Your assignment should be around 2,000 – 2,500 words long.
Assignment topics: choose one question from list below.
The purpose of the assignment is to assess your ability to apply your knowledge of the Language Curriculum Design model to a given context.
Reading lists for each topic will not be provided. You have to reference Language Curriculum Design .You are expected to select appropriate further reading relevant to your assignment after careful reading of the set text and use of the References section.You are expected to include references in your assignment, in APA style.
1 .Propose the items to be covered in a pre-university study skills course for international students for whom English is not a first language. Justify your suggestions in terms of the three outer circles of the curriculum design model.
2 . Identify and justify the key principles you would apply when designing an introductory course in Korean to NZ junior secondary students (Years 9-10, ages approximately 13-14). Illustrate the effect of your choices in terms of classroom practice.
3.Identify a curriculum innovation that you would like to introduce in a specific teaching and learning context. Design and justify a short in-service course (from half a day to two days’ duration) for teachers to ensure the innovation’s acceptance and successful use in that context.
4. Choose a unit from a commercially available course book. Identify ways in which you would adapt this unit for use in a particular teaching and learning situation. Explain and justify the changes you would make with reference to the language curriculum design model.
Language Curriculum Design (Answer to Question 1)
Planning a language curriculum will involve preparing for the duties of teaching, the goals of the course to be taught and determining the curriculum content. In addition, the teacher will have to select the learning materials to be used, procedures to be followed, and evaluation of the curriculum. In this case, the curriculum design is meant for international students whom English is not a first language. The items for a pre-university skills course to be considered will include memorization, textbook study, note taking, and mnemonics.Memorization will equip the students with necessary skills in remembering the content taught. Textbook study will be important to help the students familiarize with the content of the subject regardless their first language. Note taking is vital for the students because they will be able to derive the most important information from the course of study. Lastly, application of mnemonics to the students will be important because they aim at translating information into a form that the brain can retain better than its original form.
Planning permits the teacher to foresee the process, which is going to be developed in the classroom, to create a system, where all the elements are interrelated (Kaur, 2007). According to Nation, & Macalister (2010), there is a wide range of factors to consider when designing the course of study. These factors will include the resources available inclusive of time, the existing knowledge of the learner and the skill of the teachers, the curriculum designer’s strengths, limitations, and principles of teaching and learning. The format and presentation part of the inner circle represents the design of the lessons of the course, including the techniques and types of activities that will be incorporated to help in learning. The monitoring and assessment part of the inner circle represents the need to give attention to observing learning, testing the results of learning, and providing feedback to the learners regarding their progress.
The course items will increase the students’ awareness of the academic expectations and performance requirements of a university as they relate to information gathering for research and other academic purposes. In addition, it will help to develop each student’s ability to improve independently as an effective and efficient information gatherer, who can continue to develop and sustain relevant academic information gathering skills as they relate to both conventional and electronic resources after the class has ended. The designed course will give the students both a theoretical rationale and the practical tools necessary for evaluating print and non-print information resources in terms of appropriateness, accuracy, authoritativeness, objectivity, timeliness, and comprehensiveness. Finally, where appropriate, to assist the student in maximizing the value of the academic content courses being taken along with the elective class on techniques for gathering and evaluating research information (Nation, & Macalister (2010).
In order to implement the curriculum design process, the teacher will have to involve the three outer circles, which include; environment analysis, needs analysis, and application of principles. The application of principles involves first of all deciding on the most important principles to apply and monitoring their application through the whole design process. The result of applying principles is a course where learning is given the greatest support. The result of needs analysis is a realistic list of language, ideas, or skill items, because of considering the present proficiency, future needs, and wants of the learners. The result of environment analysis is a ranked list of factors and a consideration of the effects of these factors on the design.
Needs analysis is vital and will involve studying the specific needs for the international students whom English in not a first language. Therefore, developing English for specific purposes curriculum is closely related to the students’ objectives, language objectives, learning strategies, and expectations from the course to be taught (Kaewpet, 2009). Based on the identified aim and course items, it is possible to make an analysis of the learners’ needs both from the point of view of their language needs and their communicative needs. Needs assessment will examine what learners already know and what they do need to know in the course of the teaching process (Kaur, 2007). By gathering such information from the learners, the needs analysis can assure that the course will entail only important and useful things for the students to learn. For instance, textbook study will be important to help the students familiarize with the content of the subject regardless their first language.
According to Kaur (2007), needs are divided into target needs and learning needs. Target needs will be analyzed by examing the necessities, wants and deficiencies of the students. It is important to collect data on the needs that present themselves from the students. Deficiencies fit into the present knowledge, wants fit into the subjective needs, while necessities fit into the required needs by the students. The analysis of target or objective needs looks into the requirements of the language used in the contexts where the course participants will likely have to use English language. The learning needs analysis looks at the student’s insights toward what the course will offer. Alternatively, the analysis of the objective needs should reveal the language skills that should be developed more for the learners to easily deal with note taking, memorizing different contexts, textbook study and application of mnemonics.
Necessities deal with what the students should know in order to handle a particular subject better and with ease. For instance, in this case, the purpose for the course is to prepare pre-university students whom English is not their first language. The analysis should focus on the kind of language needed for the students to do their normal class work and other activities within the institution such as the memorization and use of mnemonics (Petrova, 2008). The teacher should interview the students because they already understand their target situation. Deficiencies analysis will involve checking the present situation of the learners such as if they can take notes from dictations. This strategy will be determined through providing tests to learners to measure language proficiency, checking the students’ previous documents, and interviewing them on how they take the learning process (Kaewpet, 2009). A learner-centered course should be based on the findings of the learners’ needs analysis that should be analyzed on a regular basis since they often change.
