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Course: #13

Field: Methodology
Code: 601410


HA NOI, 2007

Certificate of originality of study report

I certify my authority of the study entitled:


In partial accomplishment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.

Nguyễn Thị Thu Phương

July, 2007


First of all, I would like to acknowledge my supervisor, Nguyen Thi Vuong for her
precious advice, suggestions and especially generous assistance and continual
encouragement without which this thesis would not have been accomplished.
I am grateful to all the lectures of the M.A course at VNU for their teaching and
instructions which are of great value to my study and my thesis.
I am also appreciative of my colleagues at the English Department of Bac Ninh
Teacher Training College, and all the post-students of English for their cooperation in the
process of data collection for this thesis.
Last but not least, my heartfelt gratitude goes to my family for giving me endless
supports and encouragements during my three-year course at VNU and during the time I
carried out and fulfilled the research.

Ha noi, 2007

NguyÔn ThÞ Thu Ph−¬ng
M.A #13


Many areas of English Language Teaching (ELT) have undergone a lot of changes in order to
meet the requirements of English learners. In recent years, ELT has been showing an
inevitable tendency of shifting from General English to English for Specific Purposes (ESP) as
the number of ESP has been rising. This has led to a corresponding increase in the materials
development of ESP in which designing authentic tasks plays an important part in enabling
learners to master the target language.
This research aims at finding out the most effective techniques to create authentic tasks in the
materials development of Secretarial English, which is to be a compulsory subject in the
curriculum to train English majors at Bacninh Teachers Training College.
This research report is composed of three main parts. It begins with the introduction, which
states the rationale, aims, scope and methods of the study. Part two includes three chapters, the
first reviews the related literature, the second presents the study in details and the third deals
with major findings from the data analysis and offers recommendations on how to design
authentic tasks in the materials development of secretarial English. Part three is the
conclusion, which summarizes the whole study and gives suggestions for further research.


Acknowledgement………………………………………………………………………… 3
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………… 4
Table of content……………………………………………………… ……… 5
List of abbreviations, tables and figures……………………… …………… 7
PART A: INTRODUCTION…………………………………………… ……………… 8
1. Rationale of the study …………………………………………………………… …8
2. Aims and significance of the study……………………… ……………………… 9
3. Scope of the study……………… ……………………………………………… 9
4. Methods of the study……………………………… …………………………… 10
5. Design of the study………………………………………………………… 10
PART B: DEVELOPMENT……………………………………………………………… 11

CHAPTER I: LITERATURE REVIEW…………………………… ………………… 11
I.1. An overview of materials development in English Language Teaching …………… 11
I.1.1. Definition and categories of ELT materials………………… …………… 11
I.1.2. Materials development …………………………………………… 11
I.1.2.1. Definition of materials development……………………………… 11
I.1.2.2. Basic principles of Second Language Acquisition relevant to
thematerials development for the teaching of languages ………………….11
I.1.2.3. The process of developing materials…………………… ……… 16
I.2. Task authenticity as one of the core parts of materials development ………… 16
I.2.1. The nature of authenticity in ELT materials development………… 16
I.2.2. Authentic materials ………………………………… …… … 17
I.2.3. Authentic tasks … …………………………………… …………… 17
I.2.4. Task authenticity and input authenticity………………… 18
I.3. Materials development, syllabus design and teaching methodology…… 19
I.3.1. Materials development and syllabus design ……………… 19
I.3.2. Materials development of secretarial English and the adopted
teaching approach ……… 23
II.1. Background to the study ……… 28
II.1.1. The settings of teaching and learning 28
II.1.2. The teachers ……… 28
II.1.3. The learners and their needs 28
II 1.4. The overall objectives and purpose of the materials to be designed …… 29

II.2. The problems and research questions 30
II.3. The surveys ……… 30
II.3.1. Selecting the population 30
II.3.2. Data collection instruments 31
II.4. Data analysis and discussion 31

III.1. Major findings and discussion 39
III.2. Recommendations on how to design authentic tasks in the materials development
of secretarial English 40
III.2.1. A suggested model to enhance task authenticity in the materials
development of secretarial English 41
III.2.2. The selection of teaching techniques 41
III.2.3. Suggested activities 42
III.2.4. Authentic class resources 44
1. Conclusion 46
2. Limitations of the study and suggestions for further research 47



List of Abbreviations

ELT: English Language Teaching
EFL: English as a Foreign Language
ESP: English for Specific Purpose

SLA: Second Language Acquisition
TBLT: Task-based Language Teaching
TBL: Task-based Learning

