Procedure of planning. Linguistic/ Innatist Theory. Principles of language are inborn not learned. Language is a hardwired bioprogram that develops when infants are exposed to it. Acquiring language is like learning to walk. Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
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Principles of language are inborn not learned.
Language is a hardwired bioprogram that develops when infants are exposed to it.
Acquiring language is like learning to walk.
Language Acquisition Device (LAD)
Theorized by Noam Chomsky
It is impossible for the young child to voice concepts that are totally unknown to them.
Children learn about the world first, then map language onto their prior experience.
Example of Cognitive Theory
An infant experiences the house cat; they know that it meows, is furry, purrs, eats from a bowl in the kitchen –
hence develops the concept of cat first then learns to map the word “kitty” onto that concept
Social Interactionist Theory
Stresses the functional basis of communication
Children are social beings who acquire language in service of their needs to communicate
Early language is like any other biologically based attachment behavior (smiling, following the parent, crying if parent
leaves, e.t.c.). It serves the social and affective needs of both infants and their parents
Rooted in behaviorism
Learning theory includes social learning, classical, and operant conditioning
Language development is similar to any other learned behavior; it is a result of external reinforcement that
gradually shapes babbling into speech (Skinner, 1957, 1969; Whitehurst 1982)
Difference from Innatist Perspective
Learning how to pluralize a new word is a result of generalization based on past experience of similar words
ex) Tatty Tatties
Recollecting and Manipulating
Task Goal Task completion
What to do with what
Lesson structure, activities
Rewrite Cinderella story by substitute Cinderella to the Princess Fiona
Anticipate how the princess Fiona will do and say.
Read the story
Analyse the characters
Rewrite the story on the basis of an original one.
It has the potential advantage of tapping students’ knowledge of the world as an aid to learning, and also of providing realistic, and hence motivating, materials.
It also may serve the purpose of bridging cultural gap by various conversations and topics that are implied with typical social conventions and customs of the countries and people the learners are interested in.
It is manageable to take situational syllabus as a foundation, upon which we can incorporate many other syllabus types, for instance, grammatical/structural, functional/notional syllabi, etc.
Situational syllabus will have a countless resource to utilize, so as to construct and design a variety of courses without worrying about repetition and boredom.
Too much use of predetermined and artificial situations can lead to lack of transfer because students are led to pre-learned routines and patterns of language use rather than creative and negotiated uses of language.
It is difficult to create authentic language instructional purposes because:
a. The actual patterns of use of native speakers in many situations are still unknown and intuition is not a reliable guide.
b. In addition, even when accurate native speaker norms are available it’s extremely difficult to write focused and natural dialogues.
c. A third problem with authenticity in situational content is its tendency to become outdated.
This syllabus may reflect unwanted foreign language values, in other words it is not culture-free.
Like structural syllabus, this syllabus also presents sequencing problem.
The learners learn how to use language to express authentic communicative purposes.
Learners may be motivated by the opportunity to use language to express their own purposes, ideas and emotions.
It caters more readily to the teaching of the pragmatic aspects of language, such as the linguistic devices needed to display politeness, and also to the teaching of cultural/ceremonial topics, such as when and how to greet people.
According to Richards and Rodgers (2001) one of the strengths of notional functional syllabus which has helped the emergence of communicative approaches to language teaching is that it considers the needs of the learners and the meanings that they need to convey.
It also emphasizes the fact that the students and their communicative purposes are at the very core of the teaching program (Raine, 2010).
It gives the course designer the freedom to respond to changing or newly perceived needs in the learners; and meanwhile, it produces a framework for the teacher who wants to start out with a plan.
A proportional syllabus type can give rise to many kinds of frameworks; and a framework can be designed for most ESL teaching situations.
This practical approach with its focus on flexibility and cyclical method of language sequencing leading to the recycling of language seems relevant for learners who lack exposure to the target language beyond the classroom (Rabbini, 2002).
A proportional syllabus allows for classroom content to be dependent upon either the length of time that learners have been studying, or upon their special needs.
Nation and Macalister (2010) enumerate the followings as the advantages of a negotiated syllabus:
This syllabus is responsive to the wants of the learners and involves them in the process of learning and decision-making.
Involving the learners in shaping the syllabus has a strong effect on motivation, satisfaction and commitment to the course. It changes from being the teacher’s course to the learners’ course.
If the negotiation is carried out in English, then this may be one of the most involving meaning-focused activities in the program.
The negotiation also develops learners’ awareness of the goals of language-learning activities and how these goals can be achieved. Breen (1987) also purports that all courses have to adjust in one way or another to the reality of the teaching situation and the negotiated syllabus gives clear recognition to this. Furthermore, a negotiated syllabus will preserve and promote autonomy among learners by granting them a role in decision-making processes.
Learners may be reluctant to negotiate or to let their classmates negotiate because they feel it should be the teacher’s expertise guiding the course:
Learners may also not know enough of the range of options they could choose from and thus may make unimaginative choices.
Teachers may feel that using a negotiated syllabus removes too much of their power and status. Learners may find it difficult to reach agreement about what they should be doing.
A fully negotiated syllabus requires considerable teacher skill and time in accessing and producing resources.
Process syllabi also lack a reasoned proposal for task sequencing, which seems to be based mostly on the learner’s wants and wishes.
Despite recent SLA findings, process syllabi leave no room for focus on form.
It assumes a high degree of autonomy and a high degree of expertise in learners, which would be unacceptable in some contexts.
Innovative: the procedural syllabus is novel in comparison to the conventional syllabuses which mainly focused on presenting lists of notions, functions, or structures.
Focus on meaning: In procedural syllabus, students learn linguistic forms through communication.
