Principles and Practices of Curriculum Development and Syllabus Design

Module titlePrinciples and Practices of Curriculum Development and Syllabus Design
Module codeEFPM311
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Salah Troudi (Convenor)

Dr Susan Riley (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

Variable to suit flexible delivery modes


4 for the Summer Intensive

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

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

Syllabus plan

Eight sessions of 2 hours each. The course is delivered in eight weeks;

  • 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 and teaching

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
Literature-based tasks x 5100 to 200 words1,2Written weekly feedback on submitted work. Each week students answers a number of questions based on content
Presentation15 minutes oral presentation7,10Written weekly feedback on submitted work. Each week students answers a number of questions based on content

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
Assignment10037501, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 9Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
AssignmentResubmission of assignment1, 2, 3, 4, 8 and 96 weeks


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Ann Snow, M. & Kamhi-Stein, L. (2006). Developing a new course for adult learners.Alexandria,Virginia: TESOL Inc.
  • Coombe, C. Folse, K. & Hubley, N. (2007). A practical guide to assessing English language learners.Ann Arbor:University of Michigan Press.
  • Brown, J. D. (1995). Elements of the language curriculum.New York: Heinle and Heinle
  • Breen, M. and Littlejohn, A. (Eds.) (2000). Classroom decision-making: Negotiation and process syllabuses in practice. CUP
  • Brumfit, C. (1995). Language Education in the National Curriculum. Blackwell
  • 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
  • White, R.V. (1988) The ELT Curriculum: Design, innovation and management. OUP
  • Willis, D. (1990) The Lexical Syllabus. Collins
  • Willis, J. (1996) A Framework for Task based Learning.Harlow: Longman

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TESOL, Principles & Practices of Curriculum Development & Syllabus Design

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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