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Syllabus Design syl?la?bus (s l -b s) n. pl.
syl'la'bus (s l -b s) n. pl. syl'la'bus'es or syl'la'bi (-b ) 1. An outline or a summary of the main points of a text, lecture, or course of study. 2. Law A short statement preceding a report on an adjudged case and containing a summary of the court´s rulings on each point involved.________________________________________ [Medieval Latin, probably alteration (influenced by Greek sullambanein, to put together) of Latin sillybus, parchment label, from Greek sillubos.]
A syllabus is a form of a contract, not a contract that binds the students to the teacher that they are required to sign and so solemnly swear to, 'that they (the student) will be proficient in the topic once the course is complete;' but rather a contract beholding the teacher to the students to teach everything that is stated in the syllabus.
A syllabus should be designed to enhance a student's ability to learn the course they are taking. It should entail information about the name of the course, the location and time the course is offered, the name of the teacher with telephone numbers and times that they can be contacted at; as well the office location and hours that the teacher is available for tutoring or assistance. By listing the aforementioned, a student will always know when, where, and how to contact the teacher to request their assistance or notify them of their absence.
The syllabus should also list and outline the course scheduled topics to be covered as well as the format and structure that it will be taught in. By breaking down each topic and listing the day the topic will be discussed and the materials and equipment, i.e. short stories, newspaper articles, tape recorders etc'that will be used, it will convey to the student many things. The foremost important is that 'Yes! The teacher is organized and we will be learning,' even if the students have difficulty in reading and understanding what you have written it will show that you do care and are concerned in their growth and understanding of the English language and are committed to their success.
Another advantage to the students is that a syllabus can allow them to prepare for a class; by knowing what will be discussed and or the materials being used, they can pre-read or review their workbooks and feel more confident about the topic that they will be learning next. It also is a reference and reminder of what they have covered.
Some syllabus' accompany the Teachers course book others are pre-set and created by the school or language center they are working for; either way the more information that is supplied the less anxiety the students will experience. Knowing what is in store for them and what is expected will allow them to focus on learning.
A well-designed syllabus will also state when quizzes will be held and on what topics they will be tested on, as well the grading system that will be used. A note at the bottom should be included to address the fact that the course schedule is subject to change based upon the needs of the students. This will allow flexibility if a teacher runs out of time when teaching a new subject or if students feel they require more in-depth explanation and practice on one, or many topics. A syllabus can also convey, and outline the teachers' and the schools academic policies.
In my opinion, a syllabus is as important as a lesson plan; it can be compared to a road map; it shows me where I am, where I'm going, and what I will be learning and doing along the way.
'A Syllabus. To design' Or not to design' It should never be a question.'
Sources The Free Dictionary, By Farlex http://www.thefreedictionary.com/syllabus
University of Minnesota, Center for Teaching and Learning, Syllabus Tutorial, revised 2004 http://www.byu.edu/fc/pages/tchlrnpages/designing a course syllabus.pdf