Designing a twenty-hour course by Emma Metcalf

Part One

Introduction

This assignment consists of designing a syllabus for a group of advanced learners. It is divided into two parts: Part One will look at the considerations which were taken into account when designing the syllabus; it will include explanation and justification of why particular choices were made and criticisms of these decisions with solutions that may be considered for future syllabus design. Part Two will include the course outline and the course plan.

The course lasted a total of four weeks (seventy-eight hours.) The students attended the course for two hours a day, from Monday to Thursday. The syllabus has been designed for a total of twenty hours, starting from week two up to the first two days of week four. (For a list of what was covered in week one see appendix A.)

The syllabus was designed specifically for a group of advanced learners (though levels of proficiency did vary,) mainly young professionals who worked in different companies. Their level was tested by means of an oral interview.

Designing a syllabus is a difficult task. Syllabuses have their advantages and disadvantages (See appendix B) and have gone through various 'fashions.' (See appendix C.) Moreover, designing an effective syllabus for a group of advanced learners becomes even more complicated. (See Conceptualising Content.) Gardner and Lambert (1972) point to a 'positive learning cycle' that ultimately any EFL teacher wants to achieve. (See appendix D). Bearing in mind that the students were professionals and, consequently, tired after coming straight from work, our (*1) aim was to design a syllabus that promoted learning but was also enjoyable and not too 'heavy going.'

Planning a course: Considerations

Kathleen Graves (1996, p.13) asks the questions that need to answered when planning a course. These are the questions I have attempted to answer when designing this particular syllabus. The components to consider are the following:

1. Needs assessment: What are my students´needs? How can I assess them so that I
can address them?
2. Determining goals and objectives: What are the purposes and intended outcomes of
course? What will my students need to do or learn to achieve these goals?
3. Conceptualising content: What will be the backbone of what I teach? What will I include in my syllabus?
4. Selecting and developing materials and activities: How and with what will I teach the course? What is my role? What are my students´roles?
5. Organisation and content of activities: How will I organise the content of activities?
What systems will I develop?
6. Evaluation: How will I assess what students have learned? How will I assess the effectiveness of the course?
7. Consideration of resources and constraints: What are the givens of my situation?

These are the questions I will now address.


1. Needs assessment

The needs assessment was carried out on the first day of class (week one.) It was taken from The English Teaching Professional and asked students to rank in preference various points under the areas of topics, methods, language areas, out of class and assessment. (See appendix E). It was felt that the needs analysis did not cover the area of when students actually used English so an extra part was added to the back of the sheet. Graves points out a disadvantage of using a questionnaire for needs assessment since, '…one of the challenges in designing a questionnaire is choosing questions that will be interpreted correctly.' (1996, p.15) Therefore, after completion, the group was divided into pairs and each teacher chatted informally about what the students had commented on the sheet. (See note on Appendix E for problems with the needs assessment.) The informal chat was a great opportunity to not only 'get to know' the students but also to find out about their attitudes and preferences. (See appendix F for language learning theories.)

After analysing the data it became clear that there were points that the majority of the group shared in common. For example, under the assessment heading, every student wanted to see if they could use the language learnt in class in real-life situations. On the other hand, only one student was interested in how to give a presentation. (See appendix G for a summary of what areas each student was interested in.) One aspect that all the group shared in common was their motivation. The majority of the group´s motivation was instrumental, (the students wanted to improve their English generally in a work situation) though one of the student´s motivation was integrative (she was planning to live in England) and many of the students commented that they used their English whilst travelling (English as an international language.) Therefore the syllabus needed to provide language that would cater for all these needs. Firstly, however, it was necessary to define the term 'need.'

Hutchinson et.al split needs into two types: target needs (what the learner needs to do in a target situation (*2)) and learning needs (what the learner needs to do in order to learn). (1987, p.54) Target needs are then sub-divided into necessities - the type of need determined by the demands of the target situation; lacks-what the learner knows already and from that, decide what the learner lacks; and wants-what the students perceive to be important for their language development. (*3)) Both target and learning needs were taken into account when determining the goals and objectives of the syllabus.


