a twenty-hour course by Scott Shelton
document outlines a twenty-hour course designed for an identified group
of advanced learners who are preparing to sit the examination for the
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English at the end of the term. It is
divided into two parts. The first provides a rationale for the course,
the process by which the course content has been selected and sequenced,
as well as a brief examination of the principles of syllabus planning
and how these were applied when planning the course. How this course reflects
the learning needs of this particular group is also addressed, as well
as how these needs were determined. The second part consists of a course
outline (appendix A) and a detailed timetable of the course plan. (appendix
of the course was fifteen one and a half hour lessons, over the course
of eight weeks, and is representative of the larger, eight month long
syllabus which most of this group has been taking part in. This portion
of the larger syllabus begins just after returning from Christmas break,
and runs through into the end of February. The class consists of eight
students, many of whom are young professionals, who meet twice a week.
Their initial level was determined by a written entrance exam, which is
standard at International House, where I teach, and additionally by an
oral interview with a trained teacher.
as mentioned, was designed to prepare and train students to pass the Cambridge
Certificate in Advanced English, and places particular emphasis on the
skills they will need and the topics they will likely encounter in this
exam. The CAE was introduced in December 1991 and is designed to offer
a high-level qualification to those wishing to use English for professional
or study purposes.
consists of five papers: Reading, Writing, English in Use, Listening and
CAE handbook (2001:7) breaks down the necessary skills and expectations
for each section, and are as follows:
Learners at this level are expected to be able to read and understand
text taken from a wide range of authentic sources. They should demonstrate
a variety of reading skills including skimming, scanning, deduction of
meaning from context and selection of relevant information to complete
the given task.
Learners are expected to complete non-specialist writing tasks in response
to the stimuli provided (input text and task descriptions). The input
texts are taken from a wide range of authentic sources. Both audience
and purpose are made clear in the task descriptions.
Learners are expected to demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge
of the language system by completing tasks based on authentic passages.
The tasks include: cloze exercise types, gap filling, proof-reading exercises,
word formation exercises and text completion.
Learners are expected to understand each text as a whole, gain detailed
understanding and appreciate gist and the attitude of the speaker. They
must also be able to identify and interpret the context. Texts take the
form of announcements, speeches, radio broadcasts, etc.
Learners must be able to demonstrate a range of oral skills: interactional,
social, transactional, negotiation and collaboration.
Due to the
amount and breadth of reading and writing involved in this exam, this
syllabus places an emphasis on the skills required to succeed in these
areas. Specific training in how to approach these tasks is given and ample
exposure to a wide range of authentic texts is provided for as well.
and speaking skills are also practiced regularly and are an integral part
of this course as they are also tested in a variety of ways.
a sufficiently large active and passive vocabulary is a constant concern
at this level and it is focused on continually throughout this course.
grammar is not overtly tested in CAE, this course provides ample opportunity
to revise, and structural accuracy is a permanent focus of the tasks laid
out in this course.
prepared are based on a theme containing likely topics to be found in
the exam, and a continuous thread runs through each lesson as different
aspects of the theme are explored.
aim of this syllabus is to give the students in this group ample training
representative of all the exam tasks they will meet and at the same time
taking into consideration their particular needs, strengths, weaknesses
passing the exam is obviously its main focus, this syllabus was designed
to be relevant and interesting to the students at a personal level outside
of the exam perimeter and relevant to their social needs as well.
Planning a course syllabus: Choosing and sequencing course content
points out in 'Curriculum Development in language teaching', (2001:148)
a course, to be successful, must be developed to address a specific set
of needs and to cover a given set of objectives. I concur that considerations
of students' needs should play a part in planning a course as well as
the objectives and proposed outcomes for the group. He signals that:
choice of a particular approach to content selection will depend on subject
matter knowledge, the learners' proficiency levels, current views on second
language learning and teaching, conventional wisdom, and convention."
