geographical location, family, and socioeconomic background.
  • Language Learning Strategies
  • Language Learning Style: visual, auditory,experiential.
  • Type of Learner: concrete, analytical,communicative.

3. Beliefs about Language Learning

  • Behaviorism: language learning as habit formation (pattern practice, drills) (Pavlov & Skinner in 1960’s)
  • Mentalism: language learning as acquiring/mastering rules (Chomsky 1964)
  • Cognitivism: language learning as problem solving task (Ausubel 1978)

Type of Syllabus

  1. Product-oriented Syllabus: focuses on the knowledge and skills which learners should gain as a result of instruction, e.g. grammatical and vocabulary items, language functions and notions.
  2. Process-oriented Syllabus: focuses on the learning experiences gained from tasks, process, activities, procedures.

The differences of Product-oriented Syllabus and Process-oriented Syllabus

Product-oriented Syllabus

Process-oriented Syllabus

Grammatical=Structural=Linguistic=Traditional Syllabus

Functional Syllabus

Notional Syllabus

Functional-notional Syllabus

Communicative Syllabus

Procedural Syllabus

Tasks-based Syllabus

Topical/thematic Syllabus

Content Syllabus

Developing Language Curriculum

Educational Value and Option

  • Classical Humanism is associated with Matthew Arnold and T.S. Eliot, it is elitist, concerned with generalizable intellectual capacities and with transmission of knowledge, culture, and standards from one generation to another.
  • Progressivism is associated with J.J. Rousseau, J.H. Pestalozzi, and Friedrich Froebel, it is concerned with the development of the individual as a whole person, with personal and group responsibility, with promoting natural learning processes through various stages of development, and with fostering a capacity for learning how to learn.
  • Reconstructionism is associated with by John Dewey, it is concerned with bringing about social change through the educational system, with achieving a social consensus on c0mmon goals, and with planning rigorously to achieve them.
  • Essentialism is associated with John Dewey
  • Perenialism is associated with Plato, Aristoteles, St Thomas Aquinas

In Terms of General Curriculum Design

  • Classical Humanism gives rise to a content-driven curriculum, in which the subject matter is analyzed into element of knowledge which are then sequenced from simple to complex. Classes are ser or streamed and moved as a block through units of work. Assessment is norm-references and concerned with the selection of an elite for the next stage of education.
  • Progressivism gives rise to process-driven curriculum, governed by principles of procedures designed to allow learners to negotiate goals, content, and method. Learning is experiential. There is an acceptance that learners will impose their own order on what is learnt. Assessment is concerned with both process and product, and is negotiated with individuals.
  • Reconstructionism gives rise to a goal-driven curriculum, in which the content is derived from an analysis of the learner’s objective needs in terms of behavior. Content is sequenced from part-skills to whole skills, and from simple to complex. The methodology lays stress on part-skill practice, the rehearsal of the goals, and the mastery of predetermined criteria. Assessment is criterion-reference and concerned to show what learners have mastered and at what level.

In Terms of Strategies for Curriculum Renewal

  • Classical Humanism adopts a policy, in which change is to be brought slowly, through examination reform authorized by the guardians of the nation’s wisdom in universities, and by the spreading of good practices by the guardians of the nation’s standards in the inspectorate.
  • Progresssivism leads to a ‘bottom-up’ approach, in which teachers are assisted to observe their own classrooms, to analyze their own problems, and to devise and evaluate strategies for overcoming them in a mutually supportive but critical climate.
  • Reconstructionism leads to a ‘top-down’ approach, in which a committee of government-appointed experts comes to some consensus on what should be done next, and imposes a new curriculum and various educational packages deriving from it on schools, who are then trained to adopt them.

Curriculum Development

It is the study and development of the goals, content, implementation, and evaluation of an educational system. In language teaching, curriculum development includes (a) the study of the purposes for which a learner needs a language, (b) the setting ob objectives and the development of syllabus, teaching methods and teaching materials, (c) the evaluation on the learners’ language ability (Richards, et al., 1985:70-1).

It is divided into two, they are:

  • Curriculum Renewal
  • Curriculum Design

Curriculum is a process whereby the choices of designing a learning experience for students are made and then activated through a set of coordinated activities.

Curriculum, for the professionals, is a logical process that begins with clear goals and proceeds in an ‘if-then’ manner until finished.

In other words, the process of curriculum development is deductive in nature, resulting in finer and finer actions to accomplish the intended purpose (Wiles and Bondi, 1989:3).


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