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Study information

Principles and Practices of Curriculum Development and Syllabus Design

Module titlePrinciples and Practices of Curriculum Development and Syllabus Design
Module codeEFPM311
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Salah Troudi (Convenor)

Susan Riley (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This course will introduce you to the process of developing and  critiquing an EFL/ ESL curriculum and syllabus. Emphasising the teacher’s role in the Developing EFL courses, we will consider the various factors that come into play in the different stages of any course development process within a variety of educational contexts.  We will also examine different types of syllabuses used in language teaching, analysing their strengths and weaknesses.

This module will help formulate a macro perspective on a number of areas in English language teaching and how they intermingle in the process of course design. You will also develop a critical view of curriculum and syllabus design in order to analyse and scrutinize the stages of planning, implementing and evaluating courses in your own teaching context.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • To introduce the construct of curriculum in education and TESOL
  • To introduce a variety of approaches to syllabus design employed in foreign language teaching.
  • To provide the tools students need to scrutinize and critically analyze teaching programmes used in student's current and future teaching contexts.
  • To develop a good understanding of the role of the various participants in syllabus design, implementation and evaluation.
  • To link theory to practice in the process of curriculum and syllabus development

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate understanding of the main elements of curriculum and syllabus design
  • 2. critically evaluate a syllabus with reference to different approaches to syllabus design
  • 3. critically reflect on the roles of various participants in the syllabus design process
  • 4. apply tools to the design of a foreign language programme in a given socio-cultural setting

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. to learn both independently and co-operatively with peers from differing cultural and pedagogical backgrounds. This will be evidenced during group discussions and task completion
  • 6. to listen actively and effectively
  • 7. to give a presentation to an audience of peers drawing on an understanding of the academic literature as applied to practical teaching situations

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. to identify strategic options in the choices open to syllabus designers
  • 9. to evaluate the relative success of different strategies and approaches to syllabus design
  • 10. evaluate the merits of others' ideas

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Definitions of curriculum and syllabus; broad and narrow definitions, and the relationship between syllabus and curriculum.
  • A consideration of various aspects of syllabus design and the roles of different participants in these.
  • The role of needs analysis in the curriculum development process
  • An introduction to different approaches to syllabus design and underpinning theories of learning and language – including an examination of process and product orientated syllabuses and structural, procedural and negotiated syllabuses.
  • The role of materials
  • The role of testing and evaluation
  • The role of programme evaluation and critical issues in curriculum and syllabus design
  • Reflective discussion of student-led presentations on syllabi from different parts of the world

Assignment: Description and analysis of own syllabus in view of the elements of language syllabus discussed during this module. Critical reflection on elements of one's programme and discussion of suggested changes.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities15lectures and seminars
Guided independent study15directed reading
Guided independent study80self-study
Guided independent study40assignment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation15 minutes oral presentation7,10Post presentation oral feedback by tutor

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written Assignment1003,750 words1-4, 8-9Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Written AssignmentResubmission of assignment1-4, 8-96 weeks

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Brown, J. D. (2016). Introducing needs analysis and English for specific purposes. London: Routledge
  • Castro, F. (2018). Curriculum development in Latin American cultures. In J. I. Liontas (Ed.) The TESOL Encyclopedia of English language teaching. (Project Editor: Margo DelliCarpini). Hoboken, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc
  • Christison, M. and D.E. Murray (2014). What English language teachers need to know Volume III: Designing Curriculum. Roultedge: New York
  • Graves, K. (1996). Teachers as Course Developers. CUP
  • Nation, I.S.P. & Macalister, J. (2010). Language Curriculum Design. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. Nunan, D. (1989). Syllabus Design. OUP
  • Rea-Dickens, P and Germaine, K. (Eds.) (1998). Managing Evaluation and Innovation in Language Teaching. London: Longman
  • Richards, J. (2001) Curriculum Development in Language Teaching. Cambridge: OUP
  • Troudi, S. & Alwan, F.  (2010). Teachers’ Feelings during Curriculum Change in the United Arab Emirates: Opening Pandora’s Box. Teacher Development, Vol. 14 (1), pp. 107-122

Key words search

TESOL, Principles & Practices of Curriculum Development & Syllabus Design

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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