The Criteria Used for Selecting and Sequencing the Grammatical Items in the Third Intermediate English Textbook in Saudi Arabia

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The Criteria used for selecting and sequencing the grammatical items in the Third Intermediate English Textbook in Saudi Arabia BY

Mohammed S. Alkhamali M.Ed TESOL student Collage of Education King Saud University Riyadh


This paper tries to answer the question ‘ with reference to a syllabus or a textbook you are familiar with, identify and discuss critically the criteria which appear to have been used in selecting and sequencing its content.' To answer this question we have to - Define some terminologies that related to the topic. - Explore the types of syllabuses that may be used in designing the examined textbook. - Discus the criteria of selecting and sequencing structures. - Take a look on the examined textbook and analyze its grammatical content.

Definition of Terminologies
-Syllabus: According to Brumfit ( quoted in White, 1988: 3) ' a syllabus is the specification of the work of a particular department in a school or college, organised in subsections defining the work of a particular group or class; it is linked to time, and will specify a starting point and ultimate goal.' In the same reference he distinguishes two types of sequencing. The first deals with the theory of language learning or to the structure of specified material related to language acquisition. The other relates to administrative needs e.g. materials.


-Selecting: according to Webster dictionary it is " exclusively or fastidiously chosen often with regard to social, economic, or cultural characteristics." -Sequencing: is the order of contents in syllabus according to difficulty, frequency, or needs of learners (Nunan cited in Shafieyan, M. 2011). -Product-based syllabuses: in these types the main concern is on WHAT is learnt. They deal with the outcome as the goal of learning. Productbased syllabuses include structural, situational, functional and notional syllabuses. - Process-based syllabuses: they concern with HOW the knowledge is learnt. These syllabuses deal with the experience of learning rather than the outcome of learning. Syllabuses under this type are task-based, skillbased and content-based syllabuses. - Notional/Function syllabus: as in Wikipedia it is " is a way of organizing a language-learning curriculum, rather than a method or an approach to teaching. In a notional-functional syllabus, instruction is not organized in terms of grammatical structure but instead in terms of notions and functions." According to Widdowson & Yalden, (cited in Shah, T. H., 2007: 96) The Functional-Notional Syllabus - meaning and communicative capacity is the cornerstone of language learning, e.g. the ability to apologize, or to request etc. Van Ek & Alexander, (1975) Functions correspond to language functions, such as apologizing or complaining . Notions can be either general, abstract concepts such as space, time, quantity, and quality, or specific concepts, which are usually referred to as "contexts" or "situations."


(e.g. ‘personal identity’ is a specific notion which includes information such as name, address, phone number, and other personal information).

Syllabi Types
White (1988: 44) suggested two types of syllabi as Type A and Type B. Type A is answering the question WHAT is to be learnt? On the other hand type B is answering the question HOW is it to be learnt? In other words, Type A concerns with the final production of learning while Type B deals with the processes that the knowledge is delivered through. The criteria of these types can be seen in table1. Type A 1-Interventionist 2-External to the learner 3-Other directed 4-Determined by authority 5-Teacher as decision-maker Type B Internal to the learner Inner directed or self fulfilling Negotiated between learners and Teachers Learner and teacher as joint decision Makers Content = what the subject is to the Learner Content = what the learner brings and wants Objectives described afterwards Process emphasis Assessment in relationship to...
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