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Analytic syllabuses are those which present the target language as whole chunks at a time, without linguistic interference or control. Refers not to what the syllabus designer does, but to the operations required of the learner

Syllabus design

Plan four weeks of a language teaching program.

Decide on your audience, goals, and teaching situation.

  • Structural?
  • Functional?
  • Task-based?
  • Situational?

Using the four pages given in this lecture folder, decide what to use and what not.

Sequence them, and provide a rationale for your sequencing.

What are some examples of this element?

What knowledge or detail makes up this element?

Is there an optimal sequence of grammatical structure in English?

Is there an optimal sequence of capabilities in English? Little empirical support is yet available for the variousproposed parameters of task classification and difficultyIdentification of valid, user-friendly sequencing criteria remains one of the oldest unsolved problems in language teaching of all kinds.

The problem of finiteness How many tasks and task types are there?

Where does one task end and the next begin?

How many levels of analysis are needed? What hierarchical relationships exist between one level and another?

  • Structural
  • Functional
  • Situational
  • Skills-based
  • Task-based
  • Content-based

Distinguish between synthetic and analytic syllabuses

Explain why sequencing is difficult in an ESL syllabus

Part 1

Several international students visit Perth for perusing Master degree. These students have different mother tongue such as Hindi, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. In order to enhance their language competency they intend to join English language school. The class comprises of six members in which three girls are Vietnamese and one is Indian. There are two boys one from India and China. These students are of age 20. English is the second language of these students who are perusing Master degree in Accounting in university.

It is very crucial to assess the learner’s subjective and objective needs. It will help design a suitable syllabus and programme. All the members of the group have similar English proficiency.  Six of the students have already appeared for IELTS test before joining class and are approximately at the level of 5.5-6.0 which is considered an intermediate level by the IELST test system (Pilcher & Richards, 2017). The productive skills will help achieve higher score in IELST which is essential for getting PR in Australia. The target score for these students is to score 6.5 in this test. In long run, the improvement in the competency will help deliver the university assignments more accurately and increase the writing performance.

For this purpose, skill based syllabus is selected for guiding teacher to teach specific productive skills. The four main skills that will be focused is writing, listening, reading and speaking. The theory underpinning this approach is the reductionist one and the theory believes that language is predictable and formulaic (Krahnke, 1987). The teacher can choose specific strategy for teaching particular skill. For instance, skimming and scanning can be chosen for developing reading skills.

According to Richards & Rodgers, (2014) there are many benefits of skill-based syllabus. Krahnke, (1987) claimed that while mastering particular language Skill-based content is most useful. It was found that the skill based content was helpful for students to improve language skill mainly when the students are aware of the weak points. The main advantage of the skills based theory is emphasis on student-felt needs. Consequently, the approach is preferred by the learners who are motivated to directly achieve their proficiency skills. The theory has its own limitations in the sense the relationship between skill instructions and general proficiency is questionable (Ismagilova & Polyakova, 2014). For instance, if the skills are predictable and if a given skill can be performed by the competency already present in the learner than the skill instruction is arguably ineffective.

Part 2

There are many applications of the competency instructions (Lindner, 2015).  In case of need of specific skills, there is a high application of competency instruction. Therefore, it is also useful for the international students whose immediate need is to naturally apply the skill-based instructions (Daud et al., 2016). Therefore, it is justified for target international students.  The syllabus type is most justified for the chosen learner’s needs as the chosen syllabus design focuses on specific language skills such as reading, writing, etc. Since the group of learners are international, students who are already having moderate proficiency in English. Moreover, the skills based approach is effective in teaching specific skills such as guessing vocabulary from material, summarising readings, critical reading skills, scanning while reading, and writing formal papers (Long, 2014).

