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English for Specific Purpose :

The Syllabus
Misdwi Septianingsih
Syiva Nurul Hidayah
• What do we mean by a syllabus ?
• Why should we have a syllabus ?
• On what criteria can a syllabus be organised?
• What role should a syllabus play in the course
design process?
What do we mean by a syllabus ?
• Definition of Syllabus :
A syllabus, in ELT, is a description of the contents
of a course of instruction and the order in which
they are to be taught. It actually performs as a
guide for both teachers and learners by
providing some goals to be accomplished.
• According to Breen, (1984) a syllabus can be seen as:
"a plan of what is to be achieved through our teaching
and our students' learning“

• According to Yalden (1987) also refers to syllabus as:

"a summary of the content to which learners will be

• According to Hutchinson and Waters (1987) define

syllabus as at its simplest level
"... as a statement of what is to be learnt"
They further add that it reflects of language and
linguistic performance. In simple words, a
language teaching syllabus involves the
combination of subject matter (what to teach)
and linguistic matter (how to teach).
So, we can conclude that A syllabus is a
document which says what will or at lest what
should be learnt.
Various Kinds of Syllabus :
• The evaluation syllabus
Declare student success that will be known at the end of the course. The
effect is, taking notes on the basis of success or failure will be evaluated.

• The organisational syllabus

Bring assumptions about the natural learning of language in arranging items
in the syllabus which is the need to think about the factors that depend on
one's point of view.

• The materials syllabus

In the writing material, the authors add more assumptions about natural
language, language learning and language use. The author decides the
language context that will emerge, the importance of relationship and skill
integration, the number and types of exercises to be used in several aspects,
the level of repetition or improvement.
• The teacher syllbus
The teacher influences the clarity, intensity, and frequency of some
questions and in this way influences illustration that the student

• The classroom syllabus

The nature of lesson that dynamic, the interactive environment
influences what is taught and what is learned.

• The learner syllabus

The knowledge network that develops in the learner's brain and which
allows students to understand and store their own knowledge.
Why should we have a syllabus ?
• Syllabus can provides a practical basis for the
distribution of assessments, textbooks, and
study time.
• Syllabus also provides moral support to
teachers and students by managing it.
On what criteria can a syllabus be
• Topic Syllabus
Topic-based syllabus is based on topics which are selected from the
students’ specialist studies and the language analyzed based on
appropriate syntax (Jordan, 1997). It is suggested that one objective of
the ESP course may be to teach this specialist content (Robinson,
1991). Ex: health, engine.

• Structural / situational syllabus

The focus of a structural syllabus is on aspects of grammar (e.g., verb,
tenses, sentence patterns, articles, nouns, etc.) and then the gradation
of these aspects for teaching, supposedly from the simple to the
complex, and based on frequency and usefulness of these aspects
(Jordan, 1997, Robinson, 1991).
• Functional / notional syllabus
Jordan (1997) points out, entails conceptual meanings: notions (e.g., time,
space, and quantity) expressed through language (logical relationship) and
the communicative purposes (i.e., functions) for which we use language (e.g.,
greetings, requests, apologies, description, comparisons, cause and effects,
etc.). As this approach focuses on communication, the processes of
communication (e.g., problem-solving, obtaining information, interacting with
people) are often used in the teaching/learning and therefore, it is often
referred to as the communicative approach (Jordan, 1997). Ex: request,

• Skills syllabus
Skill-based syllabus is organized around the different underlying abilities that
are involved in using a language for purposes of such as listening, speaking,
reading, writing, (Thakur, 2013). As Robinson (1991) suggests, a course in
writing business letters, or in oral skills for business people, or in academic
reading can be examples of this syllabus. As Jordan suggests, reading may be
classified into a number of microskills (e.g., skimming, scanning, reading for
information, ideas, opinions, etc. Ex: negotiating, being interviewed,
• Situational syllabus
According to Taghizadeh (201) a situational syllabus is a collection of real or imaginary
situations in which language occurs or is used. The primary purpose of a situational
language teaching syllabus is to teach the language that occurs in the situations such
as in a business setting, seeing the dentist, complaining to the landlord, buying a book
at the book store, meeting a new student, and so on. Ex: situation in the classroom,
post office, front office in a hotel, etc.

• Functional / task-based syllabus

A task-based syllabus is a series of complex and purposeful tasks that the students
want or need to perform with the language they are learning such as applying for a
job, talking with a social worker, getting housing information over the telephone, and
so on (Dincay, 2010)

• Discourse / skills syllabus

Discourse /skills syllabus emphasizes the discourse which are related with the context
of its use.

• Skills and strategies syllabus

Skills and strategies syllabus concerns to the strategies which can be used to teach and
assess students’ competence and comprehension.
What role should a syllabus play in
the course design process?