DESIGNING THE DISCOURSE SYLLABUS 5
DESIGNINGTHE DISCOURSE SYLLABUS
of Article Arguments
Indesigning language teaching syllabus, communicative competence is animportant aspect of English language syllabus in teaching methodologyand goals to be achieved by learners. Grammatical and lexicalknowledge are part of effective competences in learning and teachinglanguage which enables the learners develop set of languagecompetencies in using language effectively. As such Linguisticcompetence is a condition for communicative ability which promotesdevelopment in language system and use. In proportional syllabus,proportions of system oriented knowledge are altered in favor ofcommunication skills as learners’ progresses from the beginners’level while in lexical syllabus knowledge of the system is integratedwith knowledge of words used(McCarthy & Carter 1994).
However,question arises for language teachers on discourse competence and setof syllabus goals based on discourse level constraints operatingsimultaneously with lexical grammar. In this respect, diversionoccurs in syllabus designing by linguistics moving away from the ideaof competence to communicative competence in which subdivisions suchas strategic and social linguistic competences are added. This bringsthe problem of separating these aspects of linguistics linguisticcompetence can not be separated from discourse competence. Therefore,how syllabus designers analyze and classify language affects theteachers’ methodology while teaching. Syllabus writers argue thatanalysis and classification of language is feasible for syllabusspecification into various components. Syllabus is a discourseprocess rather than a product and should be oriented towardsstrategic issues in the discourse. Therefore, language syllabus needsto adopt genre related strategies, coherence related strategies,politeness strategies, planning strategies, convergence strategiesand repair strategies(Clarke, 1991).
Ibelieve that syllabus design for language teaching takes more thanwillingness and awareness in designing efficient language syllabus.This discourse process needs to involve task designers, materialadapters and dialogue writers in covering all aspects of teachinglanguage in classrooms. I think this is only possible if syllabusdesigners view language as a discourse in its grammatical and lexicalpoint. As Clarke,1991, observes that, languagesyllabus should have discourse competence which is applied ascommunicative competence by teachers in achieving the syllabus goalsI realize that the syllabus should be concerned about grammar andvocabulary besides achieving the communication abilities among thelearners. As such it will enhance learners develop set of languagecompetences necessary for language efficiency communicative abilityis hollow without grammatical and lexical competences(Clarke, 1991).
Inthis respect, I think that linguistic competence is not sufficientwithout language system and language use. However, I believe that forlanguage beginners the proportional syllabus is essential in whichcommunication oriented skills are imparted through lexical syllabusintegrating language knowledge and language use.Clarke, 1991, is of view that unlikethe proponents of monolithic concept of communicative competence, atrue discourse syllabus encompasses all aspects of language masteryand as such discourse competence can not be separated from linguisticcompetence. Iam therefore inclined to think thatlanguageclassification and analysis is paramount in designing a syllabus thatallows for efficient teaching methodology and learning among thelearners. I believe that rather than dividing the syllabus indiscourse subdivision, syllabus specifications are important aspectthat not only improves language teaching but improving languagesystem features. This helps to improve on syllabus components whichin turn eliminate ambiguity in teaching and learning language(McCarthy& Carter 1994.
Iagree with Clarke, 1991,that a discourse syllabus must be integrative it should incorporatecommunicative and language system in realizing the value oflinguistic elements. This is important in designing language syllabusthat is effective and provides interactive discourse. I believe thatthis is what analyst means by a negotiated syllabus between learnersand the teachers which present a predictable and workable syllabuswhile teaching and specifying learner’s tasks unlike a rigiddiscourse syllabus. In this aspect, the syllabus enhances moreinteraction and becomes a process rather than a complete product. Ithink, a pre syllabus is essential in sieving the needs of learnersunlike when using a detailed discourse syllabus which can notguarantee specific tasks for learners. I tend to think that,strategic features should be included in the discourse syllabus tobridge informational gaps and ensure effective convergence oflanguage teaching and learning method(Clarke, 1991).
Inorder to design an effective discourse syllabus for teachinglanguage, designers need awareness and willingness to review allaspects that encompass language teaching and learning. This meansincorporating the views of teachers, teaching material developers,syllabus designers and focusing on the language as a discourse.
Clarke,D. F. 1991 `Thenegotiated syllabus: what is it and how is it likely to work?`Applied
Linguistics12 (1): 13 28
McCarthyMichael & Carter Ronald, 1994, ‘Designingthe discourse syllabus’ London: Longman, p 1-9