A syllabus is a guide for lessons that outlines the subjects to be taught and all other important information regarding a particular course or class.
As a teacher, you can use this document to break down the topics for a particular subject that you will teach during your lesson, alongside the tests and exams to be covered for the specific course or class. The intention is to help students, administrators, and colleagues understand what you plan to teach during a particular lesson.
The concept of a syllabus is common in education, from middle school and high school to college or university. As a teacher, you are expected to plan out the topics you intend to teach your students during a particular lesson. You must provide this syllabus in electronic or hard copy form at the beginning of the semester or term.
This document will act as a guide to ensure that the students know the topics to be taught under a particular subject, why they are studying these subjects, and what is expected from them at the end of each lesson. A syllabus can also comfortably provide the resources required to teach your students properly.
For teachers, planning out a whole semester or term of teaching can be overwhelming, so the best thing to do is to use a syllabus template to prepare your syllabus. You must ensure that you include all the required information to benefit you and your students. A properly and effectively prepared syllabus is likely to set the tone for your term or semester.
Students who already know what to expect to learn better, which makes work easier for you as the teacher. Therefore, it is important to prepare and have a syllabus for you and your students.
Who Can Benefit from a Syllabus?
A syllabus is important not only to you as the teacher but also to your students. It is also beneficial to other parties like administrators and colleagues. Therefore, it is important for you to prepare a syllabus.
Here are some benefits the following parties can get from having a syllabus:
As a teacher, a syllabus will help you to plan out the details of everything you intend to do and teach in your class on a daily basis. Also, it helps you to map out and acts as a reminder of what you are supposed to handle with your students in a particular term or semester.
Since you already have details of what you need to teach, a syllabus offers you a chance to prepare for your class before time. This way, you will have all the required resources and confidence needed to teach your students successfully.
For students, preparing a syllabus for them will be beneficial in that they will be aware of what to expect from you during class and throughout the semester. Your students will have knowledge of the topics to be covered, the homework they will need to complete, and be informed of when the assignments and exams will be handled.
Also, with a syllabus, you will be able to motivate your students to find the required resources and study on their own. This way, you can easily identify students who need extra teaching from you.
Administrators also benefit from your syllabus in that they will need to check that the level of education and knowledge you are offering to your students is of the required standards. They will also use your syllabus to ensure you are teaching the right thing at the right time and you are using the right materials to do so.
The colleagues, especially those in your department, will need to review your syllabus in case they need to know how far you are with your teaching or if and when they are required to cover for you in your absence. Other colleagues like substitute teachers and new teachers would also greatly benefit from your syllabus, especially if there was a transition from one class to another.
Important Elements in a Syllabus Template
A syllabus template is an already outlined document that has specific helpful features. You can use a syllabus template to easily and quickly create your syllabus. With a syllabus template, your work becomes easier and less challenging to prepare.
As a teacher, you need to have access to a syllabus template since it also saves time and reduces the stress associated with formatting and preparing a syllabus. With a syllabus template, you can use it multiple times to create your syllabus with ease.
There are specific components that you must look for in a syllabus template to ensure you have the right document for the job.
Here are the components of a good syllabus template as they will guide and ensure that you have the complete and correct information in your syllabus:
As the teacher, you are the instructor, and you must have a section where you will include your information. These details include your name, contact information, office hours, AIs and TAs (teaching assistants), and contact information.
You will also need to include your credentials which may include your degrees alongside your title. This will help to show anyone going through your syllabus template that you are qualified for the position.
It is also helpful for your colleagues and students if you include your room number, office location, and how you can be reached during non-class hours in the section of instructor’s information.
There should also be a course information section in your template. This section will require the following details: the course title, course number and section, classroom number(s) and building, semester, meeting day(s), and time(s) for face to face classes, required materials, prerequisites, and co-requisite (if any), and other learning formats like blended or online.
Class’s name and official course code
You need to indicate your class name and official course code in your syllabus template. You can choose a class name, but you must stick with the provided course code. This is because the course code is used for the enrollment of students at the administrative level.
This information is essential and must be included in your template since it ensures proper organization and contextualization of your syllabus. Remember, your class name and official course code makes up your syllabus titles.
