Nunan, D. (1988) The Learner-centred Curriclum: A Study in Second Language Teaching, University of Cambridge, Melbourne, Australia.
Hilda, Taba (1962) Curriculum Development: Theory and practice, New York: Harcourt Brace, page 12.
Jeffs, T. and Smith, M. K. (2005) Informal Education. Conversation, democracy and learning, Nottingham: Educational Heretics Press. Smith, M. K. (1996, 2000) 'Curriculum theory and practice' the encyclopaedia of informal education
Norton, B. (1995) Social Identity, Investment, and Language Learning, TESOL Quarterly , Vol. 29, No. 1. pp. 9-31
Black, P. et al. (2003), Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice , Open University Press, Buckingham, United Kingdom.
Re designing assessment
reDESIGNING ASSESSMENT QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.Proposed Curriculum change
the GROUP AND the COURSE QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.A Private Training Centre funded by the Skills Funding Agency and bound to the ESOL Core Curriculum and the City and Guilds QuickTimeª and a Examining body. decompressor are needed to see this picture. Cohorts: ESOL Entry 3 students between the ages of 19 and 55. Learners form Somalia, Turkey, Iran, France, Poland and Finland. Context: learners are unemployed and join the course as part of the government’s employment strategy to get the unemployed into work. There is an employability aspect to the course, i.e. job search, cover letter and CV writing. Learners attend for 3 days a week over 12 weeks.
QuickTimeª and a SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT decompressor are needed to see this picture. • Exams do not encourage inclusive practice. The aspect of curriculum QuickTimeª and a design that I propose decompressor • Exams are limiting and needs change isare needed to see this picture. limited and can only evaluate summative assessment. a small part of learner progress. Summative assessment on my course is through a final exam administered by a QuickTimeª and a government approved QuickTimeª and a decompressor decompressor examining body. are needed to see this picture. are needed to see this picture.
the Course CurriculumThe course curriculum at my training centre is the national ESOL CoreCurriculum. It sets out the Basic Skills Standards, Component skills,examples of application, and sample activities.The ESOL Core Curriculum is a product based curriculum. Itsets objectives, draws up a plan on how to deliver theseobjectives, gives suggestions on how to apply the plan andmeasures outcome through a final exam. (Tyler 1949: 44) It is also aset document of content/knowledge to be transmitted to the learner to affectchange in behaviour. QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
Planning the product curriculum• Step 1: Diagnosis of need• Step 2: Formulation of objectives• Step 3: Selection of content• Step 4: Organization of content• Step 5: Selection of learning experiences• Step 6: Organization of learning experiences• Step 7: Determination of what to evaluate + of the ways + means of doing it.(Taba 1962)
THE PROBLEM WITH A PRODUCT-BASED APPROACH TO CURRICULUM ‘Product-based approaches (to curriculum) tend to involve working on, not with, people.The focus is on changing individuals in ways set out by others.’ (Jeff and Smith, 2005). The learners are ‘told what they must learn and how they will do it. The success or failure of both the programme and the individual learners is judged on the basis of whether pre-specified changes occur in the behaviour and person of the learner’ (Smith, 2000). Which is in direct contrast with theories of Andragogy.The Problem with a Product-based Approach to CurriculumIt does not take into account the needs of the individual learner and so Inclusive practice is not incorporated into the curriculum design. No inclusion of cultural differences educational backgrounds, l e a r n in g s t y l e s , personality, mood, language varieties real life situations.The Problem with a Product-based Approach to CurriculumTo measure outcomes ‘things have to be broken down into smaller and smaller units. The focus on pre- specified goals may lead both educators and learners to overlook learning that is occurring as a result of their interactions, but which is not listed as an objective.’ (Smith, 2000)
CORE CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT FOR THE TEACHING CONTEXT QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. I t is impossible t o t each t he ent ire core curriculum in 12 weeks. CHANGES ALREADY MADE:To achieve greater flexibility when aiming for success and learner development, the key elements of the Core Curriculum are used as a quality standard for developing resources and lesson plans rather than as a ‘canon’ to be strictly adhered to. I have developed the curriculum to meet the requirements of my specific learners to ensure meaningful development and to ensure inclusivity. E.g. I have added reading newspapers to the curriculum to meet real life needs, included topics such as Guy Fawkes celebrations, work on the London Underground, paper craft. To include learners in directing learning outcomes I use classroom interaction between teacher, learners and the information being taught to inform changes to the curriculum. As such learners are invested (Norton, 1995) in and enjoy lessons more as their interests or requirements influence what is taught, and confidence in L2 increases significantly.
