Content-based language instruction in a tertiary setting

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-138
Journal / PublicationEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


This paper reports on an approach to the development of a large-scale content-based language instruction curriculum in an English medium, tertiary setting. It describes (a) the antecedents and theoretical basis for content-based language instruction, (b) how this relates to the background and rationale for the project under review, (c) the original curriculum framework for the project, and (d) the revised framework developed in the light of experience. Although certain prerequisites are necessary for the adoption in other contexts of a content-based approach such as the one reported, the main strength of the project is emphasised as its ability to reduce tension between learners, content-teachers, and language teachers, as illustrated by specific features of the programme. This paper reports on a large scale experimental content-based language curriculum which has been developed over the last decade at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Sultanate of Oman. Although there is considerable literature based on various aspects of this programme (Adams-Smith 1984; Bilton & Fahmy 1990; Fahmy & Bilton 1989a, 1989b, 1989c; Flowerdew 1990; Griffiths 1989; Stevens 1991), there is no single paper which provides an overview of the project. This paper sets out to describe the rationale, planning, implementation, evaluation, and revisions for the project as a whole. The paper is presented as a case study of how content-based language instruction can be applied in a situation where a more traditional ESP type programme would normally be employed. © 1993.