List of Tables

Table 1: A summary of frequency of responses to question 1 for teachers…….………… 26
Table 2: A summary of frequency of responses to question 2 for students……….……… 26

List of Figures

Figure 1: The rating of teachers' answers to question 2 ……………………… 28
Figure 2: The rating of students' answers to question 3 ……………………… 28
Figure 3: Students’ rating to question 1……………………… 29
Figure 4: The rating of teachers' responses to question 3 & students' responses to question 4 30
Figure 5: The rating of teachers' responses to question 4 and students' responses to question 6 30
Figure 6: The rating of students' responses to question 5 31


1. Rationale
As English language has become an important medium for international business, politics and

other fields, a good command of the English language is particularly important for those who
want to go on to work in an English-speaking environment. The development of English for
interacting professionally as a result of the integration and globalization processes has been
rapidly increasing in almost all workplaces in our country. However, the situation of teaching
and learning English in our country hasn’t met such demands. The fact is that English is
taught as a foreign language (EFL), it is a compulsory subject in all curricula of any schools.
But English is not often used outside the classrooms. A great number of students do not need
English to engage in day-to-day life functioning or to participate in society. There is little or
no motivation to learn a new language when they can communicate only in their first
language. As a result, low achievement in teaching and learning English has been gained.
In recent years, the communicative approach in language teaching has become more and more
predominant. However, the real quality of the outcomes proves to be a matter of concern of
all language teachers and learners. The fact is that a lot of learners’ linguistic performance is
quite good in class learning, but when they engage in real-life communication in which the
target language is used, they seem to be hindered by many factors such as linguistics
problems, inappropriate responses, communicative skills, etc. Especially, ESP students face a
great deal of obstacles when using the target language at their workplaces. The problems
begin the moment the students step outside the classroom into the real world. They are
surrounded by a vast range of spontaneous and unpredictable language. They have no control
over the range of vocabulary they may encounter or the kind of things they will hear or need
to respond to. It is the fact that a lot of students who do very well in the classroom find it
difficult to express when faced with a 'real' situation. Perhaps we simply haven't taught them
in a way that will help them cope with this.
It is not a joke that a number of students and graduates rush to their language teachers and ask
questions like: “Why is English used inside classroom different from outside
communication?”, “Is English in learning too bookish”… On the other hand, the writer often
hears complaints from her colleagues: “Students seem so quiet and lazy during the lessons. It
is so difficult to get them involved in learning activities”.
Such matters may rest with many reasons, including teaching materials, characteristics of
learners, teachers’ proficiency, classroom methodology as well as classroom learning

activities, among which learning tasks account for a very important part firstly in motivating

and getting students involved in the lessons, then in helping them achieve the goal of using
the target language in real-life communication.
That is why the concerns of all EFL teachers share an agreement that it is essential to design
interesting classroom activities which can motivate the enthusiasm and involvement of
learners in an EFL classroom, and particularly for ESP learners such activities should be
useful and related to their future jobs. If so, the aims of the lessons will be achieved. As a
result, the quality of English language teaching and learning will be improved as well.
Things considered, the writer would like to conduct a mini-research on finding suitable
techniques to design authentic tasks in the materials development of secretarial English,
which is one of compulsory subject in the curriculum of the writer’s college to train English
majors. As the goals of teaching secretarial English is to give students intensive experience in
the use of general and professional English for the sake of their career, to help students to
develop their communication skills effectively, to express themselves confidently and to
provide students with the opportunity to gain first hand experience which can be adapted to
the future workplace situations. In order to achieve these aims, teachers should find ways to
create authentic tasks to increase the students’ confidence and ability in using English in such
environment and also develop their cognitive processing skills so as to enable them to
understand and express ideas, attitudes and feelings, to think and respond creatively. In other
words, students will get used to using the target language appropriately by performing
authentic tasks in contextualized situations, so that they will be capable of using the target
language effectively in their future workplace. In sum, everything is to be done with a view to
enhancing the quality of teaching and learning secretarial English.
2. Aims and significance of the study
This study aims at
- Investigating the attitudes of teachers of English and college/ university graduates working
as secretarial or administrative staff towards the effectiveness of techniques used to create
authentic tasks in teaching and learning English;

- Finding out the most effective techniques to design authentic tasks in the materials
development of secretarial English;
If the study is successfully completed, the quality of teaching and learning secretarial English
will be bound to be better. As a result, English majors who might work as secretarial and
administrative staff will be more competent in using their target language at their workplace.
3. Scope of the study
The study focuses on finding techniques to design authentic tasks in the materials
development of Secretarial English for third-year English majors at Bacninh Teacher Training