*1 Whenever I refer to 'us ,' 'we' or 'our,' I am referring to the teachers on my teaching team who all collaborated in the syllabus design.

*2 I am taking 'situation' to mean any area that may be covered in class (grammar/vocabulary etc.). I do not mean English for specific situations such as in a bank or going shopping.
*3 As Davies and Currie (1971) suggest: 'A method which frustrates the predictions of the learner is patently bad …Much of the satisfaction of learners will come when they feel that the hurdles they themselves have predicted have been cleared.'

2. Determining goals and objectives

Firstly it is necessary to specify the difference between 'goal' and 'objective.' Graves, (1996, pp.16-7) defines goals as 'general statements of the overall, long-term purpose of the course' and objectives as 'specific ways in which the goals will be achieved.' (See appendix H for further specification of objectives.) Therefore the goals I have outlined below are what we wanted to achieve by the end of the twenty hours of the course. The objectives consisted of the various activities and tasks that took place in class (as stated in the course plan.) Though specific goals and objectives may be criticised (see appendix I) I would agree with Graves that 'clear goals and objectives give the teacher a basis for determining which content and activities are appropriate for the course.' Nunan also argues that, 'it is undemocratic not to let the learner know what he is going to get of of the educational system.' (1988,p.54) During the course the students were informed about what they were going to do in each class (one teacher wrote a 'menu' on the whiteboard and the students were given explanations as to why they were asked to complete each task/activity (objective). Stern (1992) lays out four 'types' of goals that the syllabus intended to cover. (See appendix J for a more detailed explanation of the different types of goals.) The goals were as follows:

 

PROFICIENCY · To improve oral , functional communication skills.
· To improve listening skills using authentic texts.
· To improve writing skills focusing on process.
COGNITIVE · To give a general upgrade of language mainly through vocabulary and expressions.
· To tackle 'tricky' areas of grammar and revise and recycle assumed knowledge of grammar.
AFFECTIVE · To make the classes as enjoyable as possible
· To give feedback (error correction/ positive comments/advice) to boost confidence and maintain motivation.
TRANSER · To promote learner autonomy.
· To develop reading strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a general outline and I will now go on to specify some of the objectives when discussing what was be included in the syllabus.


3. Conceptualising content

This was a difficult area. Some of the objectives were easy to establish:

- Most of the students used English on the telephone so a lesson focusing on telephone language was appropriate.

- Most of the students used the internet and received and sent emails in English, so a lesson on writing emails was appropriate.
- Most students wanted to improve their writing skills so a lesson was devised for writing a formal letter.

- All the students wanted to expand their vocabulary, so several vocabulary lessons were devised. Those lessons that were not specifically vocabulary focused, contained, at least, some new language input.

- The majority of the students were interested in current affairs, therefore a lesson on newspapers and the news was devised.

Other objectives were more difficult to negotiate. One particularly difficult area was grammar. Some students wanted to 'do' grammar in class, whilst others were not too interested. It was decided that the syllabus would not be structurally based mainly because at advanced level it is extremely difficult to predict which grammar areas should be covered. There is always a sense that all the grammar has been 'done' before. Therefore it was agreed that the main areas to be covered were:

- The four skills (the main focus being on speaking and listening.)

- Functional language (situations that would be transferable to the real-world and covered the areas stated by Clark 1997. (See appendix K)

- Vocabulary (often colloquial and under various topics.)

One last area we wanted to cover throughout the course was learner autonomy. With reference to the travel vocabulary lesson, students were given suggestions on how to record vocabulary. (See appendix L) Learner diaries were also introduced in the first week to help students identify their own 'lacks' and to give us information on how they thought the course was going. (See appendix M)

This course could be described as 'multi-layered' yet paying particular attention to the points mentioned above. The next task was to decide on which materials to include.