As per the outline of the above given unit work the lesson plan is integrated using the skills based syllabus design  as the students are having moderate proficiency in English. The teaching plan is divided into 8 weeks. In each week the student will be taught two skills. For instance, week 1 and week 2 focuses on the writing and speaking skills by asking the students to write an essay on “job interview”. This aspect is in alignment with the skills based approach as the students at university will need to prepare their projects and assignments. In order to excel in academic writing these skill are of first and foremost importance (Ismagilova & Polyakova, 2014). In both the weeks the students are trained to enhance their skills from basis level such as understanding the question and topic of sentence followed by teaching on how to plan and make notes. This aspect increases the student’s ability to organise the speaking time followed by learning correct pronunciation. This aspect exemplifies the syllabus type as international graduate students need specific reading comprehension skills (Krahnke, 1987). Therefore, pronunciation is the basic and immediate need of the students. In the second week the students will be taught to learn pronouncing of vowels.  It will assist the students in use of correct word or terminologies, which will help them to develop good ideas and build good paragraphs (Moskovsky et al., 2015). The above syllabus fits into the chosen syllabus type because the main concern of the target students is to learn a vocabulary that will allow the learner to communicate in everyday situation.

In the third week the teacher will be focusing more on improving the skills of the students to write good introduction and conclusion and discuss the essay outline. In this week the students will learn the pronunciation of consonant sound. In week four, the students will learn to write academic sentences and express the public opinion. This week’s teaching plan also focuses on student’s skills of making eye contact while speaking. This syllabus of week 3 and 4 exemplifies the syllabus type. These are simple things which even the learner wants to learn to survive in Australia and ensure effective communication with other international and local students (Brinton & Celce-Murcia, 2014). The syllabus of this week emphasise on learner’s needs to understand texts used every day.  Writing sentences and paragraphs in foreign language teaching is the way for language acquisition.

Part 3

The week 5 and 6 teaching plan trains students on ways to edit and check what they have written followed by summing up of impressions verbally.  In these two weeks students will learn how to write informally or impersonal way while linking phrase and transition and about body movement. These skills are effective means of communication both in professional and non-professional settings such as business (Nordin, 2017). These are specific set of skills which are naturally applicable to  variety of situation in University such as receiving guiltiness, counting and measuring,  interaction with peers, and giving explanations.

The week 7 and 8 of teaching plan trains students on skills of using cohesive device, and avoiding overgeneralisations.  The learners in this week will learn stressing on words while speaking. For instance, it may include stress and intonation practice to not to use syllable “N”. The learning outcome of this week is students to write in an objective style while expressing the advantages and disadvantages. Students in this week will learn how to convince audience by hand gesture. This plan exemplifies the skills based instruction as the student will practice upon his phonetics and grammar. The speech delivery will help students to identify their flaws (Pilcher & Richards, 2017).

Overall the teaching plan indicates that these aspects of language are useful for university students where they are exposed to well-defined forms and routines. Therefore, the developed unit work fits the syllabus type previously identified in Part 1. The teaching plan is such that  it may prepare the students for education and enhance skills required for entry-level employment in a foreign country. The syllabus is designed in manner that facilitates the learner’s interest in the language’s structure and tries to find rules. The overall curriculum is easier to be handled by the teacher as the syllabus is structured in a sequence starting from basic and core  skills. The subject’s syllabus comprise of list of objectives that can be pursued in the classroom. It is formulated that is characterised by the “use of an infinitive taken from a finite list of verbs” eg to practice, to understand, to read and to write.

The teaching plan is designed in manners that can fruitfully exemplifying the selected syllabus design named skills based design. There are potential problems when English language class is conducted for the international students. As evident these students are already having moderate level of proficiency in English, therefore, if the teacher emphasise too much on the grammar sense or basic writing skills such as vowels and consonants then it may have negative implications on the students (Gleeson & Davison, 2016). It means that the teacher may emphasise more on communication style. At times it may happen that the teacher and student’s interaction does not takes place positively. It may be due to lack of communication gestures in the initial stage of the classes. Therefore the teacher must observe each student as some students may be a fast learner while some may learn at slow pace. The teacher may therefore personally interact with each student and ask questions to assess the problem area. It will help prevent the strong student dominance (Arkoudis & Doughney, 2016).

Justification of syllabus type selected

According to Ryan et al. (2016) in short term courses a teacher must apply situational analysis for short term learning goals. It will help students to achieve their long term learning goals of communication in English language. In the initial classes, the students may be too unprepared and lack shared learning. It may take time for them to be motivated or develop interest in the learning of new language (Due et al., 2016).  In such situation the teacher must be diligent enough to move to the new topic by checking the previous concept multiple times. Simultaneously, the teacher must encourage individual participation to win over relucent learners. Since the students are adults learners, it must be remembered that they already have wide range of talents and skills. These students may be put off at the slightest hint of being patronized, in case the new students cannot express their frustration in learning English language (Ismagilova & Polyakova, 2014).

