Instructional Model for E

Topics: Design, Teaching English as a foreign language, Language education Pages: 12 (3692 words) Published: August 22, 2013

A Classroom Model for Designing an ESL Course

Ayami Gunasinghe

University of South Alabama

A Classroom Model for Designing an ESL Course

The demand for English-as-a-second-language (ESL) courses has increased tremendously in recent years. This may be due to many reasons including the pervasive influences of globalization and the Internet revolution, and the general attitude change towards the English language as a whole. In former colonial nations such as Sri Lanka, English is no longer viewed as a tool of colonial oppression. Instead, English is vastly perceived by non-native speakers as a non-threatening, utilitarian language that would be of tremendous advantage to them. In the present context, English departments in countries such as Sri Lanka have been overwhelmed by the huge demand for ESL courses and Extension courses in English. The pressure to meet this demand has led to ESL courses being hastily churned out in great quantity but at the expense of quality. Many of these courses are often poorly designed, generic language courses that lack structure and purpose. They often include outdated content and strategies, and pay little or no attention to specific curriculum goals and learner needs. For this reason, I believe that ESL courses must be designed using a systematic approach that is focused on achieving particular communicative and language goals that meet the needs of the learner. The ESL Course Design model was created to facilitate this task. This model has been inspired primarily by the Kemp, Morrison and Ross Model (as cited in Gustafson & Branch, 1997), which focuses on curriculum planning. It has, however, also been influenced by other classroom-oriented models such as the Gerlach and Ely model (as cited in Gustafson & Branch, 1997)) that emphasizes the specification of content and objectives and the Foresee model (Kid & Marquardson, 1994) that adopts a content-based approach to ESL instruction. Like the latter model, this model also takes note of practical and theoretical considerations involved in course design. However, while the Foresee model emphasizes the need for sound theoretical basis for content design, the ESL Course Design model focuses on the need for designers to consider research findings and established principles of language teaching with regard to every aspect of the language course design process. In addition, the ESL Course Design model is focused on the design process of a curriculum whereas the Foresee model (Kid & Marqurdson, 1994) by contrast, is devoted to integrating content, language and learning strategies instruction in the ESL classroom. The ESL Course Design model advocates a systematic approach to language course design. This does not however mean that this model adopts a linear, lock-step approach. This is essentially a non-linear model that has been created to help language teachers in the design of an effective ESL curriculum.

An Overview of the ESL Course Design Model

The Three Outer Circles: Needs, Resources & Delivery and Research

The ESL Course Design model’s three outer circles are linked to the inner circle via two-way arrows, which indicate that the components of this model are mutually supportive rather than separate and isolated. See figure 1. These three outer circles (Needs, Resources and Delivery, and Research) represent practical and theoretical considerations that will guide the designer during the course design process. A thorough needs analysis of learner needs will result in realistic goals being set and purposeful content being developed, in accordance with the learner’s language learning goals and proficiency level. A focus on available resources and feasible delivery systems will...

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Gustafson, K., & Branch, R. (Ed.). (1997). Survey of instructional development models
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Kidd, R., & Marquardson, B. (1994, March). The Foresee approach. Paper presented at the
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Valdez, M. (1999). How learners’ needs affect syllabus design. Forum, 37(1), 30-34.
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