This collection of papers emerging from the 1983 TESOL Convention in Toronto examines the role of general syllabuses in state education, at that time a relatively neglected area in comparison with ESP syllabuses. Authors of papers were invited to address three key aspects: the relationship between syllabus and learner; the design of syllabuses; and how a syllabus should be evaluated.

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The first paper, by HH Stern, provides a useful historical overview, as well as highlighting differences of perspective expressed at the conference, including his own viewpoint. Janice Yalden flags up the negotiation processes involved in designing a syllabus, before addressing basic organising principles. HG Widdowson relates language syllabus issues to the general educational context. Following chapters by Candlin, Breen and Allen, the publication ends with the editor Christopher Brumfit’s chapter on syllabuses and English language learners’ heterogeneous needs.

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