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Toward a Modified Structural Syllabus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 November 2008

Albert Valdman
Indiana University


This paper argues for an integration of the notion of communicative competence in the elaboration of syllabuses and the preparation of teaching materials for beginning and intermediate general foreign language courses. A distinction is made between such courses and the teaching of English as a medium of wider communication on an international basis. In FL instruction, as opposed to the teaching of a MWC, metalinguistic, epilinguistic, or cultural objectives may be more highly valued than the use of language for daily communication. In addition, the general context of FL instruction precludes the authentic use of the target language in the classroom, a prerequisite for the attainment of communicative competence. The integration of the notion of communive competence in FL instruction, including the inclusion of notions and functions, involves the grafting of these last mentioned considerations onto a structural-situational-functional base. That base would be modified by moving in five directions: (1) adopting a functional orientation, i.e., providing learners with linguistic means to express notions and functions rather than the teaching of structures for their own sake; (2) focus on semantic notions; (3) cyclical progression; (4) aiming for discursive authenticity by identifying rhetorical devices) providing stylistic manoeuver by the recognition of the role of variants.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1982

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