4. Methods of the study
The methods used are questionnaires and individual interviews. Then an analysis of the
collected data will be quantitatively discussed together with qualitative analysis of the results
of the individual interviews.
5. Design of the study
The study is divided into three parts which are briefly presented as follows:
Part A is the Introduction which states rationale, aims and significance, scope and research
method of the study.
Part B is the Development of the study, consisting of three chapters:
Chapter one reviews the literature concerning an overview of the materials development in
ELT, task authenticity as one of the core parts of materials development and the relationship
between materials development, syllabus design and teaching methodology.
Chapter two presents the background to the study, the problems and research questions, the
surveys and the data analysis and discussion according to the research questions.
Chapter three shows major findings from the data analysis and offers recommendations on
how to design authentic tasks in the materials development of secretarial English.
Part C is the Conclusion which summarizes the overall study and states its limitations and
suggestions for further research.

I.1. An overview of materials development in ELT
I.1.1. Definition and categories of ELT materials
Most people associate the term “language-learning materials” with course books because
that has been their main experience of using materials. However, Tomlinson (1998) refers the
term to “anything which is used by teachers or learners to facilitate the learning of a
language”. Materials can obviously be in the form of textbooks, work books, cassettes,
videos, CD-Roms, dictionaries, grammar books, readers, workbooks or photocopied
exercises. They could also be any realia such as newspapers, food packages, photographs, or
even live talks by invited native speakers, instructions given by a teacher, tasks written on
cards or discussions between learners. In other words, they can be anything which presents or
informs about the language being learnt.
According to McGrath (2002), there are three main categories of materials as follows:
published materials; authentic materials and supplementary ones. The first kind includes
course books, students’ books, teachers’ books, workbooks, which can be utilized in a number
of ways. The second consists of plentiful materials which do have a place in language
learning such as newspapers, magazines, leaflets and brochures, videos and songs, etc. The
third type can also be very useful for teachers and learners. They are dictionaries, grammar
books, charts, games etc. Other types of materials used in language teaching and learning can
be grouped in the mode of perceptions and specific uses.
I.1.2. Materials development
I.1.2.1. Definition of materials development
Tomlinson (1998) refers materials development to anything which is done by writers, teachers
or learners to provide sources of language input and to exploit those sources in ways which
maximize the likelihood of intake: in other words the supplying of information about and/or
experience of the - language in ways designed to promote language learning.
Materials developers might write textbooks, tell stories, bring advertisements into the
classroom, express an opinion, provide samples of language use or read a poem aloud.

Whatever they do to provide input they do so in principled ways related to what they know
about how languages can be effectively learned.
I.1.2.2. Basic principles of SLA relevant to the materials development for the teaching of
According to Methold (1972) good materials will have the following characteristics:

- set out to teach a predetermined body of knowledge, e.g., what is contained in a
- be divided into teachable segments;
- take into account such principles as variety, weighting, the content validity of
exercises and the need for recycling ;
- take into account local conditions (the classroom environment, conventional teaching
and learning practice, the teachers’ linguistic and methodological competence.
In order to design good materials, Tomlinson (1998) has proposed an extensive set of
principles which are said to be really valuable in the development of materials. The most
noticeable are listed as follows:
1. Materials should achieve impact
Impact is achieved when materials have a noticeable effect on learners, that is when
the learners' curiosity, interest and attention are attracted. If this is achieved there is a better
chance that some of the language in the materials will be taken in for processing. Materials
can achieve impact through:
* novelty (e.g. unusual topics, illustrations and activities);
* variety (e.g. breaking up the monotony of a unit routine with an
unexpected activity; using many different text types taken from many different types of
sources; using a number of different instructor voices on a cassette);
* attractive presentation (e.g. use of attractive colors; lots of white space; use of photographs);
* appealing content (e.g. topics of interest to the target learners; topics which offer the
possibility of learning something new; engaging stories; universal themes; local references).
One obvious point is that impact is variable. In order to maximize the likelihood of

achieving impact the writer needs to know as much as possible about the target learners and
about what is likely to attract their attention. In order to achieve impact the writer also needs
to offer choice. The more varied the choice of topics, texts and activities the more likely is the
achievement of impact.
2. Materials should help learners to feel at ease and develop confidence
Research has shown … the effects of various forms of anxiety on acquisition: the less
anxious the learner, the better language acquisition proceeds. Similarly, relaxed and
comfortable students apparently can learn more in shorter periods of time. (Dulay, Burt and
Krashen 1982)
Materials can help learners to feel at ease in a number of ways. For example:
- are more at ease with texts and illustrations that they can relate to their own culture than they
are with those which are culturally exotic (and therefore potentially alien);

- are more relaxed with materials which arc obviously trying to help them to learn than they
are with materials which are always testing them.
- informal discourse features (e.g. contracted forms, informal lexis);
- concreteness (e.g. examples, anecdotes);
- inclusiveness (e.g. not signaling intellectual, linguistic or cultural superiority over the
Most materials developers recognize the need to help learners to develop confidence but many
of them attempt to do so through a process of simplification. They try to help the learners to
feel successful by asking them to use simple language to accomplish easy tasks. This
approach is welcomed by many teachers and learners. But in Tomlinson (1998)’s experience,
he prefers to attempt to build confidence through activities which try to 'push' learners slightly
beyond their existing proficiency by engaging them in tasks which are stimulating, which are
problematic but which arc achievable too. It can also help if the activities encourage learners
to use and to develop their existing extra-linguistic skills, such as those which involve being
imaginative, being creative or being analytical.
3. What is being taught should be perceived by learners as relevant and useful

Most teachers recognize the need to make the learners aware of the potential relevance and
utility of the language and skills they are teaching. Perception of relevance and utility can also
be achieved by relating teaching points to interesting and challenging classroom tasks and by
presenting them in ways which could facilitate the achievement of task outcomes desired by
the learners. Especially in ESP materials it is relatively easy to convince the learners that the
teaching points arc relevant and useful by relating them to known learner interests and to
'real-life' tasks which the learners need or might need to perform in the target language.
4. Materials should require and facilitate learner self-investment
It seems that learners profit most if they invest interest, effort and attention in the learning
activity. Materials can help them to achieve this by providing them with choices of focus
and activity, by giving them topic control and by engaging them in learner-centred discovery
5. Materials should expose the learners to language in authentic use
Materials can provide exposure to authentic input through the advice they give, the
instructions for their activities and the spoken and written texts they include. In order to
facilitate acquisition the input must be comprehensible. Ideally materials at all levels should
provide frequent exposure to authentic input which is rich and varied. In other words the input
should vary in style, mode, medium and purpose and should be rich in features which are
characteristic of authentic discourse in the target language.

6. The learners' attention should be drawn to linguistic features of the input
White (1990) argues that there are some features of the L2 which learners need to be focused
on because the deceptively apparent similarities with LI features make it impossible for the
learners to otherwise notice certain points of mismatch between their interlanguage and the
target language. And Schmidt (1992) puts forward a powerful argument for approaches which
help learners to note the gap between their use of specific features of English and the way
these features are used by native speakers.
7. Materials should provide the learners with opportunities to use the target language to
achieve communicative purposes

Most researchers seem to agree that learners should be given opportunities to use language for
communication rather than just to practice it in situations controlled by the teacher and the
8. Materials should take into account that learners differ in learning styles
Different learners have different preferred learning styles. This means that activities
should be variable and should cater for all learning styles. Styles of learning which need to
be catered for in language learning materials include
- visual (e.g. the learner prefers to see the language written down);
- auditory (e.g. the learner prefers to hear the language);
- kinaesthetic (e.g. the learner prefers to do something physical, such as following
- studial (e.g. the learner likes to pay conscious attention to the linguistic features of
the language and wants to be correct);
- experiential (e.g. the learner likes to use the language and is more concerned with
communication than with correctness);
- analytic (e.g. the learner prefers to focus on discrete bits of the language and to learn
them one by one);
- global (e.g. the learner is happy to respond to whole chunks of language at a time and
to pick up from them whatever language she can);
- dependent (e.g:. the learner prefers to learn from a teacher and from a book);
- independent (~.g. the learner is happy to learn from their own experience of the
language and to use autonomous learning strategies).
9. Materials should take into account that learners differ in affective attitudes
Ideally language learners should have strong and consistent motivation and they should also
have positive feelings towards the target language, their teachers, their fellow learners and the
materials they are using. But, of course, the ideal learner does not exist and even if she did

exist one day she would no longer be the ideal learner the next day. The fact is that no
materials developer can cater for all these affective variables but it is important for anybody

