К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010
Автор: Богун Анастасия Юрьевна
Curriculum activities provide a framework
that helps teachers to accomplish whatever combination of teaching activities
is most suitable in their professional judgment for a given situation, that is,
a framework that helps the students to learn as efficiently and effectively as
possible in the given situation. In a sense, the curriculum design process
could be viewed as being made up of the people and the paper-moving operations
that make the doing of teaching and learning possible.
Historically, models of language curriculum
design have undergone considerable evolution reflected in the models and flow
charts proposed by various authors to represent different curriculum design processes
over the last 30 years.
Before describing the process of course
development we need to describe its stages. The first thing you do as a course
designer is you plan the course. This process is described further in this
work. The second stage is teaching the course. After you have taught the course
you will see strong and weak points of your course and you are able to make
correction for the future. So the next stage is modifying the course and then
reteaching the course. From here you get to modifying stage again and then
again to reteaching. Thus the process of course development is an ongoing
process that lasts as long as there is need for this course.
The following is a framework of planning
of a course based on Kathleen Graves’ work. Having such a framework helps to
see an organized way of mastering such a complex process. So the components of
this process are:
1) Needs assessment. This process helps
to find out what is needed to cover the gap between what the learners know and
can do and what they need to learn to do. Thus needs assessment involves
seeking and interpreting information about students’ needs so that the course
will address them effectively. However there is not a universal matrix for
defining these needs. The basic needs assessment cycle includes deciding what
information to gather and why, deciding when, from whom and how to gather it,
gathering the information, interpreting it, acting on it, evaluating the effect
of the action. The result information represents the students’ needs for the
course. Kathleen Graves suggests distinguishing between objective and
subjective needs. Objective needs are based on facts about who the learners
are, their language abilities, what they need the language for. Subjective
needs are based on attitudes, expectations students have with the respect to
what and how they will learn. As a result of this procedure you might want to
learn the following information about your prospective students that will be
helpful for you in designing the course and each class in particular: native
culture, education, family, profession, age, languages spoken, learning
preferences, goals and expectations of the course, which skills are needed, why
students undertake the course, etc. Needs assessment may be held before the course
begins, i.e. before the plan is developed, in the first class, and during the
course, that is this is an on-going process. This part of the course planning
may be held in the form of a questionnaire, interview, writing activities,
group discussions, etc.;
2) Goals and objectives. Goals are general
statements concerning attainable and desirable results based on perceived
needs. Goals can be broad (learning how to learn) and specific (to enable
learners to develop cognitive process and skills to understand and express
values, attitudes, and feelings; think and respond creatively); cognitive
(aimed at skills) and affective (aimed at up-brining).
Objectives are more specific statements
that describe particular knowledge, behavior, skills that the learners will be
able to demonstration at the end of the course. The formulation of objectives
provides the check as to whether the goals will be addressed. Objectives may
also be stated in terms of what students will do in the course;
3) Conceptualizing content. Basing on the
results of needs assessment and goals stated one now is to answer a short, but
not easy question: What will I include in my syllabus? Choices have to be made
since it is impossible (for some exceptions) to cover all the aspects and
issues of a subject, so the teacher must decide which categories make sense for
a given course;
4) Materials development. Material can be
pedagogically prepared, semi-authentic and authentic. Activities you plan to
use should be of various types and purposes, allow to discover, analyze and
solve problems, help students develop specific skills and strategies.
Developing material may mean creation of new material when teaching a course
for which there are no suitable materials, collecting variety of materials, or
adapting existing materials. The most important factors in developing, choosing
and adapting materials are their effectiveness in achieving the purposes of the
course and their appropriateness for the students. Feasibility and availability
are also important to consider. Some experienced teachers often develop a set
of core materials and activities that they adapt each time they teach a course;
5) Assessment. Learning occurs most
effectively when a student receives feedback, i.e. when they receive
information on what they have (and have not) already learned. The process by
which this information is generated is assessment, and it has three main forms:
a) Self assessment, through which a
student learns to monitor and evaluate their own learning. This should be a significant
element in the curriculum because we aim to produce graduates who are
appropriately reflective and self-critical;
b) Peer assessment, in which students
provide feedback on each other's learning. This can be viewed as an extension
of self assessment and presupposes trust and mutual respect. Research suggests
that students can learn to judge each other's work as reliably as staff;
c) Tutor assessment, in which a member of
staff or teaching assistant provides commentary and feedback on the student's work.
