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S.S. - Oman said:
Syllabus designThe reason I choose this particular topic for my essay is because I found myself in a lot of peculiar and embarrassing situation when teaching or as a parent, because of the syllabus of different subjects, not only english. Several times I had the feeling that those who are in charge of planning a syllabus are neither teachers nor parents, in an ultimate goal. With me it happened as a parent with my two kids, now 14 and 18, in english subject (material taught in Romania and here in Oman), and as a teacher in science subjects. Kids around 7-8 years old have to cope with texts above their power of understanding, in english or Science, or teenagers at 14-16 need to read supplementary reading which has no meaning for them since the plot is also beyond their power of understanding. I strongly believe that the main goal of a syllabus is to help the teachers and the students, to develop critical thinking skills, assignments, discussions and interactions, to set up clearly learning objectives, which to be observable and measurable. Just recently I learned about the six learning goals which have to present in a syllabus, goals which are of common sense, but which are really missing from a lot of syllabuses. Knowing the basics of how to put together a syllabus for a course of study or series of textbooks is an essential teaching skill and can have a profound effect on how well material is applied in the classroom, so I think active teacher should be implied in the process of planning a syllabus. Generally speaking, a syllabus need not be a complicated affair, but should aim at ensuring that material is organized into manageable 'parts' while at the same time catering for opportunities to review, apply projects and reading and facilitate time to apply assessment/tests. All too often, many teachers' and/or schools - systems' idea of a 'syllabus' is to calculate the amount of pages in the book and then divide that by the number of teaching days in a session. The result accounts for the amount of pages that need to be covered in one lesson, and the school has a simple plan to make sure that textbooks are completed in a timely fashion. Perhaps this could be called a syllabus in some contexts, but it is really missing some important factors that could make applying the textbooks both more enjoyable and more effective. In organizing a syllabus, teachers and/or administrators really should be asking themselves some important questions. Which parts of the textbook material are worthy or in need of more attention (and therefore time) than others? How can an organization of the material create both a rhythm and a routine that can apply to any given week and/or any given session of study? Does the syllabus allow sufficient time to engage in more production-based activities, such as projects and task-based learning? (applicable to science subject, but not only) If we are to test the students on this material, how can we ensure that the syllabus provides days for pre-test revision and preparation as well as post-test review and reflect? Is the syllabus organized in such a way that a new teacher (or indeed, a student's parent) could glance at it and get a quick overview of what is going to form the focus of any given lesson as well as what was studied over the course of a week or a month? How can we be sure that a relief teacher could walk into our classroom and know what to do with the class and how (based on the sorts of language areas and activities the students have already covered)? In answering these sorts of questions and then sitting down to the task of organizing our material, the challenging nature of syllabus design becomes much more apparent. In fact, syllabus design session planning and daily lesson planning are fundamental aspects of basic language program design and implementation - and all teachers can and should benefit from knowing how to engage in these activities. The day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month syllabuses might be organized in a clear fashion that could guide teachers in understanding what they need to focus on each day, within the broader context of what is being covered in a week and the month in general. So, I consider that in the process of designing a syllabus active teachers / parents / and even emeritus students should be involved, of course following some prewritten rules to get something more appropriate and close to our nowadays reality and the minds of our new generations .