К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010
Автор: Бухрякова М.В.
For the late years, in the world's educational
process new tendencies which indicate its development in the movement of
general and pedagogical culture have been outlined. New value system and
educational purposes have appeared and have been being discussed; the personality
concept based on the ideas of the nature conformity, culture conformity, and
individual-personality development has been revived. New educational paradigms
have appeared, pedagogical activity is reflected in them through the new
scientific language. These tendencies denote that the cultural approach is the
basic approach of educational planning and development. This approach orients
educational system to the intercommunication with the personal culture as its
creator with the subject capable of cultural self-development. Such educational
structure provides personality-sense development of a student, supports
individuality, uniqueness and originality of every person, his ability to
self-changing and to cultural self-development.
Relevance of the Learner-Oriented approach
in education is significant for the modern society and it is provided with
empirical and theoretical premises. The former is the experience gained by the
pioneering activity directed to the designing of alternative educational
systems. The latter is the basic research of personality function in society
and of his vital activity in a social stratum.
Learner-oriented education reflects essential
features of educational system: its purpose, the content of the experience
passed on, techniques. The purpose of it is to create favorable conditions for
formation of abilities and capacities of an individual. The content of the
learner-oriented education is provided by the synthesis of two types of
experience, they are: object and personal. The technology of the
learner-oriented is the technology of supportive pedagogy which purpose is
focusing on the personality. The development of the learner-oriented education
causes the set of methodological, psychological and pedagogical problems. A
number of scientists and teachers-practitioners create their works in order to
solve these problems, to help teachers in planning and making a
learner-oriented curricula and syllabi, they are for example D. Nunan, R.
White, J. Munby, J. Richards in the English-speaking countries, G. Rogova, I.
Yakimanskaya, I. Zimnyaya in Russia, O. Uruntaeva, A. Krasnoperov, etc. in
As the interest in the Learner-Oriented
Approach and its importance in making a curriculum are growing, there are a
number of discussions between methodologists on the question what should be
included in the curriculum.
As the teachers of the English language
we should know what "curriculum" means. But opinions differ and
methodologists can not work out a common notion of this term. Let us see some
According to Rogova [7, p. 96], "curriculum"
is the document which states the subjects to be studied, the number of hours
(periods) allotted to the study of each subject, the sequence in which the
subjects are introduced.
For Stenhouse [6, p. 245] a curriculum
should consist of three major parts relating to planning, empirical study and
Nunan [3, p. 131] suggests that the term
"curriculum" incorporates initial planning including needs analysis,
grouping learners, goal and objective setting, selection and grading of
content, methodology (which includes materials and learning activities),
learning arrangements (incorporating learning models and environments), and
finally assessment and evaluation.
We can not say that one of these definitions
is correct and others are incorrect. All of them are not unreasonable. And I
offer you to consider the different opinions about what the components of a
curriculum for the English language learning are.
So, what are the components of the learner-oriented
curriculum according to Jack C. Richards [4, p. 51]?
One of the basic assumptions of curriculum
development is that a sound educational program should be based on an analysis
of learners' needs.
The term needs is not as
straightforward as it might appear, and hence the term is sometimes used to
refer to wants, desires, demands, expectation, motivations, lacks, constraints,
and requirements. Needs are often described in terms of a linguistic
deficiency, that is, as describing the difference between what a learner can
presently do in a language and what he or she should be able to do.
How can the curriculum give learners the
linguistic and other resources they need to understand and access resources
they have the right to make use of in the community and to articulate and
defend their own rights and interests? Planning an ESL curriculum in this case
not only involves identifying students' language needs, but seeks "to
enable them to critically examine [the existing order] and become active in shaping
their own roles in it" [1, p. 36].
A variety of procedures can be used in
conducting needs analysis and the kind of information obtained is often
dependent on the type of procedure selected. Since any one source of
information is likely to be incomplete or partial, a triangular approach (i.e.,
collecting information from two or more sources) is advisable. Many different
sources of information should be sought. For example:
- samples of student writing;
- test data on student performance;
- reports by teachers on typical problems
- opinions of experts;
- information from students via interviews
- analysis of textbooks teaching academic
- survey or related literature;
- examples of writing programs from other
- examples of writing assignments given
to first-year university students
Procedures for collecting information
during a needs analysis can be selected from among the following:
Questionnaires are one of the most common
instruments used. They are relatively easy to prepare, they can be used with
large numbers of subjects, and they obtain information that is relatively easy
to tabulate and analyze. They can also be used to elicit information about many
different kinds of issues such as language use, communication difficulties,
preferred learning styles preferred classroom activities, and attitudes and
A disadvantage of questionnaires, however,
is that the information obtained may be fairly superficial or imprecise and will
often need follow-up to gain a fuller understanding of what respondents intend.