Assessment may be formative (providing
feedback to help the student learn more) or summative (expressing a judgment on
the student's achievement by reference to stated criteria). Many assessment
tasks involve an element of both, e.g. assignment that is marked and returned
to the student with detailed comments. Summative assessment usually involves
the allocation of marks or grades. These help staff to make decisions about the
progression of students through a programme and the award of degrees but they
have limited educational value. Students usually learn more by understanding
the strengths and weaknesses of their work than by knowing the mark or grade
given to it. For this reason summative assessment tasks (including unseen
examinations) should include an element of formative feedback if at all
1. Teaching. It is important to decide
who will teach the course and how. Teachers need support and also need to be
intimately involved in the process of curriculum development and revision. If
the teacher is given a high level of support, s/he can be left alone to
teaching itself. To do their best at teaching teachers need some information.
Here are some questions the answers to which teachers will find helpful. To
what extent is the program consistent with government policies? Is there a
generally felt need for this kind of program, or is it imposed from above? What
kinds of external tests and examinations are teachers required to administer or
learners required to take and how do these tests affect the curriculum? What
kind of curriculum support is possible for the program? What are the results of
the needs analysis? What are the learners’ responsibilities within the program?
What is the place of the teacher in the classroom – as counselors, facilitators,
directors, or all three? Where do teachers fit into the program as a whole –
are they needs analysts, objective setters, test developers, material creators,
program evaluators as well as classroom teachers? How are they expected to
teach in the program? What would be regarded as good teaching? What provisions
are made for teachers training or retraining? How are teachers monitored and
evaluated? How are teachers assigned duties and responsibilities? Does the
program have a particular emphasis? What kinds of learning outcomes are expected?
Under what circumstances is the program being taught? What kinds of classroom
equipment are necessary? Of course things will be different if we talk about
tertiary education system in Kazakhstan. Very often teachers are the course
developers themselves. They have to determine the exact content of the course,
to find or develop materials, adapt/adopt/develop testing materials, etc. Not
surprisingly, some components are missed out.
2. Program evaluation is the on-going process
of information gathering, analysis, and synthesis, the entire purpose of which
is to constantly improve each element of the curriculum on the basis of what is
known about all of the other elements. Such continuing process of evaluation
makes possible the assessment of the quality of the curriculum once it is out
in place as well as its maintenance on an on-going basis. This part of
curriculum design is meant to answer two main questions: How will I assess what
students have learned? How will I assess the effectiveness of the course? The
first one may be answered with the help of assessment tools throughout the
course, self student evaluation and test results. Evaluation can be formative
(takes place during the development and implementation of the curriculum for
purposes of modifying it as it is being developed) and summative (takes place
after the curriculum has been implemented for the sake of evaluating its
success and improving it for future implementation). Since evaluation is an
on-going part of the entire process, it can occur in the planning and teaching
stages of the course, after it is over, and when it is replanned or retaught.
How does one evaluate? A variety if ways are available. A teacher’s most
important means is close observation of what students do in class and how they
do. Informal conversations with students can often provide as much information
as responses to formal questionnaire. The results of the evaluation can be
represented in the form of quantitative (those bits of information that are
countable and are gathered using measures that produce results in the form of
numbers) or qualitative (information that is more holistic than quantitative
data, they are often based on observation and do not readily lend themselves to
conversion into quantities or numbers) data.
Curriculum that is viewed as a product is
inflexible once finished. Curriculum that is viewed as a process can change and
adapt to new conditions, whether those conditions be new types of students,
changes in language theory, new political exigencies within the institution, or
something else. This process is known as systematic curriculum development.