who is writing learning materials to be aware of the inevitable attitudinal differences of the
users of the materials.
Ways of doing this include:
- providing choices of different types of text;
- providing choices of different types of activities;
- providing optional extras for the more positive and motivated learners;
- providing variety;
- including units in which the value of learning English is a topic for discussion;
- including activities which involve the learners in discussing their attitudes and feelings about
the course and the materials;
- researching and catering for the diverse interests of the identified target learners;
- being aware of the cultural sensitivities of the target learners;
- giving general and specific advice in the teacher's book on how to respond to negative
learners (e.g. not forcing reluctant individuals to take part in group work).
10. Materials should provide opportunities for outcome feedback
Feedback which is focused first on the effectiveness of the outcome rather than just on the
accuracy of the output can lead to output becoming a profitable source of input. Or in other
words, if the language that the learner produces is evaluated in relation to the purpose for
which it is used that language can become a powerful and informative source of information
about language use. Thus a learner who fails to achieve a particular communicative purpose is
more likely to gain from negative feedback on the effectiveness of their use of language than
a learner whose language is corrected without reference to any non-linguistic outcome. It is,
therefore, very important for materials developers to make sure that language production
activities have intended outcomes other than just practising language.
The rest of the principles are:
11. Learners must be ready to acquire the points being taught
12. Materials should maximize learning potential by encouraging intellectual, aesthetic and
emotional involvement which stimulates both right and left brain activities
13. Materials should not rely too much on controlled practice
14. Materials should take into account that the positive effects of instruction are usually

15. Materials should permit a silent period at the beginning of instruction

Rossner (1988: 143), discussing teachers' expectations of materials, sees the impact of
communicative principles as being most clearly visible in the following. Materials will:
1. provide “comprehensible input” for generalized rehearsal of skills and “activation” of
learners' interlanguage repertoire;
2. raise learners' awareness about language, communication, learning, etc.;
3. provide experiences of communication in the new language similar or parallel to those
likely to be encountered beyond the learning situation
It is important to bear in mind that however reasonable such principles might seem, they do
not represent an objective truth. A set of principles for materials
design is therefore best thought of as a personal rationale: a key-point justification for the
decisions that are to be taken based on beliefs about learning and how this can best be
I.1.2.3. The process of developing materials

A teacher’s path through the production of new or adapted materials Tomlinson (1998)
Most materials developers move in this direction and use some or all of the steps. If not
always precisely in this order: a movement from the identification of a need for materials to
their eventual use in the classroom.
I.2. Task authenticity as one of the core parts of materials development
I.2.1. The nature of authenticity in ELT materials development
Authenticity has been a controversial matter in ELT. Authenticity is felt to be important
because it gives learners a taste of the real world; an opportunity to rehearse in a sheltered
environment. Taylor and Breen argued the facets of authenticity in language learning and
teaching as follows:
Authenticity of text used as input data for learners

Authenticity of language
Authenticity of the learners own interpretations of such texts

Authenticity of task Authenticity of the tasks conductive to language learning
Authenticity of situation Authenticity of the actual social situation of the language classroom
The writer of this study would like to focus the review on authentic materials, authentic tasks
and the relationship between task authenticity and input authenticity.
I.2.2. Authentic materials
Traditionally, authentic materials have been defined, "as those which have been
produced for purposes other than to teach language" (Nunan 1988, p. 99). Little et al
(1988:27) states that an authentic text is one “created to fulfill some social purpose in the
language community in which it was produced”. With the onset of the communicative
movement a greater awareness of the need to develop students’ skills for the real world has
meant that teachers endeavor to simulate this world in the classroom. One way of doing this
has been to use authentic materials as defined by Little et al above in the expectation that
exposing students to the language of the real world will help them acquire an effective
receptive competence in the target language. In other words the use of authentic texts
embracing both the written and spoken word is helping to bridge the gap between classroom
knowledge and a student's capacity to participate in real world events.
In the case of texts designed for proficient speakers (or readers) of the language,
Widdowson (1978; 1998) refers to them as possessing "genuineness" – a characteristic of the
text or the material itself – and he claims that this is distinct from "authenticity" which refers
to the uses to which texts are put. So the claim here is that texts themselves can actually be
intrinsically "genuine" but that authenticity itself is a social construct. In other words,
authenticity is created through the interaction of users, situations and the texts.
I.2.3. Authentic Tasks
“Control over linguistic knowledge is achieved by means of performing under real operating
conditions in meaning-focused language activities” (Ellis, 1990). Taking the Ellis quote above
we might posit that authenticity lies not only in the ‘genuineness’ of text but has much to do

with the notion of task. Nunan (1988:4) defines authentic tasks as that takes real-world
behavior and learner need into consideration: “tasks which replicate or rehearse the
communicative behaviors which will be required of them in real world”. However, learners
may have different expectations of classroom activities and their real-world parallels. So what
makes a task authentic? Guariento and Morley (2001, p.350) note the importance of student
"engagement" in a task as essential in determining task authenticity. For example, when
students are given the task of reading a short text, sharing the contents with a partner,
listening to an explanation of what their partner has read about the same topic and then

