Curriculum Approach in Language Teaching

The language curriculum is based on the belief that literacy is critical to responsible and productive citizenship, and that all students can become literate. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills that they need to achieve this goal. It aims to help students become successful language learners, who share the following characteristics. Successful language learners:
  • understand that language learning is a necessary, life-enhancing, reflective process;
  • communicate – that is, read, listen, view, speak, write, and represent – effectively and with confidence;
  • make meaningful connections between themselves, what they encounter in texts, and the world around them;
  • think critically;
  • understand that all texts advance a particular point of view that must be recognized, questioned, assessed, and evaluated;
  • appreciate the cultural impact and aesthetic power of texts;
  • use language to interact and connect with individuals and communities, for personal growth, and for active participation as world citizens.

Four fundamental questions that must be answered in developing any curriculum and plan of instruction (Tyler, 1950):

  1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
  2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
  3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
  4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?
Reduced to a simpler model:
Aims and objectives > Content > Organization > Evaluation
Tyler’s model or variations of it soon penetrated wide areas of educational thought and practice and curriculum and training manuals were son full of models such as the following (Inglis 1975):
  1. Need>Aims>Objectives
  2. Plan>Strategies>Tactics
  3. Implementation>Methods>Techniques
  4. Review>Evaluation>Consolidation
Nicholls and Nicholls (1972), for example, describe curriculum development as involving four stages;
  1. The careful examination, drawing on all available sources of knowledge and informed judgment, of the objectives of teaching, whether in particular subject courses or over the curriculum as a whole.
  2. The development and trial use in schools of those methods and materials which are judged most likely to achieve the objectives which teachers agreed upon.
  3. The assessment of the extent to which the development work has in fact achieved its objectives. This part of the process may be expected to provoke new thought about the objectives themselves.
  4. The final element is therefore feedback of all the experience gained, to provide a starting point for further study.
Stages, decision-making roles and products in curriculum development (from Johnson 1989)
Development stages
Decision-making roles
1. curriculum planning
policy document
2. specification: ends and means
needs analyst
3. program
materials writers
teaching materials
teacher trainers
4. classroom implementation
teaching acts
learning acts