Course Planning & Syllabus Design

Prof. Joanne M. Pyra

a course. or a set of instructional materials. ‡ Different levels of planning and development are involved in developing a curriculum.‡ Designing a language course is a work in progress. .

‡ The course rationale is a brief written description of the reasons for the course and the nature of it. .The Starting Point ‡ A starting point in course development is a description of the course rationale.

The Course Rationale Seeks to answer the following questions: ‡ Who is the course for? ‡ What is the course about? ‡ What kind of teaching and learning will take place? .

. it is necessary to know the level at which the program will start.Describing Entry and Exit Levels ‡ In order to plan a language course. and the level learners may be expected to reach at the end of the course.

. language use. what the most essential elements of language are.Choosing Course Content ‡ Decisions about course content reflect the planner·s assumptions about the nature of language. and how these can be organized efficiently for second language learning. language learning.

Determining the Scope & Sequence Scope = the breadth and depth of coverage of items in the course. Answer the following questions to determine the scope of a course: ‡ What range of content will be covered? ‡ To what extent should each topic be studied? .

.Sequencing of Content Sequencing involves deciding which content is needed early in the course and which provides a basis for things that will be learned later.

Sequencing may be based on the following criteria: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Simple to complex Chronology Need Prerequisite learning Whole to part Part to whole Spiral sequencing .

. Selecting a syllabus framework. 2. Developing instructional blocks.Planning the course structure More detailed planning is required for two aspects: 1.

Selecting a Syllabus Framework A syllabus describes the major elements that will be used in planning a language course and provides the basis for its instructional focus and content. .

The Syllabus could be: ‡ Situational (organized situations and the oral skills needed in different situations) ‡ Topical (organized around different topics and how to talk about them) ‡ Functional (organized around the functions most commonly needed in speaking) ‡ Task-based (organized around different tasks and activities) .

Developing Instructional Blocks An instructional block is a selfcontained learning sequence that has its own goals and objectives and also reflects the overall objectives for the course. .

a unit of work consisting of several lessons.‡ Instructional blocks represent the instructional focus of the course. a single lesson) or more general (i.e. ‡ They may be very specific (i.) .e.

‡ Planning the organizational structure in a course involves selecting appropriate blocks and deciding on the sequence in which these will appear. ‡ Two commonly used instructional blocks are planning by modules and by units. .

Module: a self-contained & independent learning sequence with its own objectives. The unit is the most common way of organizing courses & teaching materials. Unit: Longer than a single lesson but shorter than a module. .

To summarize« ‡ Course design is a matter of asking questions in order to provide a reasoned basis for the subsequent processes of syllabus design. materials writing/selection. and evaluation. . classroom techniques.

topic areas)? . proficiency.Basic Questions to Ask ‡ Why does the student need to learn? ‡ Who is going to be involved in the process? ‡ Where is the learning going to take place (potential limitations)? ‡ When is the learning to take place (time distribution)? ‡ What does the student need to learn (language aspects.

‡ It continues.Remember« ‡ The activity of designing a course is a work in progress. .

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