Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 11 : 5 May 2011
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.





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Experimenting with the Concept of 'Negotiating Syllabus'
in the ELT Classrooms

Melissa Helen, M. A., Ph. D., PGDTE


Most of the ELT is done as per the prescribed syllabus/curriculum. It is very rare for English Language Teachers to find themselves in a situation where a rubric is given instead of a prescribed textbook. But the developments in CLT have given rise to a radical syllabus known as 'process' or 'negotiated syllabus'.

This paper is based on one such classroom where I found myself without a textbook or any suggested reading. While it posed challenges in terms of choosing suitable texts, it also gave me the liberty that I had always longed for - the liberty of designing my course, selecting the appropriate material, and designing tasks based upon the needs of my students. However, the paper also observes the dangers of such a syllabus.

The Rubric

In the language teaching profession, there is a danger that people may often overlook one of its essential characteristics namely, that language is in itself dynamic, infinite and ever-changing. Therefore the best language teachers are generally dynamic themselves, in terms of the way they develop, add-to the prescribed curriculum and experiment with their teaching methodology.

The focus of my paper is on how the rubric may be exploited effectively in the Indian Universities wherein the element of heterogeneity of the students is wide and varied in many aspects. In view of this situation, in some universities, instead of a syllabus, a rubric is given to the faculty.

Syllabus and the Types of Syllabus

Two important questions that need to be addressed at the outset are what is a syllabus and the types of syllabus. There are many challenges to a proper definition of the term syllabus. In its simplest form, a syllabus means a list of the topics, books, etc. that students should study in a particular class, school, college, university or a course. A look at the essential characteristics of a syllabus would help in a better understanding of the term syllabus. It is a document that contains not only a list of the topics but the items that are ordered/ graded. It has explicit objectives usually expressed in the introduction. A syllabus is also considered a public document and it indicates a time schedule, hours allotted to topics, suggested/ preferred methodology and recommended materials (Ur, 176-177).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Melissa Helen, M. A., Ph. D., PGDTE
Department of English
GITAM University
Hyderabad Campus
Rudraram 502329
Medak District
Andhra Pradesh

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