No pre-selection of linguistic items: Procedural syllabus is not structurally or lexically graded. Rather the contents of materials are characterized in holistic units of communication or tasks.
Naturalness: Prabhu believes that focus on form deters language learning. In his opinion, through focus on meaning, a natural process of learning occurs
The prominence of reasoning: the communicational project relies too much on student reasoning. Prabhu (1987) feels that learners need the security of working with problems in which the answers are clearly right or wrong, and he wishes to encourage guessing and trial-and-error without too much freedom to go astray, so he prefers a small range of possible answers. He claims that open-ended questions make greater demands on the students language than is appropriate at this early receptive stage.
The second criticism concerns Prabhus discouragement of group work. This is because of the fear that learners will use their mother tongue, and that learner-learner interaction will promote pidginization. In this approach so much importance is given to message (meaning) that learners felt success is achieved when messages are conveyed, by whatever impoverished and inaccurate linguistic means.
No rationale exists for the content (task selection) of such a syllabus (Long & Crookes, 1992).
Grading task difficulty and sequencing tasks appear to be arbitrary processes, which are left partly to judgments by the classroom teacher (Long & Crookes, 1992).
Johnson & Johnson (1999) believe that the lack of any structural or semantic planning in this syllabus leads to inadequate coverage of the language. So there is interval between students’ first exposure to some language items and their mastery. Johnson (1982) points out that implementation of this syllabus results in a long period of ‘incubation’ between the time that an item is first heard and its mastery by the student.
Since it is, in fact, a random selection of chunks of the content of other subjects, this syllabus lacks any real life task.
Markee (1997) also criticizes procedural syllabus for its tasks being teacher-led and less adaptive to learners’ needs, and also for being not so much innovative alongside other syllabi such as notional functional and natural approach.
Richards (2001) Claims made in support of skills-based syllabuses are:
. They focus on behavior or performance.
They teach skills that can transfer to many other situations.
They identify teachable and learnable units.
Skills-based syllabuses have the advantage of focusing on performance in relation to specific tasks and therefore provide a practical framework for designing courses and teaching materials.
Krahanke (1987, p. 54) Skill-based content is most useful when learners need to master specific types of language uses, either exclusively or as part of broader competency.
Karahnke(1987) criticizes this syllabus on the ground that the ability to perform specific tasks in a language is dependent on or independent of overall language proficiency.
Auerbach (1986) holds that since skill-based instruction is too limited in scope it may program students for particular kinds of behavior or isolate them from achievements and ambitions that the competency doesn’t prepare them for (e.g., education rather than entry-level employment).
According to Willis et al. (2005), a skills-based syllabus is not much more than a list of skills and micro-skills to be practiced. But can we really depend on a syllabus which is merely a list of skills? And, more importantly, in their experiment implementing a skill-based syllabus they observed that teachers felt at sea because they felt they had little or no guidance in the choice of texts to use in order for students to practice these skills.
The list of skills could not be understood in the same way by all likely participants. If a syllabus aim is to understand common uses of basic verb tenses, there will at least be approximate agreement about what is meant. On the other hand, if the aim is to "infer meaning from context" it is harder to know what would count as success; and if the aim is something as amorphous as "to deal efficiently with customer complaints on the telephone" then one cannot even know for certain that this will be interpreted in the same way by teacher and student, or indeed by either on two consecutive days.
Nunan(1988, 2004) sees the followings as the advantages of content-based syllabuses:
In comparison with analytic syllabuses which are little more than random collection of tasks, content-based syllabuses enjoy a logical and coherent selection and grading content.
It shares the advantages of analytical syllabuses.
Learners learn other aspects of school learning alongside language itself.
It integrates all the four language skills.
It actively involves students in the phase of learning.
It utilizes authentic tasks.
For all these reasons, it can raise motivation and heighten the engagement of the learner in his or her own learning process.
Ellis (2003, p. 235) believes that content-based courses might not result in learners achieving high levels of grammatical and sociolinguistic accuracy.
Brown (2007) argues that teachers can be easily deterred by the demands of content knowledge and discouraged by the amount of preparation they must do.
Short (1993) mentions that the difficulty with assessment centers on isolating the language features from the content objectives; in order that, one do not adversely influence the other.
Promote attention to meaning, purpose, negotiation;
Encourage attention to relevant data;
Draw objectives from the communicative needs of learners;
Define a problem to be worked through by learners, centered on the learners but guided by the teacher; and
Provide opportunities for meta-communication and meta-cognition (i.e. provide opportunities for learners to talk about communication and about learning).
Raya quotes Ellis (2009) that the psycholinguistic rationale for TBLT is that:
Learners have their own built-in syllabus, which directs how they gradually learn the L2 systems.
The primary goal of any form of language instruction is the development of implicit knowledge as, without this, learners will not be able to communicate effectively.
Implicit knowledge can best be achieved by providing learners with opportunities to experience the L2 as a communicative tool.
To assist learning, instruction needs to draw learners’ attention to form while they are communicating through what is known as focus on form. The learning that results is incidental rather than intentional.
Frequency: By using language corpora syllabus designer lists the most frequent expressions in the language.
Teachability: The selected most frequent words will be piloted and the words which are difficult to manage in the classroom will be discarded.
Authenticity: The lexical items selected in the Lexical Syllabus are taken from authentic texts produced by language users in their everyday lives.
Coverage: This syllabus tries to select lexical items which are generic and are not context-specific.
Similarity: Where possible, lexical syllabus takes advantage of cognates or similar terms shared by both languages. For example, the terms “mother” and “father” are similar in all Indo-European languages
(analyse your findings and revise your material. )