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Assignment - CCDPP

SUBJECT ASSIGNMENT:
CURRICULUM AND COURSE DESIGN - PRINCIPLES
AND PRACTICE

Name and surname(s): Magali Viscarra Zúniga


Group: 2016-02
Subject: Curriculum and course design-principles and practice
Date: May 5th/ 2017
File name: 2016-02MViscarra_ CCDPP

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Assignment - CCDPP

Introduction
Teaching an English class requires more than just selecting a topic or a specific book. There is a lot
behind the class, many aspect must be taken into account starting from the design of the curriculum,
if it is an end-focus or process-focus one, to the necessities of the students, the environment, the
recourses available, the goals, what is expected from the learners at the end of certain course, and so
many others. Doctor Frank Tuzi (talking about an Overview of Language Curriculum Design, in a
video presented into the available recourses for this subject) illustrates in a graphic what elements
must be taken into account in the curriculum design process, which I include in Appendix 1.
Having said that, I must claim that no book or material is perfect to teach an English class, it would
be naive to think that a certain book would perfectly fit in ours classes, even the activities we make
might vary from group to group in the same institution as the students might not react in the same
way to the task we present.
This report is meant to analyze the book You! and how the person-center paradigm through the
procedural syllabus is really illustrated. Then, going through the unit sample (Unit 10: Free time) I
will aim to point out the possibility of using the material within my classes at Universidad Don
Bosco and how I suggest to adapt the material for a successful implantation. At the end of the report
I will also present a set of recommendations that I think must consider before, during and after
selecting You! as a suitable material to work with.

About the book and the role of the teacher and students
They book You! was designed to students twelve to fourteen at a secondary school level in a
Spanish context (ESO, Educación Secundaria Obligatoria) and those students are assumed to have a
certain familiarity with the target language acquired in the primary education. However, as the
instruction of the book You! states it can also be used with beginner as their lack of knowledge can
be compensated with the time dedicated to each unit, that means the coverage will be extended.
The authors claim that the book is a communicative learner center course that follows a task-based
approach. Going through the unit example of You! (unit 10 Free time) we can observe the book was
designed through a type B syllabus. Let us recall what a type b syllabus is: according to Nunnan
learner –centered curriculums do not focus on acquiring the language fully but in supporting
students in the communicative and linguistic skills they require to do a task.

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Assignment - CCDPP

We can say that You! is a type B syllabus or procedural syllabus because it focuses on how to
learn , that means that it concentrates on the process of learning. It is also organized around tasks
not much as in grammar structures. The unit also requests each teacher to adapt it in the way it
would give better results for each class group focusing on functions that student could perform
trying to integrate the language.
It can also be mentioned that in the development of the unit students must be autonomous. They
must use their creative side to complete the tasks, and each aspect of the unit is based around the
final task .Let us us also recall that the objective of these kind of syllabuses is to do something with
the target language and lead the students on how to learn do things. Specifically the unit leads
students to the creation of a free time survey they may conduct in the classroom using the useful
vocabulary and structures they got during the development of the unit; however the task itself does
not suggest the learners to use that vocabulary and structure but it is implicit as they are working in
the task.

Bearing in mind how the book is organized and what kind of syllabus is used we can also mention
what the role of the teacher and the students could be. The instructor would put more emphasis in
the task the structure (grammar) to be used; here the teacher would be more like a guide providing
help to the pupils when needed. He/she would be a facilitator, not the one transmitting knowledge
as Roberts, 1998 illustrates in a chart comparing knowledge-center and person-center paradigms
presented in FUNIBER (page 26).
Teacher using the book You! have to be interpretation teacher. As stated in our FUNIBER (page
28) these kind of teachers believe, among others things, that learners are intrinsically interested and
naturally inclined to explore their world.
As a result, the learners will be focused on how they are learning, in other words, rules will be set
aside as what is important is the use of the language. Student may have the main role in the class,
having that role would lead them to take control of their learning process or at least take more
responsibility of their own learning.