While emphasising on syllable the students may not grab the correct pronunciation of vowel and consonant sound. In such situation can use audio record with exact pronunciation style which can be played back and forth multiple times till the student catches particular word (Kirkpatrick, 2016). Without learning the correct pronunciation the students may excel in writing skills but may fail to interact with the professors in the university and their peers. It may lead to failure of communicational success where the target students fail to speak fluently on an international society. The role of the teacher in such situation is to provide enough help with functions, structures, and vocabulary needed so that the learners can express and expand each idea (Due et al., 2016). According to Buchanan et al. (2017) students when learning English as their second language tend to overly dependent on their teachers. They fail to try and correct themselves. In this case the biggest barriers are the dominance of stresses, rhymes and intonations of their native language. For some students the idiosyncratic sounds of the new language may create embarrassment and decrease the accuracy of speaking.  A competent teacher will aim good pronunciation while teaching other skills such as vocabulary, reading aloud, and grammatical structures (Ryan et al., 2016). Therefore the teacher must positively encourage the students. It may happen so that the students tend to speak in their first language while clarifying their doubts. The teacher should then develop a system of penalty to minimise this behaviour.  

Justification of how the unit of work exemplifies the syllabus type


Arkoudis, S., & Doughney, L. (2016). Improving English language learning outcomes for international students in Australian universities: Some critical issues. In Reforming learning and teaching in Asia-Pacific universities (pp. 297-314). Springer Singapore.

Brinton, D. M., & Celce-Murcia, M. (2014). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Heinle and Heinle.

Buchanan, J., Major, J., Harbon, L., & Kearney, S. (2017). Preparing teachers through international experience: A collaborative critical analysis of four Australian programs. In Global Teaching (pp. 167-188). Palgrave Macmillan US.

Daud, N. S. M., Daud, N. M., & Kassim, N. L. A. (2016). Second language writing anxiety: cause or effect?. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, 1(1), 19.

Due, C., Riggs, D. W., & Augoustinos, M. (2016). Diversity in intensive English language centres in South Australia: sociocultural approaches to education for students with migrant or refugee backgrounds. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20(12), 1286-1296.

Gleeson, M., & Davison, C. (2016). A Conflict between Experience and Professional Learning: Subject Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching English Language Learners. RELC Journal, 47(1), 43-57.

Heugh, K., Li, X., & Song, Y. (2017). Multilingualism and translanguaging in the teaching of and through English: rethinking linguistic boundaries in an Australian University. In English Medium Instruction in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific (pp. 259-279). Springer International Publishing.

Ismagilova, L. R., & Polyakova, O. V. (2014). The problem of the syllabus design within the competence approach based on the course “English for Master Degree Students in Economics (advanced level)”. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 152, 1095-1100.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2016). The learning and teaching of English as an international language in Asia-Pacific universities: Issues and challenges. In Reforming learning and teaching in Asia-Pacific universities (pp. 233-247). Springer Singapore.

Krahnke, K. (1987). Approaches to Syllabus Design for Foreign Language Teaching. Language in Education: Theory and Practice, No. 67. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Book Distribution Center, Route 59 at Brook Mill Drive, West Nyack, NY 10994.

Lindner, R. (2015). Introducing a micro-skills approach to intercultural learning to an English for specific purposes course for students of sociology. Scripta Manent, 5(1-2), 9-24.

Long, M. (2014). Second language acquisition and task-based language teaching. John Wiley & Sons.

Moskovsky, C., Jiang, G., Libert, A., & Fagan, S. (2015). Bottom?Up or Top?Down: English as a Foreign Language Vocabulary Instruction for Chinese University Students. Tesol Quarterly, 49(2), 256-277.

Nordin, S. M. (2017). The best of two approaches: Process/genre-based approach to teaching writing. The English Teacher, 11.

Pilcher, N., & Richards, K. (2017). Challenging the power invested in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Why determining ‘English’preparedness needs to be undertaken within the subject context. Power and Education, 9(1), 3-17.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge university press.

Ryan, S., Bhattacharyya, A., Stratilas, K., & Goela, N. (2016). English language proficiency and learning among Australian international postgraduate accounting students.

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