Autonomy, Negotiation and Collaboration: Student Participation in Curriculum Development

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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
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , , Autonomy, Negotiation and Collaboration: Student Participation in Curriculum Development


Dureshahwar Nazir

Faculty Coordinator, English Subjects for Applied Sciences and Textiles Students
English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dureshahwar is an ELT professional with a Masters Degree in English Literature from Pakistan and another MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching from the UK. With a teaching and research career spanning tertiary education in Pakistan and Hong Kong, Dureshahwar has engaged in several action research projects related to teaching and learning of English and curriculum development. Dureshahwar has led teams of materials writers and co-written and published a range of English language textbooks for applied sciences, financial management and fashion and textile students. Shari also conducts personal development training workshops with specific focus on persuasive presentations for business executives and marketing and management students. Dureshahwar has been awarded excellence of performance award by the Faculty Dean of Faculty of Communication (now Faculty of Humanities) for her role as the founder of the PolyU International Film Society at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which became a trail blazer in cultivating a stimulating cultural environment in the University and encouraging a host of similar organisations in its wake.

Dr. Valerie Wilson Trower

Fashion Academic Consultant and Doctoral Student, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies
The London College of Fashion, The University of Arts, London

Hong Kong, SAR, Hong Kong

An international fashion professional with a background in design, retailing and marketing, originally from the U.K., Valerie has lived and worked in Asia for more than eleven years running her own consultancy and lecturing in Visual Merchandising and Fashion Design for major academic institutions. Past clients include MTR, Shanghai Tang and The Diamond Trading Company. Currently completing her doctorate, registered at the London College of Fashion, The University of the Arts, London, Valerie has spoken widely: her research and publications inlcude work on Hong Kong's contemporary expatriate Western community, and visual merchandising, which she believes has a great future in Asia.

Ref: L09P1534