Credit hours include the hours your students are supposed to attend to complete your lessons. You need to highlight the total credit hours stipulated by the school for the semester. This way, students understand that they must attend class to attain those hours before the school can accept that they have fully undertaken the course.
Course and school policies
The course and school policies are details that must be in the syllabus template. This entails your position regarding attendance, late assignments, missing assignments, participation, and incomplete grades.
You can provide the institution’s original requirement when it comes to policies by maintaining the language used or by providing links for your students to access the school policies themselves.
You can also create policies on how you expect the students to behave, how you will grade them, and your attendance requirements. The bottom line is to promote honesty among the students. When listing these policies, list the course policies separately from the school policies.
For this section of your syllabus template, you will need to describe the course according to the details in the course listings and any prerequisite courses related to your course. Ensure your course description is motivational in a way that encourages them to look forward to the upcoming lessons.
For course objectives, focus on what the students need to learn or do successfully after the course has been completed. The objectives should be brief and help your students master your lessons’ hard and soft skills.
In your syllabus template, course expectations include both what you expect from the students and what the students should expect from you.
Materials and resources required
Your syllabus template should also indicate the materials and resources you will be using to teach. These include books, online resources, academic tools like calculators, studying software, textbooks, Open education resources (OER), reference materials, and many more.
Class calendar and schedule
The syllabus template must have a class calendar for proper scheduling of assignments and tests. Also, this section will provide due dates, i.e., the start and end dates for in-class assignments, homework, essays, and lab assignments. Other details you will need to include in this section of your syllabus template include the duration of your lessons, holidays, and other dates of interest to your teaching.
For grading, this section of your syllabus template must highlight how you intend to reward marks and points to your students on their report cards at the end of the session. You can give your students 4 assignments with two assignments having 20 points each, one assignment with 10 points, and the final assignment with 50 points. The other remaining tasks to complete the 400 points are the midterm exams and the final exams for 150 points each.
You can also show the students how you will grade their total points in your syllabus template. You can use letters as shown: A is for 360 points and above, B is for 320 to 360 points, C is for 280 to 320 points, D is for 240 to 280 points, and F is for 240 points and below.
Steps to Create a Flawless Syllabus
Apart from using a syllabus template to create your syllabus, you can also follow the steps below to create a proper syllabus. With these seven steps, you will be able to create an effective and complete syllabus just like you would when using a template:
Step 1: Decide a course goal
The first step is to create a course goal. Your class will need a goal that you will use to determine if they have grasped what you have been teaching them. Without a set goal, both you and your students will not have a clear “finish line” for the class. Your goal should be brief and should focus on what you would like your students to know or do after completing a subject, lesson, and even the entire course.
Step 2: Layout all the resources and materials
With a goal in place, you should research and lay out all the resources and materials you will use to teach your students so as to achieve this goal. This step can be tedious and time-consuming, but you will need to find and discover every possible material you require to make your teaching successful. Some of the resources you might need include textbooks, workbooks, online activities, smart boards, and reference materials.
Step 3: Create a class calendar
The next step will be to create a class calendar for reference for your students and administrators. Some of the important details you need to include in your class calendar include duration, due dates, holidays, substitute teachers, start dates, end dates, and other dates of interest. The class calendar is there to aid you in identifying all variables that might affect the smooth handling of your syllabus.
Ensure that you check with your personal calendar as you create the class calendar to identify the days you will be on holiday or have to take off. You should also look out for religious holidays that might result in some of your students not being in class for lessons. With the class calendar, you can schedule field trips, assignments, tests, quizzes, and even exams. Listing all these essential dates in your class calendar will be beneficial for you, your students, and your administrators.
Step 4: Note any policies that differ from school policies
You will need to identify and include any policies that you have that are different from the school or from the policies of other classes in your department. Your syllabus is the document you will use to make any changes regarding activities that require a hands-on approach. These are activities that might affect your attendance policy or even affect the style and materials you use for teaching. You need to include such updates so as to keep your students informed.
