Moving Beyond the Grammatical Syllabus : Practical Strategies for Content-Based Curriculum Design book cover
1st Edition

Moving Beyond the Grammatical Syllabus
Practical Strategies for Content-Based Curriculum Design

ISBN 9780367819163
Published December 7, 2021 by Routledge
106 Pages

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Book Description

In this concise and practical book, Martel advocates for a content-based approach to foreign language curriculum design that emphasizes communicative competence, cognitive engagement, and social justice. Intended primarily for busy teachers with limited preparation time, the book includes:

  • An introduction to content-based instruction and its use to date in foreign language education
  • Step-by-step strategies for designing content-based unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments
  • A complete curricular unit that serves as a guiding example, including nine lesson plans and a summative assessment

The book is accompanied by a website that will feature additional examples of content-based curricular materials across a range of languages and proficiency levels, available at

Table of Contents

List of Tables



1- CBI and Foreign Language Education

2- Conceptualizing Content in Unit Planning

3- Balancing Language and Content in Unit Planning

4- Balancing Language and Content in Lesson Planning


Appendix A- Thematic Unit Plan Template

Appendix B- Standards by Subject

Appendix C- Content Research Planning Guide

Appendix D- Language Analysis Planning Guide

Appendix E- Lesson Objectives Planning Guide

Appendix F- Lesson Plan Template

Appendix G- Complete Unit Example: (Anti)racism in Quebec

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Jason Martel is an associate professor of TESOL/TFL at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA.


"Jason Martel punctuates each chapter with examples from one of his own content-based courses, Social Issues in Contemporary Québec, and includes a unit from the course in the appendices. These detailed examples elucidate how to apply the principles of CBI in foreign language classrooms to move beyond the grammatical syllabus." - Kristin Davin, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA

"This book presents a highly accessible and thoroughly researched look at how to design language curricula using CBI principles. Secondary and postsecondary language educators will benefit greatly from its clear explanations and numerous examples and resources." - Kate Paesani, Director, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), University of Minnesota, USA

"Jason Martel’s passion for, dedication to, and expertise in CBI design for the language classroom informs every page of this book. Guided by his own journey in researching and applying CBI in practice, it is a must read for any teacher seeking to integrate meaningful content into the language classroom." - Francis J. Troyan, The Ohio State University, USA