Autonomy, Negotiation and Collaboration: Student Participation in Curriculum Development
This study presents a novel approach in the exercise of autonomy where students were asked to participate in redesigning a course curriculum and materials to suit their personal and professional language needs. In response to the institution-wide restructuring of courses, a new professional English training subject was developed after an inquiry into the textiles and clothing industry and discussions with the teaching staff. Although the content was highly subject-specific and the assessments were designed to reflect the actual practices in the industry so that students could be primed for their profession, the students and teachers of the first offer of the course felt that there was a need to further develop some of the new ideas introduced in the first offer. A group of students were then involved in interviewing their classmates with the aim of identifying the changes that they deemed necessary and soliciting specific ideas for language activities. The information collected by these students was further negotiated with the course developers and technical assistants.
This paper aims at finding out the extent to which students were able to exercise their skills of negotiation and collaboration with their fellow classmates, the course developers and assistants in order to bring a change to the design and materials of the course. We will draw on data collected through student and staff interviews to investigate whether there are mutual benefits to be reaped from this synergistic relationship in terms of developing materials as well as students’ awareness of how engagement in negotiation and collaboration could lead to increased autonomy in making decisions regarding course curriculum and materials.
Keywords: Curriculum Design, Learner Created Materials, Learners as Researchers, Online Image Database for Fashion
Faculty Coordinator, English Subjects for Applied Sciences and Textiles Students
Dr. Valerie Wilson Trower
Fashion Academic Consultant and Doctoral Student, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies