A major difficulty in syllabus design is the fact that learning a language can not be explained as learning single unit of any kind, be they notions, functions, structures, or lexis. It is some combination of all these together, along with the earlier experience that the learners brings to the task which accounts for language learning. ESL/ EFL learners already posses a solid knowledge of notions, functions, & lexis which underlie their first language. What seems important to teach, therefore as Refers (1980) points out are the inter lingual contrast between the notions in L1 & the target language.
The idea of gender, for example, possibly understood both by a speaker of English as well as a speaker of French, yet the way gender is used in these language is so different that learners from both backgrounds have difficulties adjusting to the technique used in another language. The information about how the new language works is significant & can not be taken lightly in designing the coursework. This is true even if the scholars final aim for the coursework of study is not ideal accuracy in the new language but only interpretive ability.
Similarly, the what time is marked in a language by the tense process perhaps different o cause difficulty for the learner. In English, for example, there is a basic, comprehensive distinction between action & even viewed internally as having a beginning, middle, & finish (durative or progressive), & events or actions perceived in their totality (non progressive). Speakers of another language who understand the basic notion of time & period will have difficulty with the English aspect process if their language does not make significant, marked distinction between durative & non-durative. Here, again, this distinction relates not only to expressing self in language but also to interpreting language to produce by others. As refers (1980:53) claims much more attention ought to be paid in classroom teaching to the comprehensive & through assimilation of these essential conceptual differences between language so that students are learning to operate within the total language process, than picking up minor skills in its application.
The state of the art appears to be such that there is an immediate necessity find new ways of teaching form & use together (Eskey 1983). Coursework designers require to the following:
- Present linguistic form systematically to enable learners to express the basic notions of language. Furthermore, special emphasis needs to be placed on Interlingua differences relating to the realization of notions.
- Use communicative context to permit learners to interact within a variety of communicative language function. Here again, emphasis must be placed on socialcultural language specific features in order to produced utterances which are appreciate to the cultural setting among the lots of feasible choice available for expressing functions material must start with those which are highly frequent in native speech & only gradually expanded to include the less frequent two times (Canale & Swain 1980)
- Use a variety of text types both in the oral & written form in order to create communicative proficiency in all language skills, unless a specific calls for emphasis on or language skills than on all.