Institution and students ‘context

Universidad Don Bosco de El Salvador is located in the city of Soyapango, which is a popular
neighborhood well known for its poverty and violent environment. The university offers twenty one

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Assignment - CCDPP

major and thirteen technical careers, within its academic offer there are two majors where students
are required to learn English and French as a main aspect of the development of the course (The
subject organization is included in Appendix 2) The first major is in teaching English as a foreign
language, which aims to train students to be English teachers at any level from kindergarten to
university levels; the other major is in tourism that aims to train students to work in the tourism
field interacting with foreigners. Both, the teaching and tourism major are designed to accept
students with cero English knowledge, at the end of the majors they are supposed to achieve level
C1 on the Common European Framework through the development of the subjects offered in the
curriculum. Also, our university has adopted ECRIF (encounter, clarifying, remembering,
internalize and fluent use) as a language learning framework to base the lesson plans of the classes.
To enroll in the university students must have completed their high school education, that means,
most students are over eighteen years old. They majority of these students come from nearby areas
from the place where the university is located, from both public and private institution. Most of the
pupils who enroll in the majors previously mentioned come with really Basic English knowledge.

Usefulness of the book


Having set the kind of student I teach and reflecting a bit on some aspects of the book You!, such as
the audience and type of syllabus it’s based on, I would say that is plausible to use it at a university
level as well. The book would be suitable to use in Don Bosco University in A1 as I analyzed the
following aspects:
1. Vocabulary : Even though some the pictures and vocabulary the book uses are teen
oriented, the whole book organization from going to “lets started section” through “over to
you” stage can be smoothly use with young adults, let’s say, 18 to 20 years old pupils.
2. Students’ level: As the book sets in the general information, beginners can use it. That
would be the case of the students of the university but here the time dedicated to the
development of the unit can be extended to cover any previous lack of exposure to the
language.

3. Student needs: The objective of the course in Don Bosco univeristy is to take students to an
A1 level of English through the development of the four macro skills: speaking, listening,
reading and writing. The classes will be skills and project based in order to make students

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Assignment - CCDPP

more functional in the new language. So, the communicative approach You! uses may
perfectly work to achieve the course objective.

Recommended changes for the implementation


Students and teachers at Universidad Don Bosco would have to adapt to the learner-centered
system. Neither public nor private schools are familiar with that type of syllabus or methodology
the book You! is based on. Task based learning is a system that no Salvadorian teachers are very
experience with yet. So, I present some recommendations in order to have a smoothly
implementation.

Before
Teachers’ training.
So, before the book is actually used for the classes we would need to start with our actual students
little by little. What I mean is that teachers would keep teaching the classes with ECRIF ( the
language learning framework used in the university) and the old material but adding some activities
where some task based leaning activities take place. Those task leaning based classes would take
place twice every month so say something.
Having said that, there would be extremely important to have a training for instructors on how to
pass from ECRIF classes to a task based class. It’s also fundamental to mention that even with the
training teachers would have to go into a trial and error process in other to make the most of the
way the book is organized.
In an article presented in our required material to read for the subject I found a very interesting
paragraph:
“If each teacher introduces small classroom changes towards a people-centred approach and then
these are shared among colleagues and reported to their superiors, there will be a time when
teachers’ and learners’ voices will begin to shape the future of ELT curricula (Banegas, 2013).”
I found this idea so enlightening because many times we as teachers complain on how the
curriculum is designed or the material selected for the institution and many other decisions we did
not take part of. So, we can actually create a communicative chain starting from the students going
to teachers, to superiors etc. In this way, we can have a common agreement on what the best
selection are in order to benefit students, that after all, are the ones directly affected by the good or
bad organization of a curriculum.

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Assignment - CCDPP

I think that it’s highly important to listen to teachers when designing a course, choosing a syllabus
or creating a curriculum because the teachers are the ones having the daily contact with the main
actors in the learning process who are the students. Teachers can tell first had what are the students
learning needs are.
So another suggestion regarding to our students can be to create lists or checklists to keep students
own track of their learning like. In this way they can see in what is expected from them and if they
are really able to do what the check list suggests or what aspects of the language they need more
dedication so we can give them ownership of the learning and keep students motivated.

Evaluation system.
The evaluation system of the courses would have to be changed as well. In our Central American
countries we are used to asses our students through summative evaluation instead of formative
evaluation. To efficiently work a procedural syllabus we would definitely have to adopt the on-
going evaluation as the aim of each unit (and the whole book) is to evaluate the process students go
through to develop the final task.
However the evaluation would be a real challenge and the decision of changing an evaluation
process cannot be taken only by the teacher but by the university authorities and even the ministry
of education.

During
Supplementary material
Extra vocabulary of different reading passages would be required in order to catch college students’
attention and avoid lack of interest in the whole process or idea of the unit.
For example, a college students would lose interest listening to a 10 year old boy talking about his
free time which is the case of exercise 7 ( step by step). Here the teacher could include extra
vocabulary such a joining college clubs or doing social services.
As well the teacher can look for a video or listening exercise where a young adult can express what
he does in his/her leisure time. It would require a bit more of preparation from the teacher , but it’s
not something that we don’t do in our daily bases to spicy up our classes and get our students’
attention or juts to keep them motivated in the lessons.

