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The purpose of this paper is the emergence of an alternative way in how we may plan for language teaching and learning; that is a syllabus. As Nunan (1988) stated, the requirements for a syllabus are the plan of the knowledge and skills that will be worked on; the syllabus confines the potential vastness of a language and its use within manageable and familiar categories. The plan must provide an accessible framework of what is to be achieved and should also function as a basis for the evaluation of learning. The syllabus is simply a framework within which activities can be carried out: a teaching device to facilitate learning. Language is not just a set of structure habits, nor a collection of situationally sensitive phrases. It is a vehicle for the comprehension and expression of meanings or notions. Language is for communication. Linguistic competence, the knowledge of forms and their meanings, is just one part of communicative competence. Another aspect of communicative competence is knowledge of functions language is used for. A variety of forms can be used to accomplish a single function. Conversely, the same form of the language can be used for a variety of functions. Thus, learners need knowledge of forms, meanings and functions. While functional language teaching provided EFL with a more realistic and motivating approach, it offered ESL based on the principles of new specialism.


Developments in psychology, sociology and anthropology affected language teaching. The priorities of the Functional Syllabus have been strongly influenced by the theoretical and analytical concerns of linguistics. During the period of change in linguistic theory and analysis, philosophers who were interested in problems of meaning and the use of language were exploring the notion of Speech Acts. For many linguists, the notion of competence in language was broadened to entail, not only knowledge of the code and knowledge of the conventions of social use of the code, but also knowledge of the particular conventions of meaning which was shared with the other users of the code. The concept of need has been largely ignored by structurally based syllabuses and the concept of communicative function is often lost in the concentration on grammatical form. Since the primary goal of functional syllabus is to build language competence through use; the ability to use this knowledge for effective communication needs analysis gained importance for a syllabus and ESP emerged. The concept of planning a language syllabus around the communicative needs of the students rather than around a fixed body of knowledge has serious implications for the field of language teaching. Functional syllabus is a turning point with the developments in these areas. It was a revolutionary idea for that time that focused not only on textual knowledge but also interpersonal that is the unity of time, space and relationship and conceptual knowledge; ideation that is knowing the concept behind the word a learner utters. The Functional approach refers to an approach to syllabus design, not a method of language teaching. This approach restructures the presentation of the target language to coincide with the communicative functions or use to which the language will be put.

Functional syllabuses have proved very popular as a basis for organising courses and materials for the following reasons:

They reflect a more comprehensive view of language than grammar syllabuses and focus on the use of the language rather than linguistic form.

They can readily be linked to other types of syllabus content (e.g. topics, grammar, vocabulary).

They provide a convenient framework for the design of teaching materials, particularly in the domains of listening and speaking.

Functional syllabuses have also been criticised for the following reasons: There are no clear criteria for selecting or grading functions. They represent a simplistic view of communicative competence and fail to address the processes of communication. They represent an atomistic approach to language, that is, one that assumes that language ability can be broken down into discrete components that can be taught separately. They often lead to a phase-book approach to teaching that concentrates on teaching expressions and idioms used for different functions. Students learning from a functional course may have considerable gaps in their grammatical competence because some important grammatical structures may not be elicited by the functions that are taught in the syllabus.

These objections can be regarded as issues that need to be resolved in implementing a functional syllabus. Functional syllabuses are now generally

regarded as only a partial component of a communicative syllabus. Functions may be described as the communicative purposes for which we use language, while notions are the conceptual meanings expressed through language. According to Finocchiaro and Brumfit (1983;cited in Nunan 1988), functional notionalism has the tremendous merit of placing the learners and their communicative purposes at the centre of the curriculum. Functional notional syllabus provides realistic learning tasks for the teaching of everyday, real world language and leads teachers to emphasize on receptive activities before rushing learners into premature performance. This syllabus focuses on that learners should have real purpose for speaking, and expresses basic communicative functions. Nunan (1988) criticized that when turning from structurally based syllabus design to the design of syllabuses based on functional notional criteria, the selection and grading of items become much more complex. Decisions about which items to include in the syllabus can no longer be made on linguistic grounds alone, and designers need to include items which they imagine will help learners to carry out communicative purposes for which they need the language. In order to determine these purposes, it is necessary to carry out some form of needs analysis. In developing functional notional syllabuses; designers need to look beyond linguistic notions of simplicity and difficulty to grade items. According to Widdowson (cited in Nunan,1998), dividing language into discrete units of whatever type misrepresents the nature of language as communication. Brumfit &Finocchiaro (1983) stated that, in terms of psycholinguistic components, a F-N curriculum takes the basic needs of all human beings into consideration. The curriculum is self-motivating that is designed to serve the actual social, cultural needs of learners. By linguistics, the F N approach will help learners at each level acquire a reasonable, basic knowledge of the phonological, grammatical and lexical subsystems of the language. A variety of learning activities will enable learners to encode or decode a message. Student motivation is of primary importance in acquisition of knowledge and skills. Learning is enhanced when presentation and practice of language items are made meaningful through their

use in real life situations. The more associations made between communicative expressions and notions. A spiral or cyclical approach is highly recommended to recall, review the previously studied material, and integrate it with new learning.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A FN UNIT The title of the unit is often expressed in functional term. The same function may be presented in different situations in two or more successive units. Different functions may be presented in the same or in different situations. The notions depend on and stem from the function or situation. The grammar and vocabulary to be taught result from the integration of function and situation.


Since the goal of functional syllabus is to make learners use the language communicatively, the basic concepts of this teaching activity are learners needs, situation, language activities and functions that serve as the core of teaching a language. This idea has played an important role in the design of coursebook in the last ten years. Although the coursebook called Streamline was claimed to be the best one that was written according to the principles of functional syllabus; it can be seen that the book was purely a situational coursebook. After the layout of the units are examined, it is clear that the structures are presented in suitable situations illustrated with certain pictures that accompany the setting. Language items are made to be used in the situations accordingly (see appendix IV ). On the other hand, when the coursebook New Interchange is examined, it can be seen that the syllabus of the book has been written like a functional syllabus but the writer claims that it is a multi-syllabus coursebook. (see appendix VII ) As a result, based on the different coursebook designs and the presented list of functions by T-level studies (see appendix II), we can conclude that functions are one of the essential parts of language teaching in order to realize the target of being communicative. So, functions are the inevitable parts of syllabuses rather than being the core of a syllabus. According to the needs of todays language learners functions are needed to be used together with other parts of language such as setting, situation or notion in accordance with the characteristics of the culture in which the target language is being spoken.

REFERENCES Finocchiaro, M. and C. Brumfit (1983), The Functional-Notional Approach: From Theory to Practice Oxford: Oxford University Press Finocchiaro, M. (1979), The Functional Notional Syllabus: Promise, Problems, Practices, English Teaching Forum, April 1979. pp. 11 20 Freeman, D. L. (2000), Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford University Press: Oxford Nunan D. (1988), Syllabus Design, Oxford: Oxford University Press Richards J.,C. (2001), Curriculum Development in Language Teaching, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (pp.154 156). Stern, H. H. (1983), Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching, Oxford: Oxford University Press Van Ek, J.A. and L.G. Alexander (1975), Threshold Level English, Strasbourg: Council of Europe Oxford: Pergamon Press Widdowson, H. G. (1978), Teaching Language as Communication, Oxford: Oxford University Press Wilkins, D. A. (1976), Notional Syllabuses, Oxford: Oxford University Press