The Process of Writing a Syllabus
Etymologically syllabus means a
"label" or "table of contents." The American Heritage Dictionary
defines syllabus as outline of a course of study. We agree that a syllabus
should contain an outline, and a schedule of topics, and many more items of
information. However, we suggest that the primary purpose of a syllabus is to
communicate to one's students what the course is about, why the course is
taught, where it is going, and what will be required of the students for them
to complete the course with a passing grade.
Here is a list of suggestions from the
literature about what information might be included in the course syllabus. It
is extremely unlikely that you will include every listed. We suggest two
criteria in deciding what information to include. First, include all
information that students need to have at the beginning of the course; second,
include all information that students need to have in writing. We believe that
any really important information about the course should be in writing.
However, it may be better to introduce some information later in the term,
e.g., the details of a required project. To attempt to include every single
item of importance in your syllabus is to insure that the student will not read
much of it.
To the experienced teacher, probably few
of the items listed here are likely to come as a surprise. However, Brown, J
found in their interviews with faculty and in their examinations of syllabi
that "obvious" items were often omitted. There was surprising
agreement about the major areas of information to be included in a syllabus.
Major Content Areas of a Syllabus:
Course Information. The first items of
information in a syllabus should give course information: course title, course
number, and credit hours. Also, are there any prerequisites? Is the permission
of the instructor required? Include the location of classroom, and the days and
hours class/lab/studio/etc. meets.
Instructor Information. Second, the
students need information about the instructor: full name, title; office
location (and where to leave assignments), office phone number; office hours.
Depending on the size of the class (and other factors), it may be desirable to
include an emergency phone number; quite often this can be the number of the
department office. Many instructors give the students their home telephone
number. If you do, it is well to also list restrictions, e.g., "No calls
between 10:30 pm and 8:30 am please." If you are helped by teaching
assistants or other instructors, their names, locations, and phone numbers
should also be listed.
Text, Readings, Materials. College-level
instruction - at least in the United States - is heavily dependent upon the use
of print material, if not a required textbook, then a variety of readings.
These are becoming increasingly costly. The syllabus should provide the
students with detailed information about the following:
Textbook(s) - include the title, author,
date (and edition), publisher, cost, where available, (often it is appropriate
to indicate why the particular text was chosen and/or how extensively it will
Supplementary reading(s) - in addition to
the detailed bibliographic information about the readings, the syllabus should
indicate whether the readings are required or only recommended, and whether the
readings are on reserve in the library or available for purchase in the
bookstore. Sometimes instructors make their own books available to students. If
this is the case for the given course, that information might be included in
the syllabus along with whatever conditions apply to their use.
Materials - although many courses use
only print material, there are a myriad of courses that require additional -
something expensive - materials, e.g., lab or safety equipment, art supplies,
special calculators or even computers, etc.
Course Descriptions/ Objectives. The
treatment of this area variously called course description, content, goals,
objectives differ more than any other in the publications we reviewed.
The bare minimum would be to repeat the
description in the college catalog - assuming that it describes the course with
some accuracy. Certainly a paragraph describing the general content of the
course - would not be excessive. Information about instructional methods, e.g.,
large lecture with small discussion sections, may also be included here.
Some instructors, who have developed
detailed instructional objectives, include them in their syllabi. Such
inclusion may result in information of general course goals (e.g., the learning
and application of the general principles of..., or the development of the
skill..., or the development of a more positive attitude toward...) can help
orient the student to the purpose of the course, the instructor's expectations,
Course Calendar/Schedule. Some
instructors are concerned that, if they include a daily - or weekly - schedule
of topics to be covered, they can be held legally liable if they depart from
it. One remedy for this is to state that the schedule is tentative and subject
to change depending upon the progress of the class. In many cases the
instructor has only limited flexibility about scheduling anyway, e.g., in a
multi-section course where departmental exams are administered on specific
dates, or in a course which is a prerequisite for another course (the material
has to be covered by the end of the course). If we expect students to meet our
deadlines, to plan their work, we must give them the information needed for
The calendar or schedule should also
include the dates for exams, quizzes, or other means of assessment. We are not
implying that all evaluation of students must be in groups and at the same
time. The calendar should also include due dates for major assignments. For
example, when is a paper due; if the topic has to be approved, when; if an
outline or draft is an interim step, when it is due.
