Type: Evaluation Essays
Sample donated: Shannon Moss
Last updated: September 20, 2019
A syllabus is an important document designedto communicate the content of the course.
A well-prepared and organized syllabuscan be a facilitator of students’ learning since it serves as a referencedocument which students will use throughout the course. It gives clearinformation about the deadlines, assignments, evaluation, and goals of thecourse. There are several different types of syllabi which usually appear as acombination of two or more types to design a language teaching syllabus for acourse. Fromthe syllabi available on Google classroom, two syllabi that were chosen to beevaluated, compared and contrasted in the following paragraphs are; thelanguage teaching syllabus from the course “Second language acquisition andlearning” and the syllabus from the course “Issues in English languageteaching”. The syllabi are very similar in the way they were structured butdiffer in terms of the content and the types of the syllabi that the authorshave combined to design them.
Languagecourses are usually organized around two or more syllabi types which may beimplemented in different teaching situations according to their appropriatenessregarding specific teaching settings. The content-based instruction dominatesin the “Second languageacquisition and learning” course syllabus. The main purpose of the course is toprovide students with knowledge about the subject of second languageacquisition, theories of SLA and SLA research methodology. Thenotional/functional instructional content is also related to this syllabus. Thecontent of language teaching giveslearners many opportunities to promote the communicative competence by asking themto communicate through the target language to express their thoughts and ideas,communicate effectively with their peers in English and discuss importantissues related to teaching English as a foreign language. The skill-basedsyllabus is also combined with the above-mentioned syllabi. The content oflanguage teaching is based on the development of language skills such asreading, speaking, writing and listening by using the target language. Thisincludes preparing oral presentations and writing essays.
Thecontent-based syllabus also dominates in “Issues in English language teaching”course. One of the main goals of this course is not only language learning butalso acquiring content knowledge and information by using the target language.This includes a detailed overview of current issues in teaching methodology aswell as the study of new trends in designing teaching materials. This syllabusconsists of activities which stimulate students to think and learn through thetarget language such as identifying and using authentic materials fromdifferent sources, as well as reading and discussing lecture materials. Nevertheless,unlike the above-mentioned syllabus, this course syllabus is also based on task-basedlearning, where the content of teaching involves tasks based on the languagethat the students are learning.
Thus, learning outcomes of the course include beingable to select and evaluate academic publications and discuss them critically aswell as communicate about language teaching in spoken and written forms for a range of audiences.A well-designed syllabus should provideimportant data to the students regarding the course, expectations and give aclear explanation of the course policies. The syllabi presented and exploredhere are very well organized and contain all the elements needed to communicateuseful information for the students of the course.
Both of the syllabi are similar in structureand the elements that they contain. These elements provide basic data about thecourse and the instructor, prerequisites, description of the course, courseobjectives and learning outcomes, assessment tools, grading scale table, coursematerials, and course policies. The syllabi also include a statement aboutplagiarism and its consequences. In this way, these syllabi possess theessential elements and convey the nature and the purposes of the courses in anunderstandable and clear way.The syllabus plays a very important role inlanguage teaching since it serves as a guide for the students regarding aparticular course. The syllabi presented in this paper are designed based onseveral types of syllabi. Theauthors of these syllabi have chosen the content-based instruction as adominant syllabus for their courses since the subject matter is the mainpurpose of the courses. Moreover, the syllabus from the course “Secondlanguage acquisition and learning” focuses on the communicative competence ofthe students, as well as on the development of specific language skills.
Whereasthe syllabus from the course “Issues in English language teaching” focuses onthe tasks which help students to develop second language proficiency. Teachers should be very careful inpreparing and organizing a syllabus in order to communicate to the students aclear idea of the value of the course and its content, what are studentsexpected to do in completing the course requirements and what are theirresponsibilities. The syllabi presented in this paper are well-structured andcontain all the components that a successful syllabus should have.