(1987) in turn, suggests that:
design is a decision-making process which has to be responsive to a range
of requirements including its sensitivity to the curriculum, classroom,
and educational contexts for which it is designed. In order to meet these
requirements, the designer creates a syllabus on the basis of the four
organizing principles of focus, selection, subdivision and sequencing.
The particular way in which the designer applies these principles will
never be neutral or objective but will reflect views on language, upon
using language, and upon the teaching and learning of language which the
designer shares with the wider community of specialists in language education.
the content and sequence of content in this twenty-hour course, the objectives
of the group were taken into consideration (passing a specific exam),
as well as their current proficiency level. Also taken into consideration
were the task types they will meet in the exam, their learning styles
and a certain amount of conventional wisdom based on my previous experience
of having prepared other students for this exam, and through conferencing
with other teacher who have done the same.
to assess the specific needs of the students in this group in relation
to their exam preparation and their current rate of progress, I administered
a combination retrospective and prospective needs analysis (appendix C).
This was done in order to gain the insight needed to better understand
how my students perceived the course they had been involved in up to then,
their perception of their progress, and any adjustments that they felt
were needed to better prepare them for the exam. This, as well as any
special needs or problems that they might be having that I, as their teacher,
was not aware of.
of the survey were largely positive as the majority of the class felt
that their needs as learners, as well as their expectations of the course
were being met. Many expressed interest in doing more practice examinations
as part of their preparation but found the course book and supplementary
materials relevant and interesting as well.
there were discernable discrepancies among the learners' own perceived
strengths and weaknesses. The balance of skills and systems work selected
for the course reflects an attempt to take into account this wide range
of needs. Content was chosen with the learners' needs in mind although
my experience, and the experience of colleagues who have prepared others
for this exam, also played a part in the selection and sequence of the
objectives for the group
defines performance objectives as, what learners should be able to do
as a result of instruction, and states:
syllabus planners who advocate the use of performance objectives suggest
that they should contain three components. The first of these, the performance
component, describes what the learner is to be able to do, the second,
the conditions component, specifies the conditions under which the learner
will perform, and the final component, the standards component, indicates
how well the learner is to perform".
(1981 in Nunan 1988:65) argues in favor of specifying objectives:
effort to specify objectives in performance terms forces us to be realistic
about what it is feasible to achieve, and they greatly facilitate student
In relation to this course plan for advanced learners, the ideas behind
these two statements can be clearly linked to the goal of passing an official
exam and are reflected in the content of their coursework laid out in
the timetable in part two of this paper.
component is broken down into the specific tasks they are expected to
do, such as in writing a transactional letter or completing a set of notes
after listening to a related monologue.
are in a classroom situation and are practiced in such a way to prepare
for a future exam situation.
expected, as well as being at Cambridge Level Four, also falls within
Level four of the Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE).
A description of a "competent user" at this level, (although
not being a specification for the examination content but referring to
language activities in real-world, non-examination contexts) is found
in Appendix D (Cambridge CAE handbook: 2001:6).
performance sub-goals within the classroom can be stated from a success-in-the-task
perspective; its desired outcome being continued motivation. In my experience,
sustaining motivation, especially on the Cambridge examination preparation
courses, is clearly important as the courses are quite intensive, the
standard is high, and the learners are continually being challenged. As
Dr. Littlejohn (2001) points out:
both teachers and school systems have drawn on both intrinsic satisfaction
and extrinsic reward as sources of motivation in learning, the third source,
success in the task: the combination of satisfaction and reward, is perhaps
under exploited in teaching. This is the simple fact of success, and the
effect that it has on our view of what we do. As human beings, we generally
like what we do well, and are therefore more likely to do it again and
put in more effort. If we put in more effort, we generally get better,
and so this sustains our motivation".
on board when designing a syllabus necessarily has as much or more to
do with grading tasks, as selecting and sequencing content. This course
is pitched at the advanced level throughout although there is an appreciable
progression in the exam tasks leading to fuller exam-type tasks as the
course progresses. This is especially evident in the tasks leading up
to and forming part of a mock exam and the subsequent tasks, which make
up the lessons coming afterwards.
it should be evident that this particular syllabus has been designed with
very specific goals in mind. However, in achieving these goals, it has
been taken into consideration that maintaining motivation throughout the
learning process, though grading and projected success in the inherent
tasks, is of great importance.
