Worlds Apart? : A comparative study of the Swedish and Japanese syllabus of English
Sammanfattning: This paper is a comparative syllabus study that looks into the differences and similarities between the Swedish syllabus for English education and the Japanese syllabus for English education. By using White’s theory of the Type A and the Type B syllabus, which states that syllabi can be divided into two major groups based on their inherent structure, the goal is to compare the two syllabi against one another. The Type A is more traditional whereas the Type B is more experimental. The method being used is a qualitative content analysis method which categorizes the content of the syllabi into different language skills and content. The comparison itself is hermeneutic at its core, and it interprets the data against the backdrop of White’s theory. The study shows that both syllabi are of the Type A nature, although the Swedish syllabus takes influences from the Type B syllabus in the form of less authoritarian teacher-role and increased student influence. As for content, the Japanese syllabus is more focused on grammar and pronunciation, as well as on fostering a positive attitude not only towards English but also towards other cultures and countries. The Swedish syllabus on the other hand is more topic-oriented and has very little that is directly referring to grammar. This difference in the two is likely due to the position of the English language in each country’s society as well as similarities between English and Swedish and the difference between English and Japanese, the latter which requires education to focus more on correct pronunciation and grammar. Some similarities that they share are that they are notionalfunctional in structure, i.e. that they focus on topics and functions of language. Some of the topics overlap for both countries, such as situations regarding students’ daily lives, but the Swedish syllabus has a more diverse arsenal of topics that the students are to be taught.
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