Autonomy, Negotiation and Collaboration: Student Participation in Curriculum Development: The Development of an On-line Learning Lexicon for Fashion and Textiles Students

By Dureshahwar Nazir and Valerie Wilson Trower.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study presents a novel approach in the exercise of autonomy where students were asked to participate in redesigning a course curriculum and materials to suit their personal and professional language needs. In addition, a new learning resource was created tailored to their specific needs. Following an institution-wide restructuring of courses, a new professional English training subject was developed in response to textiles and clothing industry needs, and discussions with teaching staff. Although the content was highly subject-specific and the assessments designed to reflect relevant practices in the industry, students and teachers felt after the first offer of the course, that there was a need to further develop some of the new ideas introduced. A selected group of students interviewed their classmates to identify the changes that they deemed necessary, and to solicit specific ideas for language activities. The information collected by these students was further negotiated with course developers and technical assistants. This paper records the students’ achievements in exercising their skills of negotiation and collaboration with their fellow classmates, course developers, and assistants in order to bring a change to the design and materials of the course. The paper draws on data collected through student and staff interviews to investigate the mutual benefits to be reaped from this synergistic relationship in terms of developing materials, as well as students’ awareness of how engagement in negotiation and collaboration can lead to increased autonomy in making decisions regarding the course curriculum and materials. Finally, it details the creation of a new learning resource for fashion and textiles students.

Keywords: Curriculum Design, Learner Created Materials, Learners as Researchers, Online