consolidating that information to share with a larger group of students, a variety of skills are
activated and engaged to communicate a specific outcome ensuring task authenticity.
Authentic tasks can be contrasted with pedagogic tasks (e.g. controlled grammar practice
activities such as gap-filling or transformation exercises), which focus on the development of
accuracy rather than language using.
William Guariento and John Morley argues that the issue of task authenticity is in fact
far more complex than Elliss’ rather vague reference to “real operating conditions” and so it
might be possible to identify principles to make tasks more authentic:
i. Authenticity through a genuine purpose: One of the crucial aspects of task
authenticity is whether real communication takes place and whether the language
has been used for a genuine purpose.
ii. Authenticity through real world targets: A task might be said to be authentic if it
has a clear relationship with real world needs.
iii. Authenticity through classroom interaction: All of the everyday procedures the
learning tasks types of data and the materials to be selected and worked on the actual needs
interests and preferred ways of working of all the people gathered in the classroom all provide
sufficient authentic potential for communication.
iv. Authenticity through engagement: Authenticity of task might be said to depend on
whether or not a student is engaged by the task. Unless students are genuinely interested in its
topic and purpose and they understand its relevance then they are somehow engaged by the

task, authenticity may count for the most. It suggests that students should be given a role in
task selection; learning tasks should be the product of negotiation
I.2.4. Task authenticity and input authenticity
Brown and Menasche (2006, p.3) distinguish between input authenticity and task authenticity.
They argue for degrees of authenticity by stating: “While allowing that learners must be
encouraged to process authentic language in real situations, we think the necessity of
authentic materials at all levels of learning and for all activities has been overstated. Our view
is that materials that are 'not authentic' in different ways are more than just useful; they are
essential in language learning. Non-authentic materials are as valuable as authentic materials.
Indeed, there are some situations in which authentic materials are useless - especially when
the learners' receptive proficiency is low.
But one problem emerges for syllabus planners and materials designers: “how to predict the
behaviors that will (or not) be needed?. To solve the problem the relationship between input
text and task has to be dealt with.

Input and tasks each can have degrees or levels of authenticity. Brown and Menasche propose
five levels for input from "genuine input authenticity", "altered input authenticity", "adapted
input authenticity", "simulated input authenticity" and "inauthenticity" while noting that no
type is better than the other in their view. They define three types of task authenticity:
"genuine", "simulated" and "pedagogical" and note that "there is probably no such thing as
real task authenticity; that classrooms are by their nature artificial. The only genuine task
authenticity for language learning may well be total immersion in the target language
environment without an instructor.
I.3. Materials development, syllabus design and teaching methodology
In a carefully designed course to language teaching, we might expect a high degree of
consistency between aims, objectives, syllabus, materials and method (Richards and Rodgers
1986). Thus, materials will embody syllabus content and the method that is used to facilitate
the learning of that content will be congruent with overall aims and objectives and with the
beliefs about language and language learning that lie behind these.

I.3.1. Materials development and syllabus design
The relationship between materials and syllabus can be represented in two basic ways. In the
first, the syllabus determines if not the selection of materials at least the way in which they
will be exploited for teaching purposes. In the second, materials are selected first, for their
intrinsic interest and general linguistic appropriateness, and a specific linguistic syllabus is
then derived from them. For the materials development of secretarial English, the former is
more preferred as it is described by Nunan (1991): “Materials, whether commercially
developed or teacher-produced, are an important element within the curriculum, and are
often the most tangible and visible aspect of it. While the syllabus defines the goals and
objectives, the linguistics and experiential content, instructional materials can put flesh on the
bones of these specifications”. Thus, the syllabus design should be taken into consideration
before developing the materials.
Designing a language syllabus is no doubt a complex process. It involves a logical sequence
of three main stages,
i) needs analysis, ii) content specification, and iii) syllabus organization.
i. Needs analysis
A needs analysis is usually seen as being most beneficial for ESP course.
Derwing and Schutz (1981) offer an eight phase plan for the assessment of needs as follows;
1. define the purpose, that is, have a clear idea of the goals and objectives of the programme.
2. delimit the target population, that is, determine the range of persons who the programme
will have an impact on.

