View context for this page View table of contents for this book View table of contents for LinguaLinksLibrary Go to LinguaLinks home page

How to develop a situational-topical syllabus



A situational-topical syllabus is based on the communication situations you need to operate in and the topics you need to discuss. It is similar to a functional-notional syllabus in that it will usually contain communication functions and notions, but in this syllabus the choice of functions and notions depends on the situational or topical context.


The benefits of a situational-topical context are as follows:

  • It provides for concrete contexts within which to learn notions, functions, and structures, thus making it easier for most learners to envisage
  • It may motivate learners to see that they are learning to meet their most pressing everyday communication needs.

The potential disadvantage of the situational-topical syllabus is that functions and notions may be learned in the context of only one situation, whereas they may be expressed in a variety of situations. Also, although some situations have a predictable script, unforeseen things can happen in any situation, requiring a change of script or topic.

  Follow these steps to develop a situational-topical syllabus:
  1. Make a list of the communication situations you want to be able to operate in, and order them from
  2. Make a list of topics you want to be able to discuss, and the associated categories of vocabulary.

    If you are designing a program to learn a language you do not know, obviously you won't know the specific vocabulary words to include here. You will have to elicit or discover them as you do your lessons.

Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 21 March 1999

© 1999 SIL International