Language curriculum design.

EFL Teaching Philosophy Approaches
in Higher Education Institutions
Zhanat Tanekenova
In the field of language teaching methodology in higher education institutions
besides behavioristic approach for the initial stage of English as a foreign language
learning, humanistic and progressive approaches are also the most significant
principles in the teaching process. With their purposes of education to develop all the
potentials of learners as a whole and their essential methods for achieving this by means
of providing a good human relationship between the teacher and the student (115). In
the other words some of the basic humanistic and behavioristic principles in higher
education institutions related and originated in progressive thought about needs and
interests, the scientific method, problem-solving techniques, the centrality of
experience, pragmatic and utilitarian goals, and the idea of social responsibility (51).
Adult education should be theorized and actually practiced, it should be widely
pragmatic, utilitarian, thus it is should be progressive. One of the major meanings of
progressive education is to expand the concept of education with behavioristic
principles, which emphasizes the acquisition of job skills so that a person can "survive"
in our society as earning how to learn is also an important skill needed if one is to adapt
successfully to a changing environment.
Traditionally the aims of education are cognitive development through a study of
defined academic disciplines. However, EFL teaching in higher education institutions
should be expanded to include what sociologists call socialization. It is thus not limited
to language focused teaching only, but includes all those subsidiary activities and
activities related with main goal that society uses to pass on skills, knowledge,
attitudes, and values. EFL teaching in higher education institutions in this view
becomes exhaustive. It needs to be reconceived as a continuous growth of the different
kinds of language skills, as a continuous enlightenment of life after high school and
should not stop after juvenescence. The school gives young people only initial
knowledge as a means to an end of training and receiving experience. Actually existing
as occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed language skills come after they leave
school and there is no reason why it should stop before death. Thus EFL teaching in
higher institutions provides opportunities for lifelong learning, allowing people to
upgrade the knowledge and skills all over the world’s ones. EFL teaching need to
reconstruct and reorganize experience activities that increase students’ ability in order
to direct the course of subsequent experience. Language experience should have both
an active and a passive component. It is not that learner has known the grammar rules
only but also he/she should experience activities about this grammar in order to acquire
ability to communicate not just in every day English but also to do well in vocational
and professional purposes. It is, more precisely, the interaction of the individual and
his/her environment. EFL competence needs to be raised among students’ higher
education graduates, in terms of KZ programs aimed at providing language ability in
Russian, English and Kazakh. Consequently, the curriculum of EFL teaching in higher
education institutions should be included interface with a vocational, practical
activities and vocationally oriented consequence. As a result, EFL teaching should
value the experience-centeredness, which related to progressivism in education.
Knowles (1970) has contended that the quality and quantity of personal experiences of
adults provide a rich learning resource that can contribute to a more experienced
approach to education. (63) It means that within progressive philosophical approach in
EFL teaching learners should learn vocational English course thus in Technical
University students must learn Technical English Course, in Business University
students must learn Business English Course in order to keep on training their main
professional skills in higher education and combine business with pleasure. Thus, it is
inclined to be hopeful about the growth of human potentialities in the suitable
environmental situations. For this reason, the person could achieve a more satisfying
life, through experimental thinking and scientific method. In contemporary
methodology of EFL teaching both methods should be utilized the theoretical with the
practical level simultaneously. At the theoretical level needs to integrate unity between
method and subject matter. How English will be taught is closely depends on why we
teach and what we teach. EFL teaching should lay more stress on the individual teacher
develop his/her own method of teaching suitable for the taught group.
In the field of EFL teaching methodology in higher education institutions a
noticeable method of teaching come from progressive and humanistic educators is a
making progress at knowledge through a scientific method that included the activity
method, the problem-solving method and the project method. The scientific method
firstly presents the identifying and defining more precisely a challenge that needs to be
solved, secondly the development of thoughts or assumptions about this challenge, and
finally the proofing of these assumptions by a research of experimental evidence. This
method used in the most subject areas and that it is based on the natural disposition of
students to try hard to solve the problems. This empirical method is an effort to find
out truths about the world where one lives. As for me as an educator, the scientific
method means the most effective approach in learning process as it gives the integral
motivation and meaningful attitude to the learning process. After having clarified the
problem with designed curriculum related to the useless of work since designed one (it
is only subject-centered), I was involved in resolving this problem. Thus, I was
interested in ideas and hypothesis about this problem, which in turn stimulate me to
study the Contemporary Methodology of EFL Teaching and EFL Curriculum Design
courses. The results of the work show that another curriculum in terms of more
humanistic (student-centered), progressive (experience-centered) and less
behavioristic (each educational program should have clearly defined purposes, in order
to change behavior) approaches will be more useful and effective. It leaves no doubt
that testing of assumptions by an examination of experimental testimony results in a
rich return for teaching and learning efforts, thus new curriculum is expected to be
pragmatic. It is essential to point out that students need to feel they are accepted and
respected, because students in higher institutions are self-directed and they can
determine their own educational needs themselves. It follows that classroom climate
should be informal and cooperative. Such an approach to EFL teaching involves caring
for students. It is less about controlling as compliance does not create passion and does
not make the student wiser. Controlling does not lead to creativity and flexibility. It
does not breed to great advantages. Under the progressive's view, EFL learning in the
field of higher education is firstly the process within what the learners do for
themselves. The educator’s duty is to provoke, to set up, assess and analyze the process
of learning that is the highly complicated one. The educator promotes an appropriate
classroom activities are more relevant to learning. For non-linguistic students it should
be vocational-educational activities requiring students’ fluent English covering the
core language and skills that students need to communicate successfully in all technical
and industrial specialisations. The role of educator is a useful resource for students,
educator is a builder of community and condition in which students can discover the
meaning of their experience and activities, where they can find meaning in English
learning and can bring their spirits to the learning process. They need to listen for
students, ask them, watch and think what they teach and how, in terms of selection
different kinds of materials and techniques and strategies in other words teachers
should do conduct needs analysis.
Precisely, within progressive and humanistic philosophical approaches educators in
higher education institutions must look carefully and thoroughly at students especially
so, as to appraise their needs and proficiency levels as well as their capacities.
Simultaneously they must organize conditions that ensure the fulfilment of the English
matter is included providing students with content for experiences, which satisfy
identified needs and develop the capacities. This means particular attention in EFL
teaching should be paid to curriculum design. The designed syllabus must be flexible
enough to allow the learners free and easy play for personality of experience and yet
strict too in order to make learners follow the continuous development of energy.
Syllabus should be started with the student-centered idea. It follows, encouraging the
development of positive attitudes toward language learning, through raising motivation
and reducing a feeling of worry, nervousness or confusion about feedback as well as
trough supporting different learning styles to give students support, hope and selfconfidence for firmness in the difficult and confusing process of learning another
language. By this we imply that curriculum should be fixed to the state of affairs that
include the current life outside of university, its subject specialists and the learners
themselves with their needs to solve their vocational problems in terms of receiving
education about precise the special subject. It means that problem must not be solved
in the future, but right at the moment of learning. It is at this point that we can say that
education is meaningful, which means that it is successful and effective in return. As a
matter of fact, education which organized without the meaningful intent with focus just
on learning of language itself results in a poor return of learning and teaching efforts.
As for some institutions, it’s not caring enough about interests, problems and purposes
of learners. It is really had better to emphasis in education, upon conducting needs,
assessments for curriculum design, and instructional purposes in order to give
expression to this basic progressive orientation and to settle the atmosphere covered by
independent learning among adults that is based upon the progressive and humanist
assumption where a person is "a self-directing organism with initiative, intentions,
choices, energy and responsibility" (Tough, 1971, 65). In so doing, the educator in turn
becomes a learner, for the relationship between educator and learners is mutual, as
he/she begins to acquire knowledge like students as well as about technical terms and
the latest developments in technology by means of EFL teaching. It has direct impact
on both of them educator and learner so that they should plan and learn from each other.
This illustrates importance of the educator’s listening for students. For carrying out
listening for students, it is necessary for educators to gather feedbacks in as many ways
as possible from the students. The main point of this that teachers should not begin by
means of their own knowledge or expertise. They should begin by means of the
questions that will help identify learners’ needs, before they try to meet their needs:
What do I really know about needs of my students? How do I ask them about it, and
how often? Am I open to hearing things even I do not want to hear? Teacher will thrive
because of listening and making sure that what syllabus offers is what students really
need. “The poor content is chosen then the excellent teaching and learning result in a
poor return for learning efforts.” (Nation, I. S. P. & Macalister ,70)
In addition, it is not the main idea of the educator to benefit from the interests which
already existed or aren’t at all in the learner about EFL learning, but also to awake the
feeling of wanting to know or learn about those things which are educationally
necessary. It is obviously that EFL teaching should be involved in compliance both
content and methods but a very strict approach to teaching makes useless education. It
is in this perspective that we need to interpret within the humanistic approach
classroom activities. Therefore, they should occupy an integral part of instructional
practices with special care that has to be taken in their construction by teachers. For
these activities Moskovitz (1978, cited in Johnson & Johnson, 1998) enumerates some
classroom settings:
-lowing risk - it means that students are always sure they are supported by teacher
and in any case they can receive an encouragement, in other words non-personally
threatening activities, should be used by teacher especially in the very low rating, so
students are considered to receive their passing mark (50) in the English discipline by
means of flexibility the designed curriculum that allow them to receive their passing
-the next classroom setting is intensifying the positive and avoiding the negative
focus. It is really, bad idea to lay stress upon students’ failure or the gaps in education.
It had better make up for a deficiency in a delicate and tactful way and offer a reward
for some information about feedback. Projecting a positive mood by educator helps
produce enthusiasm and cooperation among students, which in turn produce success
for them;
-the other classroom settings are a giving students the opportunity to verbalize
before others something they like about themselves. This agency makes them to be
open and reduce anxiety allowing them to be more progressive in EFL learning. Jointly
with giving them the linguistically opportunity to practice the language for expressing
and the vocabulary by means of constructed in a special way activities. Thus, classroom
activities encourage students to really look at their peers and focus on seeing the beauty
of others, accepting themselves with being aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
Learners have assurance they can perform at a high level. Building on the strengths
and accepting their weaknesses, they are ready to build the strength and accept the
weakness. It follows that learners become less likely to judge and more likely to
encourage each other. In these classes, teachers are not the controllers but the actual
facilitators. As cited in Wang (2005), within humanistic classrooms, the students’
multiple perspectives are valued and their errors admitted. Some of the cooperative
activities, such as pair-work or group-work are good examples for this point and must
be applied in EFL teaching, since in such activities, the students can best communicate
their thoughts and the feeling of worry is much less.
As a result stressing education's role in promoting public education experienced
by behaviorists, humanists and progressives. There are some programs of
contemporary higher institutions assert the influence humanistic, behavioristic and
progressive philosophy. Some values of humanism like believing in the goodness and
potentiality of each student; developing students’ self-actualization; believing in their
self-government with placing the individual at the center of education will be followed
corresponding closely to the social and cultural values of contemporary Kazakhstan,
which can direct society toward good morality. As a result, educational programs of
higher institutions should be student-centered on the needs and interests of the learners
and derived from a Behavioristic, Humanistic and Progressive Philosophy. EFL
teaching in Higher Education Institutions dedicated to the development of human
beings. Progressives consider that the role of education is not just to graduate people
for fitting into the existing society, but also to prepare individuals who would be interested in the process of getting the higher degree of proficiency level. Followers of these
approaches have confidence in the future where fostering creativity and stability, as
well as individuality and social consciousness, as the more graduated persons in
society, the better society is.
1 Elias, J. L., & Merriam, S. B. (2005). Philosophical foundations of adult education
(3rd ed.). Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishers
2 Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Understanding language teaching: from method to
postmethod. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
3 Nation, I. S. P. & Macalister, J. (2010). Language curriculum design. New York,
NY: Routlege
4 W. Tyler. The Journal of Educational Research, 879, 68-75.
5 Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Volume 4, Number 1, January 2013,
ISSN 1798-4769. Humanistic Education: Concerns, Implications and Applications
Mohammad Khatib, Saeid Najafi Sarem, and Hadi Hamidi