SYLLABUS DESIGN for TEACHING ENGLISH

SYLLABUS DESIGN for TEACHING ENGLISH
IN THE CONTEXT OF SCHOOL-LEVEL CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT (SLCD)
(competence-based syllabus design)

( By: Wachyu Sundayana Jurusan Pend.Bhs. Inggris, FPBS UPI )

Part I: Foundation of Syllabus Design

1. WHAT IS SYLLABUS DESIGN?

  • Syllabus design can be defined as selection and organization of instructional content including suggested strategy for presenting content and evaluation ( Brown, 1995)
  • Whereas, Curriculum is a broad description of general goals by indicating an overall educational-cultural philosophy which applies across subjects together with a theoretical orientation to language and language learning.
  • Syllabus is a detailed and operational statement of teaching and learning elements which translates the philosophy of the curriculum into a series of planned steps leading towards more narrowly defined objectives at each level. The relationship between language curriculum and syllabus can be shown in the following figure:

 

image

2. WHAT IS COMPETENCE-BASED SYLLABUS?

  • Competency (or competence) is synonymous with ability or proficiency (or skill), implying a high level skill, well-developed knowledge, or a polished performance (Hadley, 2001)
  • Competence-based syllabus is similar to skill-based syllabus (in language teaching) which defines what a learner is able to do (in terms of specific skills) as result of instruction. Competencies (or skills) here refers to observable behaviors that are necessary for the successful completion of real-world activities (Richards, 2001).
  • A unit of competence (e.g. covered in the textbook) might be a task, a role, a function, or a learning module. And an element of competency can be defined as any attribute of an individual that contributes to the successful performance of a task, job, function, or activity in an academic setting and/or a work setting or others (Richards & Rogers, 2001)

3. SYLLABUS COMPONENTS

In general, the components of syllabus consist of :

  • Objectives (or competencies in competency-based syllabus)
  • Instructional contents
  • Learning experiences
  • Evaluation

4. WHY SYLLABUS MUST BE DEVELOPED?

  • To address students’ needs
  • To actualize the institutional goals and objectives
  • To develop content standard (standard competencies and basic competencies into teachable materials used in teaching and learning process in related schools

5. WHO DEVELOP SYLLABUS?

  • A group of teachers in one school
  • National Council of Teachers of English (MGMP)
  • Curriculum developer and other related resource persons
  • Supervisor

6. HOW TO DEVELOP SYLLABUS?

  • Ideally, syllabus is developed based on needs analysis conducted by a group of teachers in collaboration with needs analysts/experts and a team of curriculum development
  • Approaches used in developing syllabus can be analytic or synthetic approach

Technically, the steps of syllabus design cover the following:

  • Planning
  • Dissemination
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
  • Revision

The steps can be reflected in the following figure:

Systematic Model for Syllabus Design
(adapted from Brown,1996)

image

The steps in developing syllabus:

A. Planning and Specification stage:

  1. Identify existing content standard, resourceful materials, and textbooks
  2. Use the information collected through needs analysis related to students’ background knowledge and expectation
  3. Identify competencies given in the content standard (competence standard and basic competencies/SK KD)
  4. Identify contents in basic competencies (instructional contents and competencies)
  5. Analyze core contents, using ‘learning task analysis’, to identify both grammatical elements/textual meanings and Ideational meanings (main ideas, supporting ideas etc.) by considering: three learning domains as suggested in the goals of teaching English (cognitive/intellectual skills, psycho-motor, and affective domains); supporting competencies, e.g. linguistic, socio-cultural, and discourse competencies explicitly or implicitly covered in instructional content mandated in KD/basic competencies students’ prior knowledge and skills ( use information collected through need analysis) the existing learning resources including teacher’s competencies
  6. Decide evaluation tools by considering the formulated indicators
  7. Determine time allocation by considering, indicators, material coverage, students’prior knowledge/level, etc.
  8. Determine learning resources used

B. Dissemination and Implementation stage:

  1. Develop testing (eg. Pre-test, Formative test, and Achievement test)
  2. Develop teaching materials
  3. Train teachers or socialize the syllabus and its components
  4. Conduct on-going evaluation of the program implementation

C. Evaluation and Revision Stage

Evaluation is conducted by a team of curriculum development or related experts The result of evaluation is used to reconstruct the syllabus

7. FACTORS AFFECTING SYLLABUS DESIGN AND CHOICE?

  • Goals and objectives of the overall instructional program as stated in the school level curriculum, for example, in the content standard, the goal of teaching English is the ability to develop communicative competence in both spoken and written medium at functional levels (for SMP/ MTs) and informational levels ( for SMA/MA)
  • Functional level: the ability to use language to fulfill daily needs, such as reading news paper, manuals, or direction
  • Whereas, informational level is the ability to use language to access/to get information
  • Broadly defined settings and structural knowledge (except for young learners) and communicative ability in specific situations as a result of need analysis. This can lead to the practice of selecting combination of topical, functional, structural, situational, and skill (or competence) in syllabus design ( Krahnke, 1987)
  • Teacher factors (teacher’s competencies in teaching English)
  • Student factors (student’s prior knowledge, skills, level, and motivation)

8. TYPES OF SYLLABI

  • Syllabuses: Ways of Organizing Courses and Materials
  • Structural syllabus: Grammatical and phonological structures are the organizing principles – sequenced from easy to difficult or frequent to less frequent
  • Situational syllabus: Situations (such as at the school, at a restaurant, at the supermarket etc.) form the organizing principle – sequenced by the likelihood students will encounter them
  • Topical syllabus: Topics or themes (such as our body, our house, our family, etc.) form the organizing principle- sequenced by the likelihood that the students will encounter them
  • Functional syllabus: Functions (such as introduction, ask and give information, etc.) are the organizing principle – sequenced by some sense of chronology or usefulness of each function
  • Skills syllabus: Skills (such as listening for main ideas, scanning a reading passage for specific information, etc.) serve as the basis for organization sequenced by some sense of chronology or usefulness for each skill.
  • Task or activity based syllabus: Task or activity-based categories (such as drawing maps, following directions or instructions, etc.) serve as the basis for organization – sequenced by some sense of chronology or usefulness of notions
  • Notional syllabus: Conceptual categories called notions (such as quantity, duration, location, etc.) are the basis of organization – sequenced by some sense of chronology or usefulness of each notion
  • Competence-based syllabus: Description of essential skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors required for effective performance or real-world task or activity serve the basis for organization of instructional content (Richards& Rogers, 2001; 144).

References:

  1. Brown, JD.1996. The Elements of Language Curriculum; A Systematic Approach to Program Development. Boston, Mass.: Heinle&Heinle Publishers
  2. Krahnke, Karl.1987. Approaches to Syllabus Design for Foreign Language Teaching. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice Hall Regents
  3. Hadley, Alice Omaggio.2001. Teaching Language in Context. Boston: Heinle&Heinle Publishers.
  4. Richards&Rogers. 2001. Approaches and methods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  5. Wachyu S, dkk. 2006. Competece-Based English; Developing Competencies in English for SMP and Mts. Bandung: Grafindo Media Pratama

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