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Designing a twenty-hour course
by Emma Metcalf
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5. Organisation of content and activities.

Since the majority of the course content was neither grammar based nor followed a course book, it was decided that the best to way to organise the content was through topics. The course was still linear, since we paid attention to linking the topics together. The diagram below demonstrates the organisation.


Diagram of course organisation

Some of the links are not obvious. For example, cultural differences including attitudes to women, which linked to the men and women topic. It can be said, however, that some of the links are rather tenuous and the occasional lack of coherence was noted by one of the students: 'The bad point is the lack of connection between some [of the lessons], or continuing with a matter a couple of days after.' This, and other problems will now be commented on in the evaluation. Despite this criticism, we did endeavour to make the lessons link coherently from one to another. One way was to make the syllabus as cyclical as possible by recycling and revising areas covered in previous classes. (See appendix N for a definition a cyclical syllabus.)

6. Evaluation

This was perhaps one of the weakest parts of the syllabus. Firstly, the learner diary entries 'fizzled out' towards the end of the course. As teachers we should have encouraged the diary entries to be more frequent. Furthermore, it would have been a good idea to arrange tutorials for each of the students. Informal chats took place during the breaks where we asked students for their opinions, and feedback was given whenever homework was returned. However, it would have been better to arrange a time with each student so that we could receive and give feedback on the students' progress and thoughts. The students were given an end of course questionnaire (see appendix O) and the response was very positive (the students felt that had learnt and they enjoyed the classes which meant that our goals were achieved.) One external factor that could not be controlled was the fact the students in the class changed (some students leaving, others joining) which made it difficult to evaluate the success of the course as a whole. (See appendix P for some solutions.)

7. Consideration of resources and constraints.

There were three teachers on the course, teaching from two to three sessions a week. The classes started at four o´clock in the afternoon which meant that many of the students arrived late as they were coming straight from work. The students had to get used to being observed by not only the teachers, but also but the teacher trainers whenever an official observation took place. Despite these circumstances, the class still fully participated.

Cassette recorders and video were easily accessible whenever needed and students were always provided with necessary worksheets to take home.

I am used to teaching general courses with classes taking place just twice a week so I really a noticed a difference when teaching this course - the progress the students made was a lot more noticeable (for example when recycling vocabulary) . Despite the fact that the students were busy and could not always intend class, they were all extremely motivated and it was a pleasure to teach them. I hope they enjoyed the course as much as I enjoyed teaching it.


Gardner, R.C., and Lambert, W.E., Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning, (Newbury House: 1972)

Graves, K., (editor) Teachers as Course Developers, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1996)

Hutchinson, T., and Waters, A., English for Specific Purposes, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1987)

Nunan, D., Syllabus Design, (Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1988)

Saphier, J., and Gower, R., The Skilful Teacher, (Carlise, Mass: 1987)

Stern, H., Issues and Options in Language Teaching, (Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1992)

White, R., and Arndt, V., Process Writing, (Longman, Essex: 1991)

Articles and Journals

Davies, A., and Currie, W., 'Aptitude and Nativeness.' Paper prepared for the BAAL Conference, University of Essex, 1971

Wingate, G., English Teaching Professional, 'Multiple Intelligences.'

Further Reading

Nunan, D., Language Teaching Methodology, Prentice Hall, Hemel Hempstead: 1991)

Woodward, T., and Lindstromberg, S., Planning from Lesson to Lesson: A way of making lesson planning easier, (Longman, Essex: 1995)

Primary sources used in the timetable

Fielding, H., Bridget Jones´Diary (Picador, London: 1996)

Side, R., In Advance, (Nelson, London, 1994)

Townsend, S., The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, (Methuen, London: 1983)

Viney, R. et al., Streamline Departures, (Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1985)

Articles and Journals

English Teaching Professional, Issue 4, July 1997 (for needs analysis)

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