Selecting a syllabus framework
(2001:152) describes a syllabus as:
major elements that will be used in planning a language course and which
provides the basis for its instructional focus and content."
(1988) lists six types of syllabi (see appendix E for a full description)
and goes on to say this about choosing and integrating syllabi:
the six types of syllabus content are defined here in isolated contexts,
it is rare for one type of syllabus or content to be used exclusively
in actual teaching settings. Syllabi or content types are usually combined
in more or less integrated ways, with one type as the organizing basis
around with the others are arranged and related. In discussing syllabus
choice and design, it should be kept in mind that the issue is not which
type to choose but which types, and how to relate them to each other."
In designing this course, my point of departure was the course book that
is set for this group of learners by the larger curriculum of the school
(CAE Masterclass 1999), the students' needs collected by means of a needs
analysis survey, and the performance objectives set out above.
materials are also used throughout the course and come in several forms.
Some example are news articles from 'The Independent' (A British daily
broadsheet) which are relevant to the current classroom theme and adapted
to practice exam related skills such as reading for gist and detail, or
for work on noticing and recording lexis and structures. Authentic video
from the BBC with worksheets adapted to practice listening comprehension
skills, and adapted transcripts to work on system related skills are used
as well. Published Cambridge practice exams are also included for exam
practice specifically under 'real' exam conditions.
organizing principle is largely skills-based, concentrating on the four
basic skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking with structure
being integrated as an internal element of the tasks set, which in turn
practice each skill. Discrete grammar points are also revised and practiced.
Evaluation and conclusion
of this course is based primarily on student feedback, through counseling,
mock examination results and reflection on the part of the teacher and
student needs analysis it was apparent that although some individually
perceived needs were not fully being met, overall - the general collective
class needs were largely being met. The teacher and the course were seen
in a positive light, the students perceived class time being used wisely
and felt they were being provided appropriate materials for their present
level and goals.
A mock exam
was administered over two days and included representative sampling of
all areas of the Advanced Certificate Exam including; reading, listening,
use of English, and writing. All were subject to an appropriate time limit.
the nine students in class did well enough to warrant a pass while two
others did not. A full class feedback session was held after the exams,
as well as individual counseling, in order to get an authentic response
from each student on their progress and the course, and to give any necessary
advice to the student.
of the responses were favorable in that everyone felt they were improving
although many felt they did not have enough time to spend outside of class
on their studies. In the exam results it was clear, however, that everyone
could benefit from more work on proof-reading and syntactical grammar
exercises. The need to practice with exam level listening exercises was
evident, while reading was a strong point for all and writing was generally
good. The necessary changes will be implemented in the rest of the course
to follow, to adjust to these results.
exam results and the outcome of teacher-student counseling, I feel that
the course planned was quite successful in reaching its objectives. The
students are positive about their time spent and their progress. While
it is apparent that changes in emphasis will be implemented in the future,
a well balanced course focusing on the different skills and exercise types
needed in the exam has been largely successful for the majority of the
J.C. (2001) Curriculum Development in Language Teaching, CUP
Nunan, D. (1988) Syllabus Design, OUP
(1991) Language Teaching Methodology, Prentice Hall International, Edinburgh
Breen, M.P. (1987) Contemporary Paradigms in Syllabus Design, Language
Teaching, 20/3 1987
Reilly, T. (1988) Approaches to Foreign Language Syllabus Design, Eric
A. (2001) Motivation: Where does it come from? Where does it go?. English
Teaching Professional issue 19 April 2001.
