Converging the Curriculum Designer’s Intentions into a Foreign Language Classroom
Keywords:Actor-Network Theory, Curriculum Design, Japanese Undergraduate Students, Learning Environment
AbstractIn any educational institutions, designing curricula would be one of the most important processes for educating students with coherence and efficiency. They are also tools for institutions to make their teaching philosophy visible to their students and teachers. This research analyses how a foreign language class was constructed from two different perspectives: 1) how the curriculum shaped the class under study (macro-level analysis); and 2) how the environment formed the class (micro-level analysis). This study can be considered as a sequel to my previous study that looked at differences in on-task behaviour in two compulsory English classes for Japanese undergraduate students, taught in different environments: a regular classroom and a computer room. The result showed that the environmental differences altered their learning behaviour. Leading on from the previous study, this study investigated why there were differences in learning behaviour and how these differences emerged by looking at the teachers and their students’ interpretations of the curriculum. The study used a new analytical tool in the field of language education, Actor-Network Theory, for analysing the influence that the human and nonhuman (i.e., computers, syllabus) actors had in between. These actors were mapped to visualise the actions caused by the influence to capture how the course was designed and executed. The maps revealed that the curriculum was altered by the teacher and the students, mainly due to the environment they were in. The paper concludes with some suggestions to improve the relationship between the curriculum and its stakeholders.
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