4. Selecting and developing materials and activities

Though it may have been easier to follow a course book in terms of selecting materials and organising them, none of the course books catered well enough for our students´needs. Some materials were taken from In Advance (1994) and Streamline Departures (1985). These were mainly used for their content (vocabulary and a listening.) Many of the materials were authentic: newspapers, books, short stories downloaded from the internet, radio news bulletins and videos. The rest of the materials were designed by the teachers, specifically to meet the objectives in each class, which in turn, attempted to meet the students´needs. Though some of the activities were designed for the classroom, an attempt was made to make the objectives transferable to real world situations.

The goals and objectives were intended to be as relevant to the students as possible, but as Hutchinson et al. point out: 'The medicine of relevance may…need to be sweetened with the sugar of enjoyment, fun, creativity and a sense of achievement.' (1987, p. 48) The students needed to enjoy the process of learning and therefore we tried to choose interesting topics and texts, design fun activities and vary the pace and dynamics of the classroom by doing lots of pair and group work. The organisation of these materials was the next matter to consider.

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.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

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)

Part Two

Course Outline

FUNCTIONS
· Negotiating/making suggestions/disagreeing hesitating
· Making complaints
· Expressing different degrees of certainty
· Using the telephone
· Interrupting
· Expressing personal opinion
GRAMMAR
· Wishes and regrets
· Reported speech
· Modals of obligation
· Comparatives
SKILLS
· Writing a formal letter of complaint
· Listening: for gist/for specific information
· Reading: skim/scan/for detail/for pleasure
· Speaking: arguing/discussion/ giving opinion/role play
Fluency and accuracy work
VOCABULARY
· Travel
· Work
· The media
· Newspaper language
· Ways of describing men and women
· Positive and negative connotations.
· Word formation
PRONUNCIATION
· Intonation (covered with functional language)
· Stress patterns (individual words)
LEARNER TRAINING
· Developing reading strategies
· Inferring meaning from context
· Error correction (on whiteboard and homework)
· Peer correction and teaching
· Learner diaries
· Vocabulary recording

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the timetable

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Monday
2 hours

Topic: Travel

Lesson 1 - System: Vocabulary
Looking at specific differences between words in the semantic
field of travel.
Example:trip/journey.
Collocations
Examples: city break/package tour
L.T. How to record vocabulary
(Appendix)

Lesson 2 - Skill: Listening
Sub-skill: For specific information
(functional language)

System: Discourse: Noticing Appropriacy - different levels of formality. In Advance p.112

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Functional
- negotiating (disagreeing/Suggestion/hesitation)

Activity taken from In Advance p.112
'Planning a journey'

Homework: Learner diary.

Topic: Travel

Lesson 1- Skill: Speaking
Sub-skill: Functional - making complaints.

Skill: Listening: TV Fawlty Towers 'Communicative Problems.'

Skill: Speaking: Role -Play Making complaints in a restaurant/travel agent´s/shop.

Lesson 2 - Skill: Writing
Sub-skill: Writing a formal letter of complaint

System: Discourse Linkers: Sequencers and concession linkers. Comparison of spoken and written complaints

Format of a formal letter

Planning a formal letter of complaint in pairs.

Homework: Write up the formal letter of complaint.

Topic: Work

Lesson 1 - Warmer: Vocabulary - acronyms on the interent Example: FAQs

Skill: Listening
sub-skill: For gist - talking about the differences between formal letters and emails in style and structure.

Skill: Speaking.
10 top tips for writing emails.

Lesson 2 - System: Grammar - wishes and regrets.

Warmer: Statements about work to discuss that include wishes and regrets.

Noticing: the unreal past - the past tense used to show distance from reality. Students underline examples.

Controlled practice: Sentence completion.

Free practice: Game : 'Guess Who.'

Topic: Work

Lesson 1 - Warmer: Definition of a good/bad colleague.

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Expressing different degrees of certainty Example: I reckon/ I´m not sure

Task: Design an activity to help promote team building.