3. delimit the parameters of investigation for which the following information must be
sought from the population surveyed:
a. general background
b. occupational specialty or academic field
c. English language background
d. attitudinal and motivational factors
e. relevance of English to use in occupational or professional field.

f. basic English language skills
g. functional registers and job tasks
h. course content and methods of instruction
i. reaction to project.
4. select the information-gathering instrument, This would be determined by the scope and
objectives of the inquiry.
5. collect the data
6. analyze the results
7. interpret the results, and
8. critique the project, so as to provide positive benefits for similar projects in the future.
ii. Content specification
Most language syllabus content is drawn from inventories or lists which may be word
frequency lists, inventories of functions or lists of specific topics. Content can be also be
specified through a series of checklists which deal with communicative functions, discourse
skills, and study skills.
A useful general analysis to specify content has been put forward by Brumfit (1984).
According to him there are three types of such analyses. The first is that of the linguist, that is,
formal analyses of phonology, syntax, morphology, or certain types of semantic categories.
The second type is interactional analyses of various kinds, such as situational and functional
categories which lead to the analyses of discourse rhetoric. The third type of analysis is an
analysis of what is talked or written about.
Each of these analyses presumes a different view of the nature in which language is learned.
For example, the first presumes inductive or deductive learning; the second presumes that
discourse is learnt to interact and to communicate; while the third one presumes that
interesting and motivating content is necessary.
Trim (1973) pointed out that the content specifications of a syllabus can be described in terms
i. the behavioral input-output chain involved;

ii. select language which can be used in a wide range of contexts; and
iii. taught language that is appropriate to the interest of the pupils and the situations in
which he might possibly use his linguistic knowledge.
But Shaw (1976) sees the selection of content to be concerned mainly with two questions:
i. how much can we teach or how much can be learnt by the learners in question; and
ii. which items should be included.
He suggests a criterion for selection based on the "relative usefulness" or "relative difficulty"
of the content matter. He argues that students' point of entry level and the duration of the
course provide a good indicator of how much should be included and how difficult the content
matter should be. Purposes and types would determine the usefulness of the content. Based on
this criterion, Shaw proposed the following general procedure for selection of content:
i. determine previous knowledge of learners,
ii. decide amount of content in general terms,
iii. list items in rough order of specific frequency,
iv. group for relative difficulty,
v. check that both functional and notional categories are present,
vi. check coverage of grammatical items.
iii. Syllabus organization
The objective of organizing a syllabus should be to promote learning, and not just to provide a
description of the language. Therefore, the content matter should be organized in such a way
so as to facilitate teaching and learning. The unit of organization should also suit the
particular purpose of learning.
The syllabus may be structured on the basis of a gradual move from the more general to the
more particular, a statement of a general rule to a statement of particular rules or exceptions
which incorporates the deductive process. The material can also be organized so that the
direction is from the particular to the general which is the inductive process.
According to Allen (1984), there are basically three approaches which can be utilized to
sequence and organize content:
1. the traditional, structural-analytic approach in which the highest priority is given to
formal grammatical criteria;

2. the functional-analytical approach which defines objectives in terms of categories of
communicative language use; and
3. a non-analytic, experiential, or "natural growth" approach, which aims to immerse
learners in real-life communication without any artificial pre-selection or arrangement
of items.

Sequencing of content involves the marking out of subject matter along a path of
development. Sequencing of subject matter will depend on particular views of language
learning and classroom conditions that the syllabus designer holds. For example, if the
syllabus represents a view of language as a formal system, then the criteria for sequencing
would be related to "simplicity" or "complexity" of structures. If the syllabus represents a
functional view of language, then the "usefulness" or "frequency" criteria would have greater
The syllabus sequenced on a particular view of learning may have to start with subject matter
which is more "familiar" to the learner before moving on to something which is "unfamiliar".
A syllabus may also represent a particular view of the conditions offered by the specific
classroom situation. The sequence for the subject matter may have to take into account
whether it is "easy to teach" or whether it is "more urgent". That is why Wilkins feels that
staging and sequencing should be carried out according to the criteria of simplicity, regularity,
frequency and contrastive difficulty.
Where language is learned for more specific purposes, learner needs can be better assessed
arid the criteria successfully applied. For more general language courses, the pedagogic
criteria usually play a larger role.
For the learner needs criteria, earlier language is taught according to
1. which is needed most immediately by the learner,
2. which has high surrender value, that is, of most use to the learner,
3. which is necessary to avoid a communication breakdown,
4. which is flexible, that is, can be used most widely, and
5. which is most frequently used by the learner.

