Autonomy and control in curriculum development: ‘Are you teaching what we all agreed?’

Mike Nix and Andy Barfield

in Maintaining Control

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9789622099234
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207165 | DOI:
Autonomy and control in curriculum development: ‘Are you teaching what we all agreed?’

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Transposing different issues to the area of curriculum development, this chapter draws an illuminating parallel between collaborative dialogue in the language classroom and processes of collaborative curriculum development entailing critically engaged dialogues with all participants involved, including students and part-time teaching staff. Relating and reflecting on their own experiences of engaging and coordinating various participant voices in the curriculum development process, this chapter makes the point that there is no curriculum without communication. However, it also highlights the challenge and complexity of this collaborative process, and problematise the notion of “equal, dialogic participation”, given the realities of unequal power relations and divergent perspectives among participants. The chapter concludes that the project of collaborative autonomy must always engage with questions of power.

Keywords: curriculum development; language classroom; power relations; classroom communication; collaborative autonomy

Chapter.  7484 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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