System Vocabulary: Work idioms and expressions Example: to be work shy/to take a sicky.

Lesson 2 Skill: Listening
sub-skill: For specific information. Streamline Departures p.54 Taking phone messages.

System: Vocabulary: jumbled telephone expressions Example: put someone through/hold the line

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Functional - a telephone conversation.
Flow chart.

Topic: The Media

Lesson 1 - System:Vocabulary: Words connected with the media Example: tabloid/soap opera

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Functional - expressing personal opinion. Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of various forms of media.

Skill: Listening Sub-skill: For specific info - gapfill.
Song: Scream by Michael and Janet Jackson. (Song is about the effect of the media on their lives)

System :Vocabulary: Word formation - words that appear in song Scream

Lesson 2 - Warmer . Puns in newspaper headlines.

System:Vocabulary: Newspapers Example: go-ahead/ curb
In Advance p.68
Noticing: Style - expanding newspaper headlines p.69

Homework: No.2 p. 68

  Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Monday Tuesday
2 hours

Topic: The News

Lesson 1 - Warmer: Skim reading an English newspaper supplement

Skill: Reading
sub-skills: Skim, scan and reading for detail.
Looking at a wide variety of authentic newspaper articles.

LT: Reading strategies for skim, scan and detailed reading
.Activating vocabulary building strategies with Lexibase. (Appendix)

Lesson 2 - Warmer: News that interests students, expressing personal preference.

Skill: Listening
sub-skills: For gist and detail listening to an authentic news bulletin taken from the BBC World Service.

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: reformulation of news story.

Homework: Buy an English newspaper and read an article.

Topic: Cultural and regional differences

Lesson 1 - Warmer: True/False questionnaire about differences between the U.S and Europe using Pulp Fiction.

System: Vocabulary words to describe the north and south of England.

Skill: Reading
sub-skill: For specific information. Streamline Departures Unit 19 Prejudice..

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Functional - disagreeing and interrupting
Task: Decide where to open a new cultural centre (Seville or Barcelona?)

Homework: Informal letter dismissing prejudices about Spain.

Lesson 2 - System: Grammar - modals of obligation (must and have to.

Questionnaire about national customs.

Topic: Music

Lesson 1 - Warmer: Guess the country - music from around the world

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Expressing personal tastes about music.

Skill: Listening
sub-skill: For gist. A radio news report about Rock Star (home recording)

Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Functional - denying and persuading.

Role -play - 'Rock Star'

Lesson 2 - Warmer: 'It´s me/It´s not me. Comparison of different groups/singers.

Skill: Listening
sub-skill: Dealing with background noise

Songs: Blur - Charmless Man
Oasis - Don´t Look Back in Anger.
Songs played simultaneously while two groups ordered the verses of their song.

Topic: Men and Women

Lesson 1 - Skills: Listening:
sub-skill: For gist
Video - Shirley ValentineSystem: Grammar - comparatives. Putting comparatives on a cline.
Example: slightly more important than/ just as important as.
Ranking what makes a successful marriage.

System: Vocabulary - colloquial (and some regional) expressions to describe men and women.

Skill Speaking
sub-skill: Functional - expressing opinion. And personal reactions to issues in film.

Comparison of marriage in Britain and Spain.

Lesson 2: Skill: Speaking
sub-skill: Expressing opinion - comparing male and female brains.

System: Vocabulary.
Noticing words with m/f connotations.

Topic: Literature

Lesson 1 - Warmer: Do students read in English? Why/not?

Skill: Reading

L.T: Reading strategies - inferring meaning of vocab/expressions from context using texts from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones´Diary. Peer teaching: explanation of the meaning of the vocabulary looked at in their particular text.