IS ONE MODEL OF CURRICULUM ENOUGH? QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.In an attempt to address the limits of the Core Curriculum, a process model of curriculum has crept into my development of the course curriculum.A process model requires ‘the principles and features of the educational encounter’ (Schwartz, 2008) to be set out clearly and then tested and moderated by each teacher in each class, each making judgments and adding meaning to the process. (Stenhouse 1975: 142)The class is inclusive. I accommodate disadvantages. I make it clear that, that equality is paramount and that the end result is to improve language, to improve job prospects, and improve life. From this perspective my role becomes that of a guide through a journey unique to the particular class. QuickTimeª and aBut this is not always enough. As the classes are run on a roll-on roll-off basis the decompressor context of the class experience requires curriculum to take into consideration are needed to see this picture. more than process.
CONTEXT MODEL To address the constant changes to the class dynamic, my curriculum development often moves into a CONTEXT model, an ongoing social process comprised of the interactions of students, teachers, knowledge and milieu (Cornbleth, 1990). QuickTimeª and a decompressor QuickTimeª and aare needed to see this picture. decompressor are needed to see this picture.
EXAM DEFINES CONTEXT The context based curriculum attempts to address the educational and professional context of the class and make this explicit and defined. It ‘reflects current or prevailing educational or social ideology, culture, politics, economy, students, teachers… professional bodies, exam boards, history...’ (Mckim, 2003)It is the context defined by the corecurriculum and exam boards that limitsmy class situation and curriculum. It means that …• I must phrase comprehension questions to mirror the QuickTimeª and a idiosyncrasies of the exam board. decompressor• some topics are stressed despite are needed to see this picture. their relevance to learners.• the direction of lessons must continually be restrained to ensure exam success to meet funding targets.
A Dynamic curriculum Ultimately what is needed is a curricular cycle that is dynamic, withongoing assessment that counts towards final summative assessment. The curricular cycle “involves development through needs assessment, design and implementation phases. After this, outcomes are reviewed and evaluated against the original needs assessment… The emphasis on different aspects varies with the participants’ and teachers’ perceived needs (Peyton and Peyton, 1998). The Core Curriculum and its method of assessment means that the benefits of this type of curriculum development is not measured or accounted for.
The LIMITS of ASSESSMENT by FINAL EXAM Exam Success, determines funding in the educational private sector. Targets can be set as high as 90% exam pass rates. But QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.• ‘The use of test scores for purposes which affect the status or future of students, teachers or schools, results in teachers focusing teaching on the test content, training students in how to pass tests, and adopting teaching styles which do not match the preferred learning style of many students’ (Johnston & McClune, 2000).• For learners with specific problems, such as dyslexia, ADD, or exam anxiety, this method of assessment directly works against them. The progressive ‘interaction of student, teacher, knowledge and milleu’ (Cornbleth, 1990) that develops students confidence and intrinsic understanding of communication in their new language cannot be assessed by one final exam which seems to primarily test a learner’s ability to handle stress.• Summative assessment can work to demotivate learners by allowing no chance to address mistakes. ‘Only formative assessment motivates’ (Black, et al 2003).
How change? QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.Although it is widely recognised that exams can only test a set QuickTimeª and a range of skills, the Core Curriculum is still exam driven. There needs to bedecompressor include features of the the opportunity to learning environment, as well as the actual process of learning and teaching, ‘The to see this picture. puts it (1977), in are needed hidden curriculum’ as Willis the assessment aspect of the curriculum model. Assessment of course work, Assessment of class involvement, as well as exam Assessment, minimizes the effects of exam fear, the inability to sit for long periods, the anxiety of facing new material or a strict adherence to a ‘correct’ answer on achievement and learners confidence to move forward.
QuickTimeª and a decompressor RARPA are needed to see this picture. The Recognition and Recording of Progress and Achievement (RARPA)• The application of an explicit and common staged process to the recognition and recording of progress and achievement.• The validation of the consistent and effective application of this staged process through a range of judgments about the application of the staged process. (NIACE and the Learning and Skills Development Agency, 2001, 2002)
Accredited RARPA• Although RARPA is a method devised to recognise and record progress and achievement in non-accredited learning, its principles could be useful to QuickTimeª and a teachers and learners on accredited courses. A curricular cycle requires constant assessment, and these assessments decompressor in final determination of could be formally documented and included are needed to see this picture. achievement. I propose a shift in measuring progress on accredited courses to include RARPA.
CONCLUSION QuickTimeª and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.Without a change to the way in which achievement is assessed the true worth of the curriculum is lost.The curriculum remains narrow, teaching is judged ontargeted learning codes rather than learner progress andthe real achievements of the learner are disregarded and the possibilities of the learning process are reduced.