J. C. (1990)The Language Teaching Matrix, CUP
Gray, K. (1990) "Syllabus design for the general class: what happens
to theory when you apply it. ELT Journal Volume 44 October, 1990
Richards, J.C. & Rodgers, T. S. (1986) Approaches and Methods in Language
Teaching , CUP
Shelton has been involved in EFL teaching since
1991 and has taught adults from all over the world. Currently residing
and teaching in New Zealand, Scott has also taught multilingual groups
at St. Giles College in San Francisco and Spanish speaking learners at
International House Madrid, Spain. He was awarded the Cambridge Diploma
(DELTA) in 2002, having followed the course at the British Language Centre
in Madrid, and earned his CELTA from St. Giles College International a
very long time ago.
A - Course Outline
Agreeing to disagree
Holding the floor
Expressing personal opinion
Comparing and contrasting
Wishes and regrets
Constructions after reporting verbs
Noun and verb clauses
Positive and negative connotations
Noticing and recording collocations of:
Adjective + noun phrases
Verb + noun phrases
Adverb + adjective phrases
Adverbs and adjectives to describe lifestyles
Word stress patterns
Intonation (inferring attitude at receptive level)
Developing a discussion
For gist and for detail
For gist and for detail
/bottom up reading and
Planning to write
Purpose and audience
Developing an awareness of cohesion
Noticing and recording lexis in context
Prediction/ educated guessing
B - the course timetable
- Skill: Writing
- Sub skill: writing a formal report
- Exam prep. Pt. 1
- Task 1: Read report extract summarize paragraph aims
- Identify word/phrases which introduce subject, opinions, and linking
- Task 2: Analyze 3 texts and decide on a theme, purpose and target
reader for report
- Selecting ideas/ planning an answer
- Linking information from given texts to support position in report
- Decide on conclusions and recommendations
- Homework: writing a report
Introduction to new unit theme: Culture and Entertainment
- Skill: Reading
- (Multiple matching)
- Sub-skills: Skimming and scanning exam techniques
- Exam prep. Reading pt.1/4
- Task: matching appropriate items from a text to answer specific
- System: Vocabulary finding synonyms to match words in text
- Vocabulary task:
- Based on order of descriptive adjectives
- Skill: Speaking: Description of favorite articles at home
- Homework: Proofreading
- correction of descriptive text
- System: Vocabulary: categorizing adjectives (Positive/negative)
- Skill: Listening:
- Sub skills: Noticing and recording language useful for speaking/writing
about films (adjective noun collocations)
- Task: listen to recorded discussion on a film for gist then listen
again for adj./noun collocations and record on work sheet
- Task: guided search in transcript for more related vocabulary and
- System: discourse: transferring register from informal spoken to
- Task: transferring selected expressions from transcript to formal
- Skill: interactional Speaking
- discussion on recent films seen
- Homework: English in Use Pt.1 Vocabulary Cloze multiple cho
- Skill: writing
- Sub skill: writing a formal film review
- Task: Identify adverbs used to strengthen adj. of opinion and description
- Identifying Positive and negative points in given text
- System: Vocabulary
- Working with adverbs to intensify adjectives
- to strengthen introducing information and opinions (used in reviews)
- Preparing to write:
- Brainstorming ideas/planning an answer
- Pairs walk each other through plan. Comment and improve
- Homework: write formal review of film or play
- Additional outside reading : newspaper article linked to upcoming
video based lesson
Theme: Cultural entertainment
- Skill: interactional speaking practice
- Summary and feedback on outside reading
- Systems: Grammar and Vocabulary
- Exam prep. Eng. In use pt. 1-4
- Skill: Listening
- S's listen to video to check answers
- Task: S's do open cloze testing both vocabulary and grammar based
on reading theme then check with video for answers
- System: spelling and punctuation Editing/error correction based
- System: Vocabulary Multiple choice vocabulary gap fill based on
- Homework: create own multiple choice gap fill using words which
were not answers for the text.
- Skill: Speaking
- Sub skill: Exam practice using transactional language.