Homework: Write next diary entry using guidelines from Process Writing (See bibliography)

Lesson 2 - Warmer: System: Vocabulary - qualities of a hero

.System: Discourse - problem/solution textual pattern in an authentic short story: Examination of pattern in a variety of different texts Example: Romeo and Juliet . Looking at partial solutions. Ordering of text 'The Troubled Mr Wong.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendices

Appendix A

Day 1 - Tuesday 3 · Getting to know you: Find someone who. Topic bubbles.
· Needs assessment.Informal chat to students.
Day 2 - Wednesay 4 · Learning stategies: Comparison of learning to ride a bike with language learning.
· What makes a good learner: A definition.
· Listening: Difficulties in language learning: Linguaphone from Advanced Masterclass, Unit 6, p. 62.
· Setting of learner diaries.
Day 3 - Thursday 5 · Writing an informal letter to a friend.
· Speaking: Functional - how to show interest in a conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix B

Nunan looks at various attitudes towards syllabuses:

Yalden (1984): '[The syllabus] replaces the concept of "method," and the syllabus is now seen as an instrument by which the techer, with the help of the syllabus designer, can achieve a degree of "fit" between the needs and aims of the learner (as the social being and as individual) and the activities which will take place in the classroom.'

In my course plan I have taken 'syllabus' to mean the content, the materials, tasks and activities and the organisation of the materials. For simplicity I have not made a clear distinction between 'syllabus' and 'methodology,' although the distinction should be noted.

Widdowson (1984): 'It only becomes a threat to pedagogy when it is regarded as absolute rules for determining what is to be learned rather than points of reference from which bearings can be taken.'

Widdowson highlights the need to be flexible. Syllabuses have to adapt to different needs that may appear during the course. Just as a text book is adapted, so should the syllabus.

Breen (1984): 'Any syllabus will express - however indirectly - certain assumptions about language, about the psychological process of learning, and about the pedagogic and social processes within a classroom.'

This is inevitable. The advantage with working on a syllabus with a group of teachers is that everybody brings different assumptions that can then be negotiated to design a syllabus that is believed to be effective. Of course, different teachers and course designers have different priorities. That is why there is such a wide variety of syllabuses to choose from. The teacher can then select (and of course adapt) the syllabus s/he thinks is most appropriate for his/her students´needs.

NB: All the above were quoted in David Nunan´s Syllabus Design, (Oxford University Press, Oxford: 1988) pp.5-6.

Hutchinson et al. (1987) points out some of the advantages of a syllabus:

'Language is a complex entity. It cannot be learnt in one go. We have to have some way of breaking down the complex into manageable units. The syllabus, in defining the constituent parts of language knowledge, thus provides a practical basis for the division of assessement, textbooks and learning time.' (p.83)

It is also pointed out that a syllabus, 'gives moral support to the teacher and the learner, in that it makes the language learning task appear manageable.' (p.83)

Hutchinson et al. still point out that syllabuses still have to be used with care and should not be followed 'to the letter.'

Appendix C

Nunan (1988) gives a brief history of syllabus design. He states how syllabuses started with a bottom-up approach with lists of grammatical, phonological and vocabulary lists. In the seventies the communicative approach came popular with more emphasis on meaning rather than form. English for Specific Purposes also became popular, recognising the fact that 'general English' did not meet many students specific needs particularly in a work situation. Nowadays a top-down approach is more popular with the influence of task-based learning.

Hutchinson et al. (1987) also discuss various types of syllabus which include:
· Evaluation
· Organisational
· Materials
· Teacher
· Classroom

For a more detailed explantion see English for Specific Purposes ( CUP.p.80.) I would argue that most syllabues incorporate all of these elements.

Appendix D

The positive learning cycle - ultimately, what every teacher wants to achieve. Appears in Gardner, R.C., and Lambert, W.E., Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning, (Newbury House, 1972.)

