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Exploring discrepancies between beliefs and practices in ESL curriculum and syllabus design

In response to a questionnaire-based survey of teachers of English as a second language (ESL) (involving a sample of teachers from five different countries), more than one third indicated that the institution in which they worked either did not have an overall curriculum for the English courses offered or that they did not know whether it had one or not. Many respondents added comments indicating that the curriculum documents that were made available to them were inadequate, incomplete or unhelpful. In follow-up in-depth interviews with a sample of language programme managers, interviewees were asked a series of questions about their institutional curricula. All but one claimed that their institutions had curricula relating to their ESL programmes, that each of the courses offered was described in terms of levels with associated proficiency-style level descriptor statements and that there were ‘can do’ learning outcome statements associated with each course. However, a review of the curriculum documents provided by the interviewees did not always confirm their perceptions of them. This paper presents and discusses some of the findings of the research project as a whole, suggesting some possible reasons why there appears to be so much confusion and disagreement about the nature of the ESL curriculum.
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Fester, A. M., & Johnson, D. (2015). Exploring discrepancies between beliefs and practices in ESL curriculum and syllabus design. In C. Getsaki & T. Alexiou (Eds.), Current Issues in Second/Foreign Language Teaching and Teacher Development: Research and Practice (pp. 120–139). United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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