Step 5: Decide grading systems, scales, and curves
For colleges and universities, you will be required to include the grading system, scales, and curves. You need to ensure that your students and administrators are aware of how you intend to handle your marking. The main grading system that most teachers use is the one where you are supposed to assign a letter to a percentage range; for example, A is for 90 to 100%.
When you change the grading scale, it means that you will have to indicate in your syllabus that you have changed the letters that are meant to correspond with a particular percentage range; for example, you can change and intend for A to represent 80 to 100%. For the grading curve, you can change it to allow your students to gain more points than the highest point of 100%.
In case your materials and topics are hard to understand and grasp, it is best to use a grading curve. This way, you avoid having students with grades that will be considered a failure in a grading system or scale. These systems are better as they keep the students motivated and allow them to earn more points through extra credit work and makeup work.
Step 6: Create statements on academic integrity and etiquette
As you create your syllabus, you also need to establish statements that focus on the need for academic integrity and etiquette. Ensure your student are aware that you will not accept cheating and dishonesty in your class. You can also include basic etiquette rules they are expected to follow when they are in your class, for example, dress appropriately, respect fellow students, no phones allowed in class, etc.
Step 7: Review your syllabus
At this last step, it is time to go back and review your syllabus. You can go through it by yourself to correct any mistakes and add any missing information. This is especially beneficial if you are the highest authority when it comes to that particular subject. Also, you can choose to give it to fellow teachers to go through in the form of peer review. Either way, just ensure that you proofread and edit your syllabus.
Having a syllabus template is beneficial as it guarantees that you have included all the information needed to prepare your syllabus. These templates also help to make your syllabus neat and appealing as they offer specific formats that you can use. This is why you need to access our syllabus templates online.
With these templates, you will make the process of creating a syllabus easier and less time-consuming. Also, our templates are free to download, easy to use, and can easily be customized to your preference. Use our templates today and enjoy the process of creating your own syllabus.
Difference Between Syllabus and Curriculum
The terms syllabus and curriculum are common terms in education. They, however, do not mean the same. While a syllabus is focused on the lessons and subjects, a curriculum focuses on the all-round development of a student.
Some factors that can help establish the difference between a syllabus and a curriculum are:
A syllabus is a document that acts as a guide for all the topics and concepts to be discussed under a particular subject, while a curriculum is a whole content, both academic and non-academic, like sports, which should be taught to a student throughout a course or education system.
The term syllabus is known to have originated from a Greek word, while the curriculum is a term that comes from a Latin word.
A syllabus is a document that provides a breakdown for a subject, while a curriculum focuses on a course or a number of classes when and where the subject will be taught.
A syllabus is descriptive in nature, which means that it can be changed and does not follow a particular rigid style. However, a curriculum is prescriptive in nature, which means that it is not flexible and must be observed fully with no changes. To make changes the curriculum will involve many important parties in education but to change a syllabus is all up to you as the teacher who is creating it.
The scope of the syllabus is narrow as it focuses on the subjects, while the scope of the curriculum is wide as it entails the whole educational system. The scope of the syllabus is all about the lessons, topics, exams, quizzes, reference materials, and assignments. When it comes to the curriculum, the focus is on the knowledge, behavior, performance, manner, attitude, and skills that a student should learn. It also entails the whole scope of the syllabus alongside physical and mental exercises.
Set out by
A syllabus is set out and approved by the exam board who expects schools and teachers to adhere to it and indicate the details in case they make any changes to the syllabus. However, the curriculum is set out by the government or the administration of a particular learning institution.
A syllabus lasts as long as one year on most occasions. The term for a syllabus is usually fixed. On the other hand, a curriculum lasts until the course is completed.
In the case of a curriculum, it is always uniform for all teachers and their students; however, the syllabus is different from teacher to teacher.
A syllabus is an important document for you as a teacher as it helps you break down the topics and subjects for your lessons. With a properly prepared one, you will also benefit your students, administrators, and colleagues with your syllabus. Ensure you observe the steps provided in the article to create your syllabus.
Also, you can use our syllabus templates to create your syllabus easily and within less time. Whether it is middle school, high school, or college, as a teacher, you should always have a syllabus to ensure everyone around you is aware of what you plan on teaching.