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Friday, June 18, 2010

Curriculum Design: Part 1

I have just started reading a book about curriculum design and I thought that writing down what I understand from the book may be a good way of processing and reflecting on what I am learning. I have decided then, to do so here on my blog, so I apologise if my next few posts are really boring and complicated - I'm writing them for myself rather than for my (very small) audience. Just ignore my posts that begin with Curriculum Design!

I am going to be thinking about a specific group of students whom I have been teaching for the past two years, and will possibly continue with next year. These students have not had a book because they wanted conversational type lessons in order to maintain their level of English and increase their comprehension and fluency. I have had lot of help with lesson planning from this year! The group are middle-aged students who do not need English for their job, but really see their lessons as a hobby. This is the class I will be analysing for the purposes of the tasks in the book.

Before planning a course, it is important to think about the following subjects, and to ask yourself a few questions:

What are the levels of the learners and how I am I going to deal with variation in proficiency?
How am I going to encourage autonomy through the course?
How am I going to deal with students' lack of time outside of class to study English?

What do students want to achieve during the course? Long term and short term goals.
Which aspects of ELL do students want to work on most?

Which methodologies would best suit this group?
How can I introduce different methodologies into the lessons?

What are the main aims of the course?
How can I choose the goals from students' needs and wants?

Should the syllabus be lexical/functional/grammatical/skills based?
How will I decide the order of language items to be presented?
How often will I recycle language?

How can I effectively assess progress without the use of tests?

Evaluation (during and after the course) - Is the course successful?
Does it meet its aims?
Are students and teachers happy?

I need to consider these aspects in order to design a suitable curriculum for my learners. As I have not found a suitable course book for this group, I am going to design my own course, based on their needs. I am hoping this book will help me do so in a systematic way.
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