The purpose of this thesis is to give an account of the role of the discourse competence component in the one-year and two-year foundation course1 in common general studies of the upper secondary school in Norway. My focus will be to investigate the syllabi and selected textbooks2 which have been intended to cover the aims of the 1976, 1990 and 1994 curricula for upper secondary education. My expectation is that the focus on discourse competence, as a component of communicative competence, has changed in the period of the implementations of the three curricula. I found it natural to investigate some acclaimed and representative textbooks published in relation to the curricula, as they have been and still are very central to the teaching of English in the classroom.Background:So, why discourse? Discourse and discourse competence in language teaching are important issues for several reasons. First and foremost, it is the notion that language is much more than isolated to the sentence itself. The traditional grammatical and linguistic devices and rules are not sufficient as guidelines to produce a language in context intended for communication. Second, students should learn how to produce written and oral texts that are coherent in thoughts and ideas, and how to use cohesive devices to link these ideas together. The use of such techniques and strategies is one characteristic of the “good” language learner. Therefore, I chose to look at how authors of different textbooks have included and focused on the discourse component in their works during the period central to this thesis. The foundation course, being the first year of upper secondary education in Norway, is a step into the proficient use of English as a foreign language. Students meet challenges both during their studies and professional life which require a good command of the language. The ability to develop a good discourse competence is therefore important.1) The curriculum of 1976 implemented one-year and two-year foundation courses. In the 1994 curriculum only one-year foundation courses exist.2) Textbooks must be understood as the course books provided to the pupils attending the actual course, containing various literary texts and activities.A secondary focus of this thesis has been to illuminate the role of discourse competence in second language teaching. Early in my current study I took interest in the discourse competence component of the communicative teaching approach. First of all, I felt that I lacked knowledge about discourse competence and wanted to find out more about it. The more I learned what discourse and discourse competence meant, and still mean, I have understood the value of including discourse strategies in second language teaching. My practice as upper secondary school teacher in foreign languages, has given me insight to how discourse has been used – or not used – in the classroom. I have also through this study seen the importance of a focus on discourse competence through the pupils’ production of oral and written texts.Aims:The overall aim of this thesis is presented in the following question:- How is the discourse competence concept reflected in syllabi, textbooks and workbooks in the period 1976 - 2003?In detail, the aim of this thesis is to answer the following set of questions:- What is the focus of discourse competence in the 1976, 1990 and 1994 syllabi?- What is the focus of discourse competence in textbooks and workbooks selected?- Has there been a shift of focus during the period in question?Validity and reliabilityIn the process of analysing syllabi and textbooks with a focus on discourse features, decisions had to be made. Of practical reasons I had to make a selection of areas to focus on in order to keep within the limits of a thesis. I have attempted to justify these selections in the discussions prior to the analysis of the textbooks and syllabi and in the presentation of the chosen categories.The validity of this thesis is to what extent the measurements measure what it is intended to measure. The results are based on a thorough investigation of the targets of the syllabi in question and activities provided in the textbooks/workbooks selected. The reliability refers to how consistent the measurement instrument is, and whether this instrument will produce the same results in a different setting with the same aims. The selection of material investigated is limited. I have attempted to prepare an instrument which measure the same type of data even if I selected a different material for investigation. This instrument is expressed in a didactic model.