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The 3 “Us” in a Syllabus Design Guide for English at Secondary Level

The 3 “Us”  in a good Syllabus Design Guide: Unambiguous, Up-to-Date, and Useful, not only for the Oposición but also for your classes. This is my view. What is yours? You have an opportunity to tell me about it here!

A Syllabus Design Guide should be


Or to put it less ambiguously,  clear (I had to look for a synonym to get the first “U”: Clear foundations, clear guidelines to follow, clear examples, clear legislation on which it is based.


Which is exactly why I am currently revising the book  I published with Editorial MAD-7 Editores on Programación Didáctica. To incorporate some changes and improvements in learning theories, teaching techniques, etc. Also to adapt it to the LOMCE  (clarifying concepts such as “learning standards”, “learning outcomes”, etc.)

Hang on, a minute, though…

If the LOMCE is finally repealed, will it affect the Guide and, therefore, your Syllabus Design?

Let me tell you a little secret. When the LOMCE came into force, in the academic year 2015-16, I kept telling my students that, if they had

  • a sound syllabus design, with all the essential elements,
  • something which was of their own making,
  • and based on their experience as English teachers in Secondary schools,

They would only have to make a few “adaptations” to comply with the new legislation. This is what one of those students said to me, after getting her position last year:

I was a bit lost with the syllabus and Lomce/Loe at the beginning, but finally, I think your advice re. not investing too much time on it was a good one.

So, even if the LOMCE curricula may be soon repealed, I don’t think the key elements will change much for English just as they haven’t changed much from LOE to LOMCE.

We may need to make a few adjustments, that’s all.

What is truly important is to be innovative, realistic and keep abreast of teaching techniques and resources. That is why the book will be supplemented with a variety of posts here, at POPPIES (Preparación-Oposición-Profesores-Pública-Inglés-Enseñanza-Secundaria)


And I mean, useful not only for the Oposición or Competitive Exam but also for your classes.

I am fully aware of the fact that the syllabus you present at the Competitive Exam needs to be “ideal”. I also agree with the comment expressed here concerning the Oposiciones for teachers  Yet, I am also convinced that, in English, how you present your rationale, and your unit is essential to get a good enough mark and the position you are after. In my experience, those who sound closer to reality and explain how they approach things in real classroom situations, stand better chances.

Which brings me to the question I would like to ask you:

What would you like to find in the Guide?

I am finishing the revision of the Foundations, with all the elements I consider essential. It is very much like in the 2008-2012 edition, but, hopefully, clearer and improved.

Tomorrow is February, 7th. Charles Dickens’ 205 birth anniversary and, for me, a date of particular significance.

So, although I have always taken into account the comments and feedback from my students, I would  like to extend it to those subscribed to the Poppies’ blog and who are not my students, and also to anybody who may read this post:

What would YOU —as a “Candidato a la Oposición a Profesor de inglés de enseñanza secundaria” or as a teacher— like to find in such a guide?

If you drop me a line about your needs before Friday 10th, I’ll see what I can do to oblige. I’ll consider any proposal, as long as it is something I can honestly do and does not go against my morals.

Apasionada de la lengua inglesa y sus múltiples matices, mi objetivo es ayudarte en la preparación de la oposición a profesores de inglés y contribuir a que la escuela pública ofrezca la enseñanza de calidad –de y en lengua inglesa– que nuestros alumnos necesitan en el s. XXI

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Comments (2)

  1. Assumpta
    Jul 20, 2017

    Dear Paloma,
    I am a secondary teacher and I have just read your nice post. There were many things on it which made me feel really identified and I totally agree with most of your statements.
    Although I am not pretty sure that “Oposiciones” for Secondary teachers will take place in Catalonia in 2018, I have started compiling materials to prepare my syllabus and the topics for the”Oposición”.
    I have the books of MAD (the former ones, though) to help me organise the topics but I don’t really know to what extent I can give them a personal approach. Also, I am afraid about the LOMCE dimensions and competences assessment: how to tackle every didactic unit taking into account the new criteria. I would really like to have your comments on these matters to lower my anxiety. I have the impression that the more I learn, the less I know…Thanks in advance for your attention and your help.

    • Paloma González-Nash
      Jul 25, 2017

      Dear Assumpta,
      Thank you very much for your comment. Re. the MAD materials, just to highlight that we have published with them the book on Programación Didáctica and the texts for the Practicum. The topics are not ours. I do cover 22 topics in the Poppies Foundation Course and 5-6 more on the Building Block 1 and another 5-6 in Building Block 2. I will be including a few more in Building Block 3, which I am currently selecting.
      Re the LOMCE, the new edition of Programación Didáctica covers all the key issues. I will also try in my next post on flipping to explain how I would implement it with my unit 10, which is described in full detail in the book.
      Re. the personal approach: Consider how you would like to cover the topic in question and then set yourself to answering the questions you want to cover in line with the title of the topic. Perhaps the posts on how to write essays will help. I will try and arrange them so that they are easy for readers to find them. Again, this is something we cover in more detail in the Poppies Courses. If you want me to send you specific information, let me know and I will.

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