For the pedagogical factors criteria, earlier language is taught which
1. can be taught most effectively and efficiently given in the classroom situation,
2. can be used in teaching other languages,
3. is needed for classroom purposes,
4. is simpler in form or meaning.
The identified needs would impose the choice of syllabus content. The organization of
content is complex as it has formal and functional components.
* Syllabus Implementation
No matter how well developed a syllabus, it would not be able to achieve what it is
meant to if serious consideration is not given to its successful implementation.

Various sources have cited a number of factors which need to be given consideration
in the successful implementation of a language syllabus. These factors would also affect the
choice of an appropriate syllabus for use.
Maley (1984) gives the following factors:
i. cultural
ii. educational
v. teacher, and
vi. material
These very same factors would also have to be taken into consideration when selecting an
appropriate syllabus type to achieve the purpose desired.
* Types of language syllabuses
As for Robinson (1991), types of language syllabuses can be summarized as follows:
Language syllabuses
The choice of which syllabus to be designed depends on all the criteria relating to syllabus

design mentioned above and much on the real teaching and learning context.
As a course on secretarial English covers the use of the target language in telephoning,
business correspondence, memos and reports, agendas and minutes, greeting and dealing with
clients, visitors, making arrangements and preparing schedules. So the type of syllabus to be
chosen is a situation-based syllabus.
I.3.2. Materials development of secretarial English and the adopted teaching approach
The teaching methodology adopted in the class room plays a major role in enhancing learning.
In order to design authentic tasks of materials of secretarial English, the preferred teaching






means- driven





Notional/ Functional focus




Learner - led

Task - based


approach to be proposed in the implementation of the syllabus resorts to the task-based
language teaching (TBLT) because TBLT fundamentally reflects the communicative
teaching and learning. It is a meaning-focused teaching method, aiming at fulfilling language
communicative tasks. A task involves real-world processes of language use as well as
pedagogic communicative activities. TBLT can make language learning in classrooms closer
to the natural route and may reach a higher rate of language acquisition because it provides
learners with a clear communicative goal, interaction is needed to reach the goal, and
comprehensive input can occur, and then language acquisition is facilitated.
**An overview of the task-based language teaching and learning
Prabhu (1987) deserves credit for originating the task-based teaching and learning, based on
the concept that effective learning occurs when students are fully engaged in a language task,
rather than just learning about language.
Task-based learning draws on several principles that formed part of the Communicative
Language Teaching as follows:
- Activities that involve real communication are essential for language learning;
- Activities in which language is used for carrying out meaningful tasks promote learning;
- Language that is meaningful to the learner supports the learning process.
(Richards & Rodgers 2001)
Nunan in his article in Volume 8 Issue 3 of Asian EFL Journal once again states that
pedagogically task-based language teaching has strengthened the following principles and

• A needs-based approach to content selection
• An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language.
• The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation.
• The provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language, but also on the
learning process itself.
• An enhancement of the learner's own personal experiences as important contributing
elements to classroom learning.
• The linking of classroom language learning with language use outside the classroom.
* What is a task?
There are many viewpoints about the “task” and a lot of definitions of “task” exists. Nunan
(2004) draws a basic distinction between real-world or target tasks, and pedagogical tasks.
Target tasks, as the name implies, refer to uses of language in the world beyond the
classroom. Pedagogical tasks are those that occur in the classroom.

As for Jane Willis (1996) a task is an activity "where the target language is used by the learner
for a communicative purpose (goal) in order to achieve an outcome."
In L2 teaching and learning, task is now often viewed as an outcome-oriented instructional
segment or as a behavioral framework for research or classroom learning
* Types of tasks
Jane Willis (1996) briefly mentions six types of tasks:
• listing
• ordering and sorting
• comparing
• creative tasks (project)
• sharing personal experiences
• problem solving.
* Components of a task
Nunan (1989) presented components of a 'Task' as shown below:

From the above diagram, a task can be viewed as a piece of meaning focused work, involving
learners in comprehending, producing and/or interacting in the target language.
* Characteristics of a task.
Skehan (1998) puts forward five key characteristics of a task:
• meaning is primary
• learners are not given other people's meaning to regurgitate
• there is some sort of relationship to comparable real-world activities
• task completion has some priority
• the assessment of the task is in terms of outcome.
Pica, Kanagy and Falodun (1993) describe other characteristics of tasks as follows:
1. one-way or two-way: whether the task involves a one-way exchange of information or a
two-way exchange
2. convergent or divergent: whether the students achieve a common goal or several different
3. collaborative or competitive: whether the students collaborate to carry out a task or
compete with each other on a task

Teacher’s role

Student’s role