Appendix E

Problems with the needs assessment:

·Though the needs assessment referred to methodology, it did not identify the students´previous learning experience. This obviously affects their attitudes towards learning since previous learning experience forms opinions on what is considered to be a 'good' or 'bad' methodology.
· Some of the questions were misinterpreted. For example, many students did not really understand question one. Many of the students thought it referred to speaking solely about themselves rather than expressing their opinions on a variety of different issues. The video question was also misunderstood. This perhaps reflects previous teaching experience as many students thought it would be a waste of time to 'just watch a video in class' as this could be done at home. Obviously, they had never had a lesson where a video was used to actually 'teach' something, rather than an aid to listen for gist. That is why I was personally interested in using the video for my Resources and Materials lesson.

Appendix F

Hutchinson et al. (1987, p.42) gives a brief summary of some of the learning theories that appeared in the twentieth century. He outlines the following:

· Behaviourism: The Audio-lingual method which advocated the stimulus-response idea.
Some of the criteria was 1. never translate
2. the sequence was always the same (hear, speak, read, write)
3. frequent repetition (drilling)
4. all errors received immediate correction

· Mentalism: Main influence was Chomsky (1964) who argued that learning conists of acquiring rules, not forming habits. This acquirement of rules is not conscious, but more instictive.

· Cognitive Code: Views learners as thinking beings. Learning is defined as the learner actively making sense of data.

It could be said that all these theories appear actively in the classroom. Drilling still plays a very important part in the classroom, even in advanced groups. Mentalism perhaps plays its part when, as teachers, we encourage students to rely on instinct, to rely on what 'sounds right' for them. Finally, tasks performed in the classroom often problem -solving which reflects the cognitive side of learning. Interestingly enough, many of the students on the needs assessment stated that problem-solving tasks was an area of methodology that interested them the most.

Appendix G

These results are taken from the beginning of the course. (They refer to when students had most contact with English and areas they were interested in.) Some of the students left the course and other students joined. Unfortunately, I do not have information about the new students as they joined in the last week of the course.

CORINA Telephone, translation, speaking to friends, memos, notes and songs.
BEATRIZ Travel, internet and emails, telephone, work.
AFRICA Work, phone, talking to friends, travel, Business English.
PABLO Work, reading, internet, talking to friends.
LORENA Work, speaking to foreign colleagues, meeting friends.
TROYANO Films, news, TV, novels, documents at work, travel, meetings abroad.
YOLANDA Work, telephone and customers, reading, TV, travel.
MONTSE Travel and work, some translation.

Appendix H

Saphier and Gower (1987) define objectives more specifically:

1. Coverage objectives: What will be covered?
2. Activity objectives: What will students do?
3. Involvement objectives: How will student involvement and interest be maximised?
4. Mastery objectives: What will students be able to do?
5. Critical thinking objectives: What learning skills will students develop?

So, taking my literature lesson as an example (Monday 23 July) my objectives were the following:

1. Coverage objectives: Two different reading texts, problem vocabulary that appears in both texts.
2. Activity objectives: Discussion of New Year´s Resolutions and diaries
Scan reading for specific data on protagonists.
Indentifying meaning of vocabulary in paris.
Information exchange/peer teaching of vocabulary.
3. Involvement objectives: The texts were entertaining and Bridget Jones is extremely topical at the moment due to the film.
4. Mastery objectives: Reading skills (scan)
Inferring meaning of words from context.
5. Critical thinking objectives: Training students to infer difficult meaning from context by highlighting the need to ask questions about text.

Appendix I

Objectives can be criticised because teaching cannot be equated with learning. The teacher may have certain objectives for a class but there is no guarantee that the student will learn specifically what the teacher had planned. As Allwright (1984) states: 'What is planned and what actually happens in the lesson are two different things.' One way to combat this is to keep the objectives open-ended, so learners can achieve at least something.

Appendix J

Stern (1992) describes goals under the following headings:

1. Proficiency goals: Competency/mastery of the four skills/specific language behaviours.
2. Cognitive goals: Mastery of linguistic knowledge and cultural knowledge.
3. Affective goals: Achieving positive attitudes and feelings about language and getting confident.
4. Transfer goals: Learning how to learn.