- Practice in Speaking paper part 2 where students take "long
- Describing a set of photographs in detail to put them in same order.
- Theme: lifestyles and people
- Task: S's engage in "long turn" describing and commenting
on visual prompts
- Sub skills Describing, hypothesizing and commenting
- System: transactional discourse
- Sub skills:
- Turn taking
- Holding the floor
- Skill: Listening
- Sub skill: prediction, note taking/
- completing a table
- Exam preparation for part 1/2 of listening section
- System: Vocabulary
- Word building
- Practice for English in Use; part 4
- Raising awareness of word class,
- Skill: Reading
- Sub skill: reading for gist
- Students read internet article at home and in class talk about what
- Reacting to text
- Students read news article and pairs work through related wksheet
dealing with affixes
- Pairs do worksheet related to word-stress and affixes
- Sub skill: hypothesizing about how words are pronounced
- From authentic text S's complete gap fill by forming appropriate
word from prompts
- Students write questions related to theme and discuss in groups
- Skill speaking (transactional and interactional)
- Practice for speaking parts two and three.
- Students brainstorm all they know and want to know about the speaking
- S's do gap fill multiple choice cloze adapted from handbook info.
- S's read more info. Related to speaking paper.
- In groups S's practice mock style with teacher as interlocutor.
- Feedback and ideas how to improve
- English in Use exam training part six; gapped text with emphasis
on cohesion and coherence.
- Theme: Japanese Noh theatre
- T. walks S's through clues related to cohesive links.
- S's work in pairs to finish task
- Home work: similar task with commentary and answers included.
Mock exam part 1
- Paper to be tested:
- English in Use
- Part 1: Multiple choice cloze
- Emphasis on Lexis
- S's read gapped text, choose correct word from four choices
- Part 2: Open cloze emphasis on structure words
- S's read gapped text, supply one word only to complete the text
- Part 3: Error correction
- Emphasis on proofreading spelling and punctuation errors
- S's read through text, identify line, which contains an error, show
the correction in space provided.
- Paper 4: Open cloze register transfer
- Emphasis from formal to informal
- S's read teacher's comments on student project; use information
to complete gaps in informal letter from the student herself.
- Paper 5: Cloze gap fill based on word formation
- Emphasis on morphology S's read text, form word from root to complete
- Homework: Timed writing S's choose from 5 task types (2 letters,
article, competition entry, or report) Write 250 words in approx.1hr
Mock exam part 2
- Paper to be tested: Reading and Listening
- Part 1 (reading)
- Multiple matching task Main focus: Understanding specific information
- S's skim text, answer questions based on information in text.
- Part 2: Gapped text
- Main focus: Text structure
- S's re-construct text that has had it's paragraphs jumbled
- Part 3: Multiple choice. Main focus: understanding detail, opinion/attitude.
- S's read text and choose from 4 possible answers
- Listening paper 4
- Part 1: Note taking task based on listening to short monologue,
students hear twice
- Main focus: understanding specific information
- Part 2: Note taking task based on monologue students hear only once.
- Main focus: Understanding specific information
- Part 4: Multiple matching. S's hear 5 extracts twice, select answer
from 8 options.
- Main focus: Identifying speakers, topics, interpreting context,
recognizing function and attitude.
- Whole class feedback on Reading proceeded by pairs working together
to compare results and justify choices or be swayed by classmate.
