spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

CoBaLTT Participants

Curriculum Development for Content-Based Instruction

Curriculum development for CBI is very different from the kind of curriculum development most language teachers are familiar with. At the heart of CBI is the integration of language and content, which requires a dual commitment to content objectives and language objectives in planning (Stoller, 2004).

Depending upon the program type--whether it is more content-driven or more language-driven (see Met reading in the "Principles of CBI" module), either language or content may receive more emphasis in curricular planning. For example, in a foreign language immersion program, where the regular academic curriculum is taught through the immersion language, content objectives are often emphasized because teachers and students are held accountable for teaching/learning the content. At the same time, in such programs, language objectives must also be written, and a systematic focus on language instruction within the content curriculum must occur if students are to develop strong proficiency in that language.

In contrast, in a traditional foreign language classroom, language instruction is the primary goal. Yet students will best learn the language if it is taught within interesting and meaningful content. In such a context, the content objectives, while important, may have somewhat less emphasis in instruction than the language objectives.

In the CoBaLTT program, teachers learn to attend to both content and language in their planning, instruction, and assessment. The readings in this instructional module provide background and discussion of concepts related to curriculum development for CBI. The first three readings, excerpts from Met and Stoller, as well as a chapter by Stoller and Grabe are accompanied by a guided reading comprehension activity.

This module also introduces a process for analyzing texts, a key step for informing CBI curriculum design. A blank text analysis form that teachers can use and examples of completed forms are provided. In addition, we provide accompanying lessons to show how the text analysis can be used to inform lesson design.

Finally, because both content and language-learning objectives are critical for effective CBI curriculum development, we explain what objectives are and how they are distinguished from standards and goals. We also explain and show teachers how to write them, providing multiple examples of the different kinds of objectives as well as online interactive activities that guide teachers in writing objectives and seeing the relationship between objectives and lesson activities.

Stoller, F. L. (2004). Content-based instruction: Perspectives on curriculum planning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 24, 261-283.

Please use the Menu in the column to the left to navigate through the module.

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