Finally, any required special events need
to be included in the calendar, e.g., a lecture by a visiting speaker, a
dramatic or musical performance, a field trip.
Course Policies. We suggest the following
Attendance, lateness - at least for
freshman and sophomore classes, and perhaps for all undergraduate classes, the
syllabus should include some statement about attendance (is it required, will
students who attend regularly be given a break if the grade is borderline?) and
about lateness, at least if it is penalized. (Students who arrive late disturb
the class, but on some campuses it is not possible for a student to get from
one part of the campus to another within the allotted time; sometimes our
colleagues do not let students leave promptly).
Class participation - in the medieval
lecture hall, class participation was not an issue, but if students are to
learn to apply, analyze, synthesize, etc, they need to be active. Such
approaches are contrary to the experiences - and preferences - of many
students. If active participation is expected, the syllabus needs to say so. It
also needs to to explain if/ how participation will be graded.
Missed exams or assignments - since these
affect grades, they are of interest to students. Syllabuses should inform the
students whether exams and assignments can be made up; statements regarding
earning extra credit should also be included if that is an option.
Lab safety/health - in some courses these
issues can literally be a matter of life or death. Even is detailed materials
are handed out early in the course, the syllabus should include a short
statement about the importance of these issues and indicate that more detailed
information will follow.
Academic dishonesty - in some syllabi
this is treated as a separate area. The syllabus should address questions
related to cheating and plagiarism. On campuses where these topics are treated
in detail in a student handbook, it is sufficient for the syllabus to simply
refer the students to that handbook. In the absence of such a resource, details
in the syllabus are necessary. Many students actually do not know what
constitutes plagiarism. We owe it to the students to explain what is considered
to be plagiarism or cheating.
Grading - this topic, even more that
academic dishonesty, is often treated as a separate area. Given the students'
interest in graded, such treatment is certainly defensible. Each syllabus
should include details about how the students will be evaluated - what factors
will be included, how they will be weighted, and how they will be translated
into grades. Information about the appeals procedures, often included in a
student handbook, is also appropriate at least for freshman and sophomore
Available Support Services. Most college
courses have available to the students a considerable variety of instructional
support services. We often bemoan the fact that the students do not avail
themselves of these services. Perhaps this is because we do not draw their
attention to the possibilities. The library is probably the oldest resource,
and perhaps still the richest. Include a brief statement in the syllabus
identifying collections, journals, abstracts, audio or video tapes, etc. which
the library has which are relevant to the course would be appropriate. If the
institution has a learning center, making the students aware of its services
can be of real benefit to students. In today's world computers are becoming
almost a necessity. Most campuses have some terminals, if not personal
computers, available for student use. Many courses have other support services
unique to them. Briefly describe what is available in the syllabus, or tell the
students where they can get detailed information.
important to have the syllabus typed and ready to hand out on the first day of
class and to have extras for the students who will join your class in the first
few weeks of the term. It's helpful to have the syllabus duplicated on colored
paper; students are less likely to lose pink or green sheets in the welter of
paper they accumulate at the beginning of the semester. A few students may be
intimidated by all this information, but most are grateful to know what to
expect; to them it is evidence of your professionalism. Your department, too,
will appreciate having your policies laid out in case of a later grade appeal
or problem. Now, with syllabus in hand, we can consider how to teach the
Colin, P.H. (1996). American Business Dictionary. Middlesex: Peter Collin
Chamot, W., Malley, O. (2002). Learning strategies in second language
3. Emig, J.
(1971). The composing processes of twelfth graders. Research Report No.13. Urbana, III: National Council of Teachers of English. p. 48
4. Ferris, D.
(1995). Teaching ESL. Composition. Purpose, Process and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Hollet, V. (1991). Business objectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
K. (1981). Communicate in writing. London: Longman.
Nunan, D. (2001). The learner-centered curriculum. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. C. (2002). Methods and research in teaching writing. Boston, Mass achusetts: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010