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Chapter 5 Goals, Content and Sequencing

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1 Chapter 5 Goals, Content and Sequencing
By Saad ALHejaili

2 Goals, Content and Sequencing
The aim of this part of the curriculum design process is to make a list of the items to teach in the order in which they will be taught. Content and sequencing must take account of the environment in which the course will be used, the needs of the learners, and principles of teaching and learning.

3 ENVIRONMENT Learners The ideas in the course should help learning in the classroom and suit the age of the learners. The content should take account of what learners expect to see in an English course. The sequencing of the content should allow for some learners being absent for some classes.

4 ENVIRONMENT Teachers The language in the course should be able to be modeled and comprehended by the teacher Situation The number of lessons in the course should suit the school term or year. The ideas in the course should increase the acceptability and usefulness of the course outside the classroom.

5 NEEDS Wants The content should take account of what learners want.
Lacks The content should suit the proficiency level of the learners Wants The content should take account of what learners want. Necessities The content should be what learners need

6 Goals and Content The goals of a language lesson can focus on one or more of the following: Language, Ideas, Skills or Text (Discourse). It is possible to plan or evaluate the content of courses by looking at each of these four areas. For example, in the area of language, the units may be based on vocabulary (as in Advanced English Vocabulary by Helen Barnard), verb forms and verb patterns (as in 101 Substitution Tables by H.V. George), sentence patterns, or language functions . Some courses cover language items through organizing lessons around topics.

7 The Units of Progression in the Course
They are the items that are used to grade the progress of the course If the starting point of a course was language items, and, in particular, vocabulary, the units of progression would be words If it was topics, then the units of progression would also be topics with progress through the course being marked by an increasing number of topics covered

8 The units of progression can be classified into two types – those that progress in a definite series, such as vocabulary levels, and those that represent a field of knowledge that could be covered in any order, such as topics

9 Units of progression Determinants of progression Units of progression
Type Starting point Frequency levels Occurrence in tasks Words Series Vocabulary Frequency Acquisition stages Complexity Grammatical constructions Grammar Functions Field Language use Topics Themes Ideas Topic types Genre Discourse Situations Roles Situations and roles Order of complexity Subskills Component skills Strategies Real life outcomes Task outcomes Outcomes

10 What Will the Progression be Used For?
Units of progression can be used to : set targets and paths to those targets. check the adequacy of selection and ordering in a course. monitor and report on learners' progress and achievement in the course.

11 Vocabulary There is considerable frequency-based research that provides clear indications of what vocabulary learners would gain most benefit from knowing. the first 1,000 words account for 75 per cent of the successive words in a text the second 1,000 words account for 5 per cent of the successive words in a text 570 academic words account for 10 per cent of the successive words in an academic text.

12 The sequencing of vocabulary in a course can be loosely based on frequency levels as it is in series of graded readers such as the Longman Structural Readers or the Oxford Bookworms Library The sequencing of vocabulary should not be based on lexical sets or the grouping together of opposites or near synonyms

13 Grammar George (1963b) suggests that a reasonable basis for Stage 1 of a course (1,500 to 2,000 words over roughly two years of five periods of English per week) would consist of the following verbs. • Imperative • Don’t + stem (Imperative) • Simple Present Actual and Neutral • Verb + to + stem • Simple Past Narrative and Actual • Past Participle

14 Stage 2 of a course could add the following items
• Simple Past Neutral and Habitual • Past Perfect from Simple Past Narrative • Stem + ing in Free Adjuncts • Noun + to + Stem • Simple Present Iterative and Future • Verb + to + Stem (Stem dominant) • Verb + Noun + to + Stem • Noun + Preposition + Stem + ing • Stem + ed = Adjective in a Noun Group • Stem + ing = Adjective in a Noun Group • Stem + ing = Noun • Can + Stem (immediately and characteristically able) • May + Stem (possibility and uncertainty • ’ll + Stem • Must + Stem (necessity from circumstances)

15 Functions The most widely available list of functions can be found in Van Ek and Alexander (1980) and is organized under the six headings of: Imparting and seeking factual information Expressing and finding out intellectual attitudes Expressing and finding out emotional attitudes Expressing and finding out moral attitudes Getting things done (suasion) Socializing. Some courses use functions as their unit of progression with each lesson focusing on a different function or set of functions

16 Discourse Discourse is more likely to be used in pre university courses where learners systematically cover a range of relevant genres such as recounts, information reports and arguments. Biber’s (1990) work on the co-occurrence of language features in different types of texts indicates that curriculum designers should check the genres that are covered in their courses to make sure that learners are not getting a distorted view of language features

17 Text types and texts from Biber
Telephone with friends Intimate interpersonal Face-to-face conversation interaction Telephone about business / Face-to-face conversation Informational interaction Telephone with less close friends Interviews Personal letters Academic prose / Official documents Scientific exposition

