Effectiveness of any course depends on a number of different factors like teacher
’s qualification, number and level of students and available equipment. Among these factors one of the leading role is played by the syllabus or course program. This syllabus should, of course, be tailored to the students’ needs and wishes and include all of the necessary materials to achieve objectives which are set.
Syllabus design starts with the analysis of the course book which is used in exact educational institution for chosen level of students. Sometimes there can be a possibility to replace the course book on a more suitable one, although usually the book is fixed, which potentially can cause some inconvenience. During the analysis some activities are substituted, others are omitted, although in some cases the book will be mostly good, but lack the material on the whole, so the teacher
’s job is to find additional activities to put into the lessons.
Activities, specifically saying for Activate stage, are chosen bearing in mind that they should be comprised of receptive and productive language skills usage. Each lesson concentrates at least on one of the four skills providing students with practical language experience relating to the topic. It is generally useful to make lessons which integrate two skills at once, for instance reading and writing. Having acquired enough material and made a general guideline of the course, approximate lesson plans are produced.
Lessons should consist not only of teaching new material and activities to acquire new skills, but of constant revision and review exercises, for students not to forget previously obtained ones. Syllabus also includes different types of tests to assist the teacher
in understanding of students’ starting level, current progress and assessment
of the final results.
Essentially, syllabus creation is time consuming and difficult thing, which is made more complicated by students who are taught; they can come from different countries or be monolingual. They can have different levels of language knowledge, despite being placed in the same class; they can vary in age, motivation and interests. So the syllabus should be flexible enough for the teacher
to be able to adjust its pace according to his students’ progress. Not considering flexibility leads to serious problems in the class, especially for inexperienced teacher
s, who don’t possess a wide range of activities available at hand which can be done during the lessons impromptu, and an unconfident teacher
is one of the worst that can happen in the class.
One more aspect of syllabus design is to define students’ objectives as clearly as possible according to the class which is being taught and its type. Group classes including students of the same level, one-to-one and business english
classes require distinct approaches to setting aims. Level-based design is the simplest in approach since there is a clear goal of reaching the next level of language knowledge; a well thought-out placement test ensures that students have enough skills and are able to start the course. One-to-one classes require more personal approach as the objectives can be quite specific. Thus, the course book can find no place in the syllabus leaving room for created activities such as practice tests, creative and guided role-plays, intensive authentic reading or discussions. Deciding on business english
classes aims takes some special steps to be taken. Needs analysis, classroom equipment and company research are made before the teacher
can start designing the course syllabus. Because business english
students are very sensitive when it comes to satisfying their needs, frequent evaluations should be considered and put into syllabus to make them more confident in moving towards their target.
In conclusion, syllabus design takes into account numerous aspects and, without any questions
, is one of the most complicated tasks that can be given to a teacher
. However, careful consideration of these aspects and knowing students’ needs make this immense task more approachable.