chapter  3
9 Pages

Michael Lewis Lexis in the Syllabus

SY L L A B U S I N T H I S C H A P T E R is interpreted in what Nunan calls the ‘narrow’sense – the content of the teaching programme.Willis, in The Lexical Syllabus, observes that an approach involves both syllabus specification and methodology, and that syllabus and methodology are not discrete options: indeed, syllabus may be specified in terms of goals, performance objectives, or other criteria such as Prabhu’s procedural syllabus. Here, I am concerned with the contribution lexis may make to the specification of content. Historically, syllabuses were structural; the Communicative Approach introduced functions, and certain re-orderings.The question naturally arises as to what similar changes are called for by the Lexical Approach.The search for a strictly lexical syllabus is likely to be frustrating for theorist, teacher and student.Widdowson has observed that a strictly lexical syllabus would begin with one word texts each complete in itself, proceed to two word texts, and so on to ever more complex texts but where, at all times, any grammatical complexity was obligatory as the language user’s meaning became increasingly complex, and demanded additional grammaticalisation. Even if such a syllabus were possible to devise, it is difficult to imagine it being pedagogically acceptable.