- Pairs work through worksheet with dictionaries designed to guide
them through some of the anticipated problem areas in the multiple
choice part 1 of English in Use, focusing on Lexis and common problem
- S's work through copy of transcript of Listening and check answers
in pairs underlining relevant parts
- Teacher-student interview to discuss mock results, recent needs
analysis and general counseling
New Unit theme: The world of work
- Skills: Reading§ Matching text to pictures depicting professions
- Sub skill: identifying co-textual clues
- System: vocabulary
- Task: S's search text for synonymous words matching ones given
- Skill: speaking/reading
- From text prompt
- S's discuss views on theme of text
- System: discourse (transactional/
- interactional language skills)
- Focus on turn taking skills and ability to explain, summarize and
develop a discussion
- Exam prep. For part 2/4 of speaking paper
- Pairs compare/contrast photographs
- Develop discussion from visual prompts
- Skill: Listening
- Task: Sentence gap completion from monologue
Theme: The real world/work
- System: spelling and punctuation
- Skill: proofreading/editing
- Exam prep. Eng. In use part 3
- From paragraph on how to become a careers officer S's identify and
correct errors in spelling and punctuation
- System: Vocabulary
- Focus on homophones
- Skill: Reading
- Pre-reading discussion based on visual prompts and given adjectives
- Exam practice in paper 1 part 2
- Sub skill: Skim reading
- System focus: cohesion(linking relationships between paragraphs)
- Task: Restructure text cut up into separate paragraphs by identifying
words that refer to links between paragraphs
- System: Vocabulary
- Focus on phrasal verbs used in text.
- Task: inferring meaning from contextual clues
Theme: Jobs/taking time out
- Skill: Speaking
- Discussion on how S's would spend time if didn't have to work/study.
- Sub skill: expressing/justifying opinions
- System: grammar/vocabulary§ Task: supply missing words in article
with one word only
- Re-read and identify synonymous words and phrases matching ones
- Task related to article
- S's find examples of wishes and regrets implied by writer
- Skill: Speaking
- S's recount wishes/regrets from written prompts
§ Theme: working abroad
- Skill: interactional speaking practice
- S's discuss hypothetical situation based on working/travelling abroad
- Skill: listening
- Sub skill: listening for gist
- S's hear monologue of someone who took a year off. S's decide if
time was successfully spent
- Skill: Writing
- Sub skill: Register transfer
- Task 1: Read various ads for work abroad, summarize info. And id.
More info. They would like to know about jobs
- Task 2: From ads and letter from friend prompts S's plan response
to letter and suggest substitutions of language used for formal register
- Write one formal letter to org. asking for more information(transactional
- And an informal response to friend describing action (interactional)
C - Needs analysis
take some time at home and answer any and all questions you feel
comfortable about answering and those that you feel are relevant.
This information will help your teacher to have a better understanding
of you and the others on this course and will have an effect on
how it is taught. Please answer as briefly or as in depth as you
1. In your opinion, is this course presently fulfilling your needs
and requirements for passing the CAE exam? If not, how would you
prefer to proceed and what do you think needs to be done?
2. What were your expectations of this course before you began?
How close to reality were they?
3. Do you feel you know what is expected on each paper of the exam?
If not, how would you rather receive more information-directly from
your teacher during class time or by reading relevant sections of
Cambridge published material?
4. Do you feel that you are making progress? If not, what do you
think could help you progress more?
5. What are your views of the course book and supplementary materials
used on this course? Are they relevant to your needs? Do you find
them interesting? If not, what more is needed, in your opinion?
6. What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses? Reading writing
Do you feel that your pronunciation is adequate for your present
What do you feel are the areas you need to work on most? Are you
getting sufficient practice and input on these areas in class?
part of the exam do you feel most confident about?
8. Do you think you are reading and writing enough both inside and
outside of class in order to be able to deal with the exam requirements?
If not, how do you think this could be remedied?
Are there any particular problems you are having on this course?
Do you feel that you teacher is aware of this and provides opportunities
to work on this area in class?
Do you feel that your teacher is well prepared and uses class time
wisely? If not, please comment on how you think this could be improved?
