The syllabus serves as a guide to the teacher by making him aware of broad-determined topics to be covered in a subject year by year. The syllabus is defined by Bello, (1981) as “a condensed outline or statement of the main points of a course of study taken from the broad curriculum of the school.”
Usually, the syllabus contains a statement of general and specific objectives, teaching methodology, learning activities, and mode of assessment. The syllabus is normally prescribed by the government.
It may also be developed by the school herself by making use of all the formats provided by the government at all levels in areas to be taught, the methodology to use, and the mode of assessment.
The only disadvantage of this type of syllabus is that all pupils are taken as one regardless of their differences, learning environment, and available facilities. A syllabus should be flexible.
Types of syllabus
The syllabus may occur in one of the following forms:
- The school syllabus or school curriculum
- Examination syllabus
- Teaching syllabus
The school syllabus
The school syllabus is a broad outline of the work planned to be done in the school in a year with each class in each subject, Adesina (1985)
Its development is based on the needs, problems, interests, and aspirations of the pupils and society. It is generally characterized by the following:
- Statement of objectives
- Methodology for teaching
The school syllabus takes all pupils as one regardless of their differences, learning environment, and available facilities. The syllabus is drawn up for each subject for each class for one year.
In the school syllabus, emphasis is placed on activities that will make the pupils pass their examinations as against those that will change their behavior.
A syllabus of this nature is prepared mainly for terminal or school leaving examinations. It is designed by government and professionally approved bodies such as the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), and Teachers’ Institute (NTI) and focuses on what will make the pupils pass their examinations.
The syllabus contains the following:
- Statement of the requirement in the examination in question (WAEC, GRD II, A/L)
- Regulations and rules to follow
- Content and examination
This is planned by an individual teacher to meet the needs of a specific group of learners learning under specific teaching and learning situations.
The teaching syllabus is unique and specifically designed with specific groups of learners in mind, it is also subject to modification to meet the needs of pupils. These characteristics make it different from the school syllabus.
Guidelines for designing a school syllabus
- Teaching syllabus must suit the age and previous knowledge of the pupils.
- It should start from known to the unknown, easy to difficult, local to distant.
- Subject topics must be arranged logically.
- It should go beyond a mere listing of headings taken from textbooks. S, aims, content, activities and, methodologies to use for better teaching must also be included.
- Approach to use in terms of methodology must lay more emphasis on activities and instructional materials, examples that can be easily obtained in one’s immediate environments rather than distant examples which may pose problems for students to perceive.
- The syllabus must be flexible for the addition of new experiences. This is achieved by avoiding details to guide against rigidity in appreciation.
Scheme of work
The scheme of work deals with the logical arrangement of subject matter based on how it is to be taught.
It is also the break-up of the school syllabus into yearly, by term, weekly and daily learning experiences thereby leading to the manifestation of what the teacher proposed to achieve or to do in a subject for some time in a clear and sequential form.
The scheme of work affords the teacher the opportunity to know how much to cover and the topic that is next to being taught.
Tips to know about scheme of work
- Scheme of work is formed from the school syllabus.
- It is usually prepared by the class teacher and so, the individual need of the pupils is catered for.
- It shows how much subject syllabus will be covered within a given period.
- Originality and individuality of the teacher within the limit of the syllabus are fully exercised.
- Broad syllabus is split into topics that are logically arranged on how they are to be taught.
- It ensures continuity of the process mostly where one teacher handles the subject in one year or where the teacher is unavoidably absent before the end of the session.
- Amount of work done in a given period is easily known.
The lesson plan
This may be referred to as a stage when the scheme of work is interpreted for a period of thirty-five or forty minutes or the final stage of lesson preparation which gives the outline of what the teacher intends to teach in a classroom situation in clear or systematic order.
Well-planned lesson brings out effective teaching and learning. While improper lesson planning results in unsuccessful lessons, lessons note is important in aiding memory, especially at the primary school level.
Where the teacher is a generalist as against a subject specialist and so on, he is expected to teach all subjects in his class every day of the week.
Lesson notes must be too short to accommodate more facts and notes to be too long to avoid interruption of the natural flow of the lesson and to arrest the attention of the learners.
Merits of lesson plan to teachers
- Lesson plan serves as a reminder to a teacher on what to teach and the methodology to use.
- It helps in the logical presentation of materials.
- It enables the teacher to evaluate the learners as the lesson progresses or at the end of the lesson to assess whether his intended objectives have been achieved or not.
- Good lesson plan enables the teacher to know the facts to include and those to ignore.
- It helps in the selection of appropriate instructional materials.
- It helps in determining the type of teaching strategies to use for a particular topic in a lesson.
- It helps in proper timing or judicious use of the time of the lesson.
- It makes the teacher more confident in front of the class.