18 Text types and texts from Biber
Official documents / Press reviews / Popular magazines Academic prose Learned exposition Fiction – romance, mystery, adventure, general prepared speeches Imaginative narrative Humor / Press editorials /Press reportage /Non-sports broadcasts /Religion / Biographies General narrative exposition Sports broadcasts Situated reportage Spontaneous speeches, interviews, professional letters Popular magazines Involved persuasion

19 Skills, Sub skills and Strategies
Reading courses for example may focus on skills such as finding the main idea, reading for detail, note taking, skimming, reading faster, and reading for inferences. One is to look at the range of activities covered by a skill such as speaking and to use these as a starting point for defining sub skills For example, speaking can be divided into interactional speaking and transactional speaking

20 Skills, Sub skills and Strategies
Another way is to look at the skill as a process and to divide it into the parts of the process. This is a typical way of approaching writing, dividing the writing process into parts. One possible division of the process is: (1) having a model of the reader, (2) having writing goals, (3) gathering ideas, (4) organizing ideas, (5) turning ideas into written text, (6) reviewing what has just been written, and (7) editing the written text. Process divisions can be applied in other skills.

21 Skills, Sub skills and Strategies
A third way of dividing up a skill is to use levels of cognitive activity. Bloom divides cognitive activity into six levels of increasing complexity: (1) knowledge, (2)comprehension, (3) application, (4) analysis, (5) synthesis, (6) evaluation. These levels have often been applied to the construction of reading

22 Ideas A good language course not only develops the learners’ control of the language but also puts the learners in contact with ideas that help the learning of language and are useful to the learners 1 imaginary happenings. The course could follow the typical activities or adventures of a group of learners or native speakers. 2 an academic subject. Examples would be linguistics or the special purpose of the learners such as agriculture, commerce or computing. 3 learner survival needs. These can arise from suggestions by the learners or investigation by the teacher. They may include topics like shopping, going to the doctor, and making friends. 4 interesting facts. These might include topics like the discovery of penicillin, whales and solar power. 5 culture..

23 Ideas A The ideas content of the course helps learning in the classroom because: makes the learners interested and motivated in their study of the language. encourages normal language use. That is, it involves ideas that can be talked about in a natural way in the classroom. makes learning easier because the ideas are already familiar to the learners and they can thus give full attention to language items. is familiar to the teacher and thus allows the teacher to work from a position of strength. For example, teachers of ESP courses in agriculture who are not trained in agriculture work from a position of weakness

24 Ideas The ideas content of the course increases the acceptability and usefulness of the course outside the classroom because: 1 helps in the learner’s job, study or living. ESP, study skills and language survival courses aim to do this. 2 develops awareness of another culture or cultures. It may encourage learners to accept the norms and values of other cultures. 3 maintains and supports the learners’ own culture. 4 helps learners develop intellectually by making them aware of important and challenging ideas. 5 helps learners develop emotionally and socially. Courses which use a humanistic approach or make use of values clarification activities have this goal. 6 meets the expectations of the learners and their parents

25 Task-based Syllabuses
Long and Crookes (1992) suggest that the most appropriate tasks are those that a needs analysis determines are most useful for the learners. The order of tasks should be determined by the difficulty and complexity of the tasks. Ellis (2003b: 220–229) draws together earlier suggestions relating to task complexity and suggests criteria that could be used for determining the sequencing of tasks. These criteria relate to the nature of the input, the conditions under which the task is performed, the cognitive operations required, and the task outcomes.

26 Sequencing the Content in a Course
The lessons or units of a course can fit together in a variety of ways. The two major divisions are whether the material in one lesson depends on the learning that has occurred in previous lessons (a linear development) or whether each lesson is separate from the others so that the lessons can be done in any order and need not all be done (a modular arrangement).

27 Linear Approaches to Sequencing
There are variations of linear progressions which try to take account of the need for repetition. These include a spiral curriculum, matrix models, revision units and field approaches to sequencing.

28 spiral curriculum The spiral line represents the progression of the curriculum and the radial blocks represent the material to be learned, with the starting point at the centre of the spiral

29 The blocks of material could be:
(a) lexical sets or areas of vocabulary with less frequent members occurring later in the spiral (b) high-frequency grammatical patterns and their elaborations with the elaborations occurring later in the spiral (c) groups of language functions with less useful alternative ways of expressing the function occurring later in the spiral (d) genres with longer and more complex examples of the genre occurring later in the spiral.

30 A Modular Approach to Sequencing
In language courses the language could be divided into modules in several ways. The modules could be skill-based with different modules for listening, speaking, reading and writing, and sub-skills of these larger skills. The modules could be based on language functions, or more broadly situations, dealing with the language needed for shopping, emergency services, travel, the post office and the bank

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