Appendix K

This was referenced in Nunan´s Syllabus Design (1988) p.86.

Clark (1987) in ALL PROJECT referred to the following fuctions that seem most applicable to our syllabus:

· Establishing and maintaining relationships and discussing topicsof interest. (Our syllabus covered various topics and looking at agreeing/disagreeing/expressing interest/hesitation fuctions.)
· Problem solving. (There were a variety of problem-solving tasks during the course for example: design an activity to promote team-building taking into consideration a variety of different colleagues and therefore personalities.)
· Listening to, reading, viewing and responding to a stimulus. (Video and literary texts as examples.)

Appendix L

This is the format of the lexibase that helped students to record vocabulary.

Appendix M

An example of the learner diary - in the bottom half of the coursebook page.

Appendix N

Graves (1996, p.29) outlines the difference between the a cyclicar and a matrix syllabus:

A cyclicar framework puts emphasis on the regular cycle of activities, following a consistent sequence. It therefore highlights the need to focus not only on a lesson but also on a course level. This principle of recycling material (students encounter previous materials in news ways i.e. a different skill, a different activity or a different focus) is one we have tried to incorporate in our syllabus.

A Matrix framework consists of a course of material and learned activities to be conducted within a given time frame. The one disadvantage of the Matrix is that it is difficult to establish how long the learning process will take.

Appendix O

At the end of the course we asked the students to complete a questionnaire. The questions were as follows:

1. How do you feel about the course?
2. Which lessons did you enjoy most? Why?
3. Which lessons did you find the most/least useful?
4. What areas do you think you´ve most improved on?
5. What topics/language areas would you have like to do more on?

I have included two of the feedback forms from students who continued with the course for the whole month.

1. How do you feel about the course?
I think it's been a nice experience that I'm sure I'll repeat next year if you let me.

2. Which lessons did you enjoy most? Why?
The one about news on the TV. I think it was very interesting. Also the one about the internet because is an actual subject.

3. Which lessons did you find the most/least useful?
The ones in which we watched TV and then we had to discussed what we understood. Also the listenings with the tape.

4. What areas do you think you´ve most improved on?
Vocabulary, speaking.

5. What topics/language areas would you have like to do more on?
I think this classes are focus on speaking and I've learnt practising! But also we have done writing for homework, grammar. I liked the topics.

Montse de Lucas


1. How do you feel about the course?
I am quite satisfied. In appreciate the work that teacher have done for us. They have corrected all my homework, and they have paid much attention to all our needs.

2. Which lessons did you enjoy most? Why?
The one about woman/men because I like the topic.

3. Which lessons did you find the most/least useful?
I found very useful the lessons about linkers, and the one about teenage expressions.

4. What areas do you think you´ve most improved on?
I think I have learned quite a lot of vocabulary and useful linkers (for structure a text).

5. What topics/language areas would you have like to do more on?
Business English, Grammar.

Africa


Appendix P

Some solutions:

1. In terms of catering for specific student needs it would have been a good idea to give 'tailor-made' homework. For example, in the case of Africa who wanted to do Business English, a self-access pack could have been prepared so that she could study at home. She was very motivated and did all her homework so I think she would have been pleased to receive some extra help.
2. Become more a ware of individual learning processes by doing more experiments in class. A questionnaire on multiple intelligences would help decide on what type of activities to do in class.
3. Organise tutorials where 'conferencing' can take place. (For a description of what conferencing is see Ardnt and White, Process Writing, p. 131)
4. Negotiate the syllabus more with the students throughout the course, rather than just basing the whole syllabus around what was said at the very beginning of the course.
5. More specific pronunciation work should have been covered on the course as this was an area the students were interested in.
6. Understand that a syllabus is not a fixed entity and that updates will constantly have to be made. This is an absolute must if the teacher wants to teach a course that can meet his or her students´needs to the best of his/her ability. Graves (1996) depicts this clearly with her diagram.

syllabus flow chart

 

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