Self-directed curriculum renewal: A process analysis in one university French program
Author(s)Knowles, Mark Anthony
KeywordsEducation, Language and Literature
Sociology, Industrial and Labor Relations
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
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AbstractThe Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) movement and content-based instruction has fostered and coincided with greater adoption of more communicative approaches in the teaching of English throughout the world. In the highly decentralized world of post-secondary teaching in the US, LSP has had very few inroads outside of English as a Second Language departments. However, insights from the authors of two valuable approaches to curriculum design are the Ecology Model (Holliday and Cook, 1983) and the Appropriate Technology model (Markee, 1986), are related to a more traditional Munby-style needs analysis (Munby, 1978) and complement it with a learning environment analysis which they call a Means Analysis. In this study, a closely-related concept to Means Analysis called Process Analysis was developed. It was based on data from a major student needs survey with a questionnaire consisting of over 100 short items) and the results of a series of interviews and a survey of twenty teaching assistants at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An analysis of the technical culture of the teaching assistants is given based on the results of these data. The potential conflicts between the teaching assistants and the students are discussed, and a proposed negotiated solution, based on self-directed curriculum renewal, is given. Concerned with White's (1988) recommendation of the use of a normative-re-educative approach to innovation, this study focuses on the innovations identified by the users of the curriculum (students and teachers). The study provides both theoretical and empirical support to the belief that curriculum design is most effective when conceived in terms of a process analysis and a normative-re-educative approach, which take into account the receivers' perceptions of innovations as an essential element in the process of change.