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A Framework of Course Development Processes

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1 A Framework of Course Development Processes
English 6010 Week 4

2 Framework Components Needs Assessment Determining Goals and Objectives
Conceptualizing Context Selecting and Developing Materials and Activities Evaluation Consideration of Resources and Constraints

3 Needs Assessment Objective needs Subjective needs
use of language in real-life communication current proficiency level Subjective needs cognitive and affective needs of the learner in the learning situation (personality, confidence, attitudes, expectations with regard to the learning of English) individual cognitive style and learning strategies

4 Assessing subjective needs
Student’s attitudes toward the target language and culture Learning themselves as learners purposes for studying the language preferences with respect to how they will learn If subjective needs are not taken into account, then objective needs may not be met

5 When does one conduct a needs assessment?
Depending on the context, needs assessment can be conducted in: Stage 1- the planning stage Stage 2- the teaching stage Stage 3- the replanning stage

6 How does one conduct a needs assessment?
Questionnaires (common) Interviews with students and others (I.e., professors, administrators) Observation and participation in situations in which the students will use English Tests and interviews that measure proficiency to determine what students already know (diagnostic exam, Michigan Test for example or your own diagnostic exam or pre-assessment technique)

7 Target and learning needs
Target need what the learner needs to do in the target situation (participate in job interview) Learning need what the learner needs in order to learn (specific vocabulary, structure, knowledge of register)

8 Issues Needs assessment is not a value-free process
It is influenced by the teacher’s view of what the course is about the institutional constraints the students’ perception of what is being asked of them Needs assessment should be evaluated and it should be viewed as an ongoing process, both in its development and in its use

9 Determining Goals and Objectives
Goals: overall, long-term purposes of the course. destination of the course purposes and intended outcomes of the course (backward design, thinking about outcome first) Objectives: express the specific ways in which goals will be achieved. represent the various points that chart the course toward the destination (What will my students need to do in order to achieve these goals? For instance, “Students will be able to identify the main idea”, “students will be able to write a thesis statement”)

10 How do we determine goals?
Students’ needs assessment The policies of the institution The way the teacher conceptualizes the context Proficiency levels Goals-cognitive (master of linguistic and cultural knowledge) affective (motivation, positive attitude) transfer (learning how to learn and transfer to another context)

11 Bloom’s Taxonomy for Developing Clear Objectives

12 Types of Objectives according to Graves
Coverage objectives Activity objectives Involvement objectives Mastery objectives Critical thinking objectives

13 Issues Many teachers do not formulate goals and objectives at all or do so only after having thought about what they will teach and how. Although one may establish very clear goals and objectives, once we teach a course we revisit those goals and objectives and then they may become clear to us. (re-planning stage) Goals and objectives are a statement of intent, subject to reexamination and change once the course is under way. (maybe the strategies you plan to use are not working for your students and you may need to reconsider half way through the course, this is part of the ongoing reflection process )

14 Types of Syllabus and Approaches to Syllabus design in ESL

15 Structural syllabus Top down approach to develop a syllabus
the institution or you as a teacher has already determined what the learning outcomes will be and the specific skills (writing, reading, speaking, listening) that students are expected to master at the end of the course usually involves grammatical rules of the language being taught, for example nouns, verbs, adjectives, statements, questions, subordinate clauses (English 3101/3102)

16 Notional-functional syllabus
content of the language teaching is a collection of the function being performed when the language is used, or of the notions the language is used to express. Examples of functions include: informing, agreeing, apologizing, requesting. Examples of notion include: size, age, color, comparison, time, and so on.

17 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 in a situation involves a number of functions, combined into a plausible segment of discourse. The purpose is to use the language that is used in a specific situation. For instance, seeing the dentist, going to a restaurant, complaining to the landlord, and so on.

18 A skill-based syllabus
content of the language teaching is a collection of specific abilities that may play a part in using language. This type of syllabus group linguistic competences (pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and discourse) together into generalized types of behavior, such as listening, to spoken language for main idea, giving effective oral presentations, and so on.

19 A task-based syllabus The content of the teaching is a series of complex purposeful tasks that the students want or need to perform with the language they are learning. Task based differs from situation-based teaching in that while situational teaching has the goal of teaching the specific language content that occurs in the situation, task-based has the goal of teaching students to draw on resources to complete some piece of work (applying for a job, getting housing information over the phone)

20 A content-based syllabus
The subject matter is primary, and language learning occurs incidentally to the content learning. The content teaching is not organized around language learning, but vice-versa. An example is a science class taught in English in a Spanish speaking context (an immersion or bilingual curriculum may use such syllabus)

21 Negotiated Syllabus You may have ask your students to evaluate the syllabus and then ask them if there is anything else that should be included based on their expectations of the course You could also negotiate the readings depending on your constraints You could have students help design the syllabus or design it after the initial needs analysis

22 Syllabus cont’d Remember you need to provide also for students with disabilities and very specific guidelines and policies about homework, grading policy, attendance policy, quizzes, and behavior policies as well Provide a tentative schedule with readings and dates. This may vary, but it will give the students a clear idea of what to expect.

23 Selecting and developing materials and activities
Organization of content and activities- two principles are “building and recycling.” Building from the simple to the complex, for instance to learn how to write a narrative before writing an argumentative essay. In a basic course, learning main idea before providing an opinion or critique of a reading.

24 Recycling- students encounter previous materials in new ways
Recycling- students encounter previous materials in new ways. For instance, an individual reading activity maybe recycled in a role play activity with other students.

25 Organization of Content and Activities
Two approaches to organize a course: Cycle- for instance, you organize it by dividing the class into sections-discussion, group work, writing (all thee activities may deal with reading comprehension) Matrix- compiling a list of possible activities and then decide what to do depending on the students needs and availability of materials Both approaches suggest a collection of core material to be learned and activities to be conducted within a specific time-frame.

26 Evaluation How will you assess what students have learned?
Have they learned what you taught? Have they incidentally learned something else? (tests, self-reflections, student-teacher conference) How will you assess the effectiveness of the course? Was the course effective? Where did it fall short? (students’ evaluation of the course, teachers’ self-evaluation, peer-observation)

27 Consideration of Resources and Constraints
Class-size Technology Classrooms Materials Time Institutional philosophy Language policies curriculum

28 A Cautionary Word on Course Development
The components discussed by Graves (1996) should not serve as a checklist for the teacher but rather as a set of tools for understanding and directing the process of course development. Each component is one way of working with the whole.

29 Categorizing techniques
From manipulation to communication Mechanical, meaningful, and communicative drills Controlled to free techniques For the difference between manipulative (controlled) and communicative (free) techniques see Brown (2001) page 133 For a complete taxonomy of language techniques see Brown (2001) pages

30 Textbooks Deciding to prepare your own materials as opposed to using a textbook Teachers’ guide are a good resource Literacy and alternative contexts Posters, charts, magazines Comic books and comic strips, graphic novels Movies, documentaries, videogames

31 Technology The use of language labs Audio-books Personal computers
Grammar exercises online Audiotapes (recording journal entries, listening activities) Overhead projection Videogames (yes, we can learn from them as well)

32 CALL Collaborative projects- data analysis, webpage design
Peer editing of compositions- online (webCT) Class forum s Blogs Online portfolios

33 Critically examine a syllabus
Does it have clear goals appropriate for the course level? Are the objectives clear? Can you point at specific assessment measures for each objective? What kind of syllabus is this? Is it structural, functional? Do you see a particular theoretical framework in the design of this syllabus (behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist) or is it a combination of more than one? Exchange your ideas/comments/analysis in small groups.

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