Contemporary Paradigms in Syllabus Design Part II
ABSTRACT Michael P. Breen is a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and Modern English Language at the University of Lancaster. He has been a teacher for 28 years in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. He has worked with teachers in over a dozen overseas countries. At Lancaster, he has directed the M.A. in Linguistics for ELT, been Director of the Institute for English Language Education, and currently coordinates the many research students in the department.
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ABSTRACT: Finch, Andrew. (2012). Language teaching and researching: Principled practice or webs of beliefs? Modern English Education, 13(4), 109-133. The topic of student beliefs and perceptions has been the subject of significant research. However, there has been less attention to the important topic of teacher and researcher beliefs, perhaps due to practical and ethical problems involved in researching these beliefs and the efficacy of the language teachers and researchers who hold them. This study therefore attempts to describe the 'webs of beliefs' that determine the thoughts and actions of human beings in general and discusses how teacher-held webs of beliefs can affect the learning environment of their students and how researcher-held beliefs can affect the objectivity of their findings. The relationship between beliefs and actions is not always straightforward however, and the second focus of attention is on the conscious and unconscious gaps between beliefs, teaching theory, and classroom practice which can occur, despite the fact that courses on teaching philosophy, psychology and methodology are standard in teacher training institutions. In conclusion, it is suggested that teachers need to be aware of their own webs of beliefs and the 'dispositions' of their students and that ELT researchers need to clearly state their philosophical standpoint before presenting research findings, so that the reader might be informed of their webs of beliefs and make appropriate conclusions.
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ABSTRACT: This article reports on the process of design and development of two language courses for university students at beginning levels of competence. Following a preliminary experience in a low-tech environment for distance language learning and teaching, and a thorough review of the available literature, we identified two major challenges that would need to be addressed in our design: (1) a necessity to build sufficient flexibility into the materials to cater to a variety of learners' styles, interests and skill levels, therefore sustaining learners' motivation; and (2) a need to design materials that would present the necessary requisites of authenticity and interactivity identified in the examined literature, in spite of the reduced opportunities for face-to-face communication. In response to these considerations, we designed and developed learning materials and tasks to be distributed on CD-ROM, complemented by a WebCT component for added interactivity and task authenticity. Although only part of the original design was implemented, and further research is needed to assess the impact of our environment on learning outcomes, the results of preliminary evaluations are encouraging.Language, Learning and Technology 09/2003; · 1.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The present study evaluates the language improvement courses in the undergraduate curriculum of the Department of English Language Teaching (ELT) at Eastern Mediterranean University. The language improvement courses are: Oral Communication Skills I and II, Reading Skills I, II, and Advanced Reading Skills, Writing Skills I, II and Advanced Writing Skills, and English Grammar I and II. In this evaluation study, the adapted version of Bellon and Handlers (1982) curriculum evaluation model was employed. The participants of the study were six instructors teaching the language improvement courses and students enrolled in these courses. The data, both qualitative and quantitative, were collected through course evaluation questionnaires for students, interviews with students and teachers, classroom observations, and examination of relevant written documents such as course policy sheets, course materials, and assessment tools used in the courses. The results of the study show that generally the language improvement courses were effective in terms of five aspects specified in the evaluation model employed in the study, as perceived by the students and the instructors. However, the students and the instructors suggested making some changes to the existing language improvement courses to make them more effective and better adjusted to the students needs and expectations. Some important conclusions drawn and recommendations made were: Practice (i.e. practice and production) component in the language improvement courses should be enhanced, a wider variety of authentic materials should be used in the courses, various methods and activities should be utilized in teaching-learning process, and intra-subject and inter-subject relationships (i.e. continuity and coherence) between or among the courses need to be strengthened.