Language curriculum design

Possibilities and realities

Authored by: Kathleen Graves

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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This chapter examines language curriculum design from two perspectives: the possible content of the curriculum, i.e. decisions about what students will learn, how they will learn and why, and the planning processes that guide these decisions. Curriculum content in language teaching is often described in terms of different kinds of syllabuses (e.g. notional/functional, task-based and so forth; see, for example, Thornbury, and Van den Branden, this volume). This chapter takes a different approach by describing three historical, overlapping waves of curriculum content that have their basis in different understandings of language and how and why people learn a language. Curriculum content must also be appropriate for the context in which it is enacted, hence the importance of having integrated planning processes. If the processes do not align, the curriculum may not be effective in its intended context.

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