Environment analysis involves considering the factors of the state in which the course will be used and determining how the course should take account of them. Social factors such as educational policies, community attitudes to language learning, and language teaching profession would favor the learning of English for non-natives (Kayl, 2008). A teacher should consider various factors while designing for a pre-university study skills course for international students where English is not a first language.
One of the factors that the teacher should consider is the immediate survival needs of the students involved in the learning process. This is important because the teacher will be guided in designing a suitable teaching curriculum such as the one to be used during the textbook study. The time available for the course should be well monitored so that the students will get enough time for learning and practicing the language. Time issue determines the amount of group work to be given in class, the techniques to be used such as oral reproduction or blackboard reproduction, and whether the tasks would be individualized or not.
Another important factor to consider is the availability of reading materials that would help the students learn and master the English language faster. Environment analysis will also include analyzing the teacher’s experience and training. Through this initiative, weak areas will be established and hence the teacher will be in a position to deliver the right learning process for such students. The teacher should encourage the students to use English in the classroom as their first language to improve its mastery. Learners should be independent, they should not always wait for the teacher for the learning process to continue. The importance of environmental analysis entails making the curriculum more suitable, realistic, and practical (Nation, & Macalister, 2010).
Basic Principles of Language Curriculum Design
There are a number of principles of language curriculum design that a teacher should consider incorporating when designing an effective curriculum especially for students whose English is not their first language (Kayl, 2008). One of the major groups of principles deals with content and sequencing. The substance of language courses consists of the language ideas, skills, items, and strategies that meet the goals of the course (Kayl, 2008). It is important for the curriculum designer to keep close check on grammar, vocabulary, and dialogue to make sure that important items are being covered and repeated. A curriculum is considered coherent when learners’ achievements match up to the aim of the course and when there is logical relationship between the objectives stated and the process planned and developed in the classroom.
Content and sequencing dictate what should be included in a language course and the order in which the language items will appear in the curriculum. This will ensure that the learners gain useful outcomes from the course. Nevertheless, it is possible to design a language curriculum which is full of interesting activities and which introduces the learners to new language items, but which provides a very discouraging feedback for the time allocated. The discouraging feedback can happen because many of the lessons do not contain anything new for students to learn because they set out interference conditions, which result in a step backwards in learning rather than a step forward. Moreover, the new items have very little value in the ordinary use of the language.
Principle of Format and Presentation
The second group of principles deals with format and presentation from the results of analysis. The principle concerns what actually happens in the learning environment and the importance of the learner’s attitude to what they are studying. Intrinsic motivation should be encouraged to determine the amount of involvement, time, and effect that the learners give to the learning process (Petrova, 2008). Motivation will involve a situation where the teacher offer some freedom to the students to make the subject and learning outcomes interesting, setting simple, reasonable and achievable tasks, rewarding the learners and helping them to become independent learners. The curriculum should contain tasks with built-in challenges such as time pressure and hidden puzzle like solutions to help the learner achieve the realistic individual goals (Nation & Macalister, 2010).
The course designed should include an even balance of the four strands of meaning which include language-focused learning, focused input, fluency activities, and meaning focused output. In a realistic curriculum design, equal time should be allocated to each of these four strands to ensure total language experience for the learner. By doing so, both the teacher and the learner will attain maximum benefit from the learning process. For instance, if 30% of the time is allocated to meaning focused input, 30% should be given to language focused learning, and then meaning focused output and fluency development should be 20% each (Nation, & Macalister, 2010).
Learners should be pushed to use the foreign language through speaking and writing over a range of dialogue types. For instance, for the English learners, they will need to understand the articles and preposition systems of English in order to gain a satisfactory understanding of the written or spoken language. The language curriculum should provide activities aimed at increasing the fluency with which the learners can comfortably use the language they already know, both approachably and efficiently (Kaewpet, 2009). Better part of time should be used focusing on the second language. The more time learners spend on learning the language, the more they are likely to learn. Even with complete beginners, there are many opportunities to establish the target language as the main language to be used in the classroom by using it for farewells, greetings, and instructions and other naturally habitual interactions. The initiative will help learners to view the target language as a means of communication rather than an object of study.
The third group of principles includes monitoring and assessing the curriculum design. The aim of the curriculum design is to design a course that has a achievable goal and that satisfies its users. The curriculum design should ensure that all this done in an efficient way. An important recurring part of the design process is to assess how well these aims are achieved. Genarally, assessing involves the use of tests (Kayl, 2008). The information gained from such tests can be useful in evaluating the course.
Testing is just a single strategy of gaining information about the progress of learners and the effectiveness of the course. More strategies include observing and monitoring using checklists and report forms, instruct learners to collect samples of their work in folders, instructing learners to keep diaries and learning logs, and instruct learners to talk about their learning. Curriculum design can include planned opportunity for this kind of data gathering. In addition, learners should receive helpful feedback from the teacher, which will allow them to improve the on the course items.
In conclusion, it is important to consider the status of learners before designing a language curriculum program. The approach used in establishing ESP courses should be learner centered so that it efficiently and effectively meet the needs of the students. An analysis of the learner’s language ability should be conducted in order to establish the languages they are already familiar with and what should be included in the curriculum. The knowledge obtained will not only allow the curriculum designer to decide what to teach, but also guide them in making vital decisions to cater for the varied learning styles, motivation and goals.
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