These consist of scales that students or
others use to rate their knowledge or abilities. (Self-ratings might also be
included as part of a questionnaire).
Interviews allow for a more in-depth
exploration of issues than is possible with a questionnaire, though they take
longer to administer and are only feasible for smaller groups.
A meeting allows a large amount of information
to be collected in a fairly short time. However, information obtained in this
way may be impressionistic and subjective and reflect the ideas of more
outspoken members of a group.
Observations of learners’ behavior in a
target situation are another way of assessing their needs. However, people
often do not perform well when they are being observed, so this has to be taken
into account. In addition, observation is a specialized skill. Knowing how to
observe, what to look for, and how to make use of the information obtained generally
requires specialized training.
Collecting learner language samples
Collecting data on how well learners
perform on different language tasks (e.g. business letters, interviews,
telephone calls) and documenting the typical problems they have is a useful and
direct source of information about learners' language needs.
After all the required information is obtained,
the essential is to make use of it and to make the curriculum considering the
- situations in which English is frequently
- situations in which difficulties are encountered;
- comments most often made by people on
- frequencies with which different
transactions are carried out;
- perceived difficulties with different
aspects of language use;
- preferences for different kinds of activities
- frequencies of errors made in different
types of situations or activities;
- common communication problems in
- suggestions and opinions about different
aspects of learners' problems;
- frequencies of linguistic items or
units in different texts or situations.
Jo McDonough and Christopher Shaw [2, p.
89] consider that any curriculum consists of a number of syllabuses that should
obligatory be included in the curriculum.
However, for David Nunan [3, p. 146], the
basis for making curriculum is materials. He claims that at the classroom level, materials often seem more prominent
than any other element in the curriculum. This no doubt is largely due to the
fact that materials are the tangible manifestation of the curriculum in action.
They are, in fact, omnipresent in the language classroom and it is difficult to
imagine a class without books, pictures, filmstrips, realia, games and so on.
Even the most austere classroom will have some sort of materials. Inexperienced
teachers very often look to materials first for assistance in planning their
courses and also for teaching ideas. There is evidence that experienced
teachers also look to materials when confronted with an unfamiliar class or learner
Materials are, in fact, an essential element within the
curriculum, and do more than simply lubricate the wheels of learning. At their
best, they provide concrete models of desirable classroom practice, they act as
curriculum models, and at their very best they fulfill a teacher development
role. Good materials also provide models for teachers to follow in developing
their own materials.
Materials come in many shapes and formats. The most obvious
distinction is between local materials produced by a teacher for her or his
class, and those which are commercially produced.
One of the problems with comprehensive,
structured course materials, particularly those with a strong methodological
bias, is that they can sometimes dictate what goes on in the classroom, leaving
teachers with little opportunity to exercise their own creativity (although
there is evidence that many teachers have an independent streak, and tend to modify
materials to suit themselves).
As the focus will be on assisting learners
to do in class what they will need to be able to do outside, the materials
should reflect the outside world. In other words, they should have a degree of
authenticity. This authenticity should relate to the text sources as well as to
student activities and tasks. The materials should also foster independent
learning by raising the consciousness of the learners and making them more
aware of the learning process.
All in all, whatever component might be
included in the curriculum (be it needs analysis, syllabuses or materials) it
is made with orientation on the learners, their needs and interests. Any
teacher should take into consideration all these components as they are of
great importance for making a learner-oriented curriculum of the English
Auerbach A. Making Meaning, Making Change: Participatory Curriculum Development.
McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1995.
McDonough, J., Shaw, C. Materials & Methods in ELT Blackwell Publishing,
Nunan, D. The Learner-Centred Curriculum. - Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Richards, J and Rodgers, T. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. - Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Rowntree, D. Developing Courses for Students. - London: McGraw Hill (UK), 1981.
Stenhouse L. An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. - London: Heinemann, 1975.
Rogova G.V. Methods of Teaching English. – М.:
White R. The ELT Curriculum. - Oxford: «Blackwell», 1989.
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2010