Week 1 Online Discussion Forum

Task 1

Read the definition below:

The terms course, curriculum and syllabus have been assigned meanings by their users that often overlap… In a broad sense the process of course development is similar to that of curriculum development. Course development includes planning a course, teaching it, and modifying the plan… In the traditional view of curriculum development… teachers have no role in the planning stages, and specialists determine the purposes, plan the syllabus, and develop the materials…(Graves 1996:3).

  1. Exchange examples of‘knowledge, skills and values’ included in a curriculum you have taught from.

  2. One of the definitions of the curriculum is all that which will be ‘taught and tested’ (Richards 2001:2). Think of a course you have taught. How did you know ‘what would be taught and tested’? Where did you get this information from?

Task 2

Nation and Macalister list a number of key factors in curriculum development as identified by teachers on page 4. Think back to the last course you taught on. What were the three key factors that influenced the development of that course? (Try and answer this question even if you were not involved in the course design).

Task 3

Nation and Macalister discuss on pages 1-3 how goals are at the centre of the curriculum development process as ‘this is meant to reflect the importance of having clear general goals for a course’ (p. 1). Can you think of situations where ‘clear general goals’ may not be possible?

Task 4

Look at the sample course outline below and answer the following questions

  1. Using figure 1.1 on page 3 of Nation and Macalister, can you identify in what environment this course is offered (e.g. who are the students?), what the students’ needs are, and what principles the course might be built on?

  2. Similarly, what do you think the goal of the course is?

  3. If you had to teach this course, what do you think the lessons would look like? How would they be structured and what types of activities would you expect, or be expected (!), to use?

  4. What other information would you need before teaching the course?

Speaking and Listening

In this course, you will learn how to:

    • compare things and make decisions in English.
    • understand English speakers talking on various topics including finance, nostalgia, the paranormal, books and films, crime.
    • express and accept sympathy in English.
    • ask for help or clarification of what someone has said in English.
    • speculate, in English, about the future.
    • understand and appreciate common English language narrative styles, including folk stories, jokes, songs and soap operas.
    • make a presentation in English.
    • tell jokes and stories and give your opinion in English.
    • take yourself and your possessions to be "fixed".
    • make a complaint in English.
    • start conversations and keep them going with "conversational gambits".

Reading and Writing

In this course, you will learn how to:

    • use mind maps, do research and plan for compositions, book reports and reviews in English.
    • conduct an email interview in English.
    • write clear instructions in English.
    • write your curriculum vitae in English.
    • write a diary in English.

Grammar and Vocabulary

In this course, you will learn:

    • vocabulary of money, photography, anger, animal metaphors, hobbies, colours, food/drink (idiomatic), physical description (connotation), weather, fame, writing/books/authors, crime, poetic effect.
    • using adverbs, e.g. Please don't argue so loudly.
    • using the present perfect continuous (and simple), e.g. Bruce has been skydiving for three years.
    • using the third conditional, e.g. If Jesse hadn't played in the sea, the shark wouldn't have attacked him.
    • using the future perfect and continuous, e.g. By this time tomorrow we'll have finished all our exams.
    • saying the something needs doing, or needs to have something done, e.g. His hair needs cutting.
    • the order of adjectives, e.g colour origin material use.
    • simple and continuous narrative forms, e.g. Martha was exhausted because she had been working out.
    • using relative clauses, e.g. The child who was at the party was asleep.
    • using adverbial phrases, e.g. The I've been learning English for ages.
    • revision and building on language points learned in Elementary through Intermediate including: question forms, the past, articles, phrasal verbs, passive voice, direct/indirect speech.

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