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Assignment - CCDPP

Nevertheless when applying other material in the classes we have to be careful in keeping the
cohesion of the class. As studied in our FUNIBER material, cohesion is a key aspect when
planning. Cohesion can be achieved by choosing a theme in each lesson but using a variety of
activities within the topic selected. Sometimes we try to cover many things in just one class and by
adding so many aspects we lose the goal of the class and cannot focus in a meaningful language
chunk students can absorbed.

Students
Students would also have to familiarize to this kind of methodology as they come from English
classes that are just a requirement to get their high school degree. Especially in public institutions
students just learn vocabulary or basic structures through repletion or book exercises.
Now for the students per se is a bit shocking to enroll in the university and have communicative
English classes, so it would quite harder, but not impossible, to make them more conscious of their
leaning process and awake the independent side.
However as the book You is design with learner-center approach the advance in their learning
would be noticeable and that would keep them motivated to keep learning. Here in Universidad Don
Bosco there is a percentage of students who quit the major , specially the one enroll in the tourism
area, because they find difficult to learn the language.
So if they would actually see a progress in their English skills, they would appreciate the change
from a teacher-centered course , the one used in many high schools, from a more center-oriented
course. After all, motivation is the most important factor for success in language learning. It is even
more important than specific abilities in languages Gardner 1985.

Monitoring
Once the book You! is being used in the classes some actions have to be done to evaluate the
effectiveness of the material. It would be necessary to monitor the way classes are going with the
new approach.
For monitoring first teachers could do a self- themselves through checklist, then some class
observation from the authorities or more experienced teachers can take place in the middle of the
process to have peer evaluation and feedback as well as have some pupils observations toward the
book and class in general.

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Assignment - CCDPP

After
Finally at the end of the course, the whole development must also be assessed by checking how
well the learning objectives have been achieved. To do that a short research can be implemented
using information from the teachers, students and observers. Finally, using the result of the research
or the information collected, it would be clear if students’ skills match the level they are required to
have for level A1 in the Common European framework, which as I mentioned before is the one
used in the University.

Conclusion
Taking into account all the aspects mentioned about going from the book analysis, the students
background, the metrology to be used and the adjustments that need to be implemented; I would
believe that the book You! can be used with students of Don Bosco university in level A1.
However, the authorizes of the university, language department, and teacher have to be involved in
the development of a learner-centered syllabus to focus on what students will do in class rather than
a teacher-centered course where we have to ask ourselves what we will cover in class. At the end
the main objective of a curriculum, including all what that means such as the selection of the
material, is to present a course with goals that are students need oriented where the learners are
satisfied with the results.
I strongly believe that to achieve an efficient class a more eclectic teaching must be implemented.
The learning environment cannot be rigid saying a task based approach must be used all the time.
There are different activities and techniques that we as teacher can use independently of the
material we have, to offer our students the best setting to learn the target language.

References
Ball, P. Thornbury, S. (n.d.). Curriculum and course design-Principles and Practice. Spain:
Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana FUNIBER.

Gan, Zhengdong (2011) "Understanding L2 Speaking Problems: Implications for ESL Curriculum
Development in a Teacher. Training Institution in Hong Kong," Australian Journal of Teacher
Education: Vol. 37: Iss. 1, Article 3.

Banegas, D. Velázquez, A ( 2014.).La vivencia de un currículo basado en los actores de la clase de


inglés con adolescentes. Bogotá, Colombia: Enacting a People-Centred Curriculum in ELT With
Teenage Learners.

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Language Policy Unit, Strasbourg, Common European Framework Of Reference For Languages:
Learning, Teaching, Assessment.

Web biography
http://www.ecrif.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJOEkEAp1xs
published may 22nd 2013
A mini lecture on designing a language curriculum or a course - This is the first in a series on
Language Curriculum, Testing and Assessment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ7kE_eUMuA
published February 28th 2008
A teaching and learning video vignette presented by Kassia Wosick-Correa. Some of the topics
discussed include: Learning Objectives, Course Activities, Assessment, Content Knowledge,
Values, and Focus on Behavior.

Appendix 1
Elements in the curriculum design process

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Assignment - CCDPP

Appendix 2

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