D - of a "competent user" at this level
standard expected, as well as being at Cambridge Level Four, also
falls within Level four of the Association of Language Testers in
Europe (ALTE). A description of a "competent user" at
this level, although not being a specification for the examination
content but referring to language activities in real-world, non-examination
contexts is found in Appendix 4 (Cambridge CAE handbook: 2001).
this level, learners are expected to be able to use the structures
of a language with ease and fluency. They are aware of both the
relationship between the language and the culture it exists in,
as well as the significance of register. To some extent they are
able to adapt their language to a variety of social situations and
express opinions and take part in discussions and arguments in a
culturally acceptable way. They can develop their own interests
in reading both factual and fictional texts. They can also produce
a variety of types of texts and utterances, such as letters of varying
degrees of formality. They can use language in a creative and flexible
way, with the ability to respond appropriately to unforeseen as
well as predictable situations, producing quite long and complex
utterances. Examinations at this level may be used as proof of the
level of language necessary to work at a managerial or professional
level or follow a course of academic study at university level.
- E Reilly, (1988) lists six types of syllabi
"A structural syllabus." The content of language teaching
is a collection of the forms and structures, usually grammatical,
of the language being taught. Examples include nouns, verbs ,adjectives,
statements, questions, subordinate clauses, and so on.
"A notional/functional syllabus." The content of the language
teaching is a collection of the functions that are performed when
language is used, or of the notions that language is used to express.
Examples of functions include: informing, agreeing, apologizing,
requesting; examples of notions include size, age, color, comparison,
time, and so on.
"A situational syllabus." The content of language teaching
is a collection of real or imaginary situations in which language
occurs or is used. A situation usually involves several participants
who are engaged in some activity in a specific setting. The language
occurring is the situation involves a number of functions, combined
into a plausible segment of discourse. The primary purpose of a
situational language teaching syllabus is to teach the language
that occurs in the situations. Examples of situations include: seeing
the dentist, complaining to the landlord, buying a book at the book
store, meeting a new student, and so on.
"A skill-based syllabus." The content of the language
teaching is a collection of specific abilities that may play a part
in using language. Skills are things that people must be able to
do to be competent in a language, relatively independently of the
situation or setting in which the language use can occur. While
situational syllabi group functions together into specific settings
of language use, skills-based syllabi group linguistic competencies
(pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse) together into
generalized types of behavior, such as listening for main ideas,
writing well-formed paragraphs, giving effective oral presentations,
and so on. The primary purpose of skill-based instruction is to
learn the specific language skill. A possible secondary purpose
is to develop more general competence in the language, learning
only incidentally any information that may be available while applying
the language skills.
"A task-based syllabus" The content of the teaching is
a series of complex and purposeful tasks that the students want
or need to perform with the language they are learning. The tasks
are defined as activities with a purpose other than language learning,
but, as in a content-based syllabus, the performance of the tasks
is approached in a way that is intended to develop second language
ability. Language learning is subordinate to task performance, and
language teaching occurs only as the need arises during the performance
of a given task. Tasks integrate language (and other) skills in
specific settings of language use. Task-based teaching differs from
situation-based teaching in that while situational teaching has
the goal of teaching the specific language content that occurs in
the situation (a predefined product), task-based teaching has the
goal of teaching students to draw on resources to complete some
piece of work (a process). The students draw on a variety of language
forms, functions, and skills, often in an individual and unpredictable
way, in completing the tasks. Tasks that can be used for language
learning are, generally, tasks that the learners actually have to
perform in any case. Examples include: applying for a job, talking
with a social worker, getting housing information over the telephone,
and so on.
"A content-based syllabus." The primary purpose of instruction
is to teach some content or information using the language that
the students are also learning. The students are simultaneously
language students and students of whatever content is being taught.
The subject matter is primary and language learning occurs incidentally
to the content learning. The content teaching is not organized around
the language teaching, but vice-versa. Content-based language teaching
is concerned with information, while task-based language teaching
is concerned with communicative and cognitive processes. An example
of content-based language teaching is a science class taught in
the language the students need or want to learn, possibly with linguistic
adjustment to make the science more comprehensible.
general, the six types of syllabi or instructional content are presented
beginning with the one based most on structure, and ending with
the one based most on language use. Language is a relationship between
form and meaning, and most instruction emphasizes on or the other
side of this relationship.
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