Theme Two:
Types of Language Syllabus
Shen Chen
School of Education
The University of Newcastle
Characteristics of A Syllabus
 Consists of a comprehensive list of
 Content items (words, structure, topics).
 Process items (tasks, methods).
 Is ordered (easier, more essential items first).
 Has explicit objectives (usually expressed in the
 Is a public document.
 May indicate a time schedule.
 May indicate a preferred methodology or approach.
 May recommend materials.
Cambridge University Press 1995
Types of Syllabuses
Lexical (Willis, 1990)
Notional (Wilkins, 1976)
Functional-notional (Van Ek, 1990)
Mixed or “multi-strand”
Procedural (Prabhu, 1987)
Process (Candlin, 1984; Clarke, 1991)
Ur, 1996:178-179
Clarifying the definitions
 Syllabus is often used to refer to the subjectmatter content of a given course or a series of
courses (first, second, third semesters or
 The term curriculum also refers to course
content, but it incorporates goal statements for
different language skills areas (listening,
reading, speaking and writing) and learning
outcomes for a prescribed sequence of
Ramirez, 1995:85
Structural Syllabi
 Grammar-based views of language have
resulted in structural syllabi organized
principally around sentence patterns and
grammatical features.
Ramirez, 1995:85
Communicative-based Syllabi
 Communicative-based syllabi have
organized and sequenced instructional
content around such language functions
as identifying, reporting, requesting and
Ramirez, 1995:85
Proficiency-based Curriculum
 A Proficiency-based curriculum presents
language content in relation to linguistic
levels (novice, intermediate, advanced
and superior levels) according to
language functions, content and
Ramirez, 1995:85
Task-based Curriculum
 A task-based curriculum organized
language content on the basis of learner
activities such as using the telephone,
reading for information, answering
inquiries and following instructions.
Ramirez, 1995:85
Situational-based Syllabi
 Situational-based frameworks sequence
language content around social settings
and the activities associated with these
settings, such as shopping at a
supermarket, eating at a restaurant or
friend’s home and visiting a hospital due
to an emergency.
Ramirez, 1995:85
Tutorial questions:
 What are the advantages and
disadvantages of these different types
of syllabi?
 In designing your own syllabus, what
kind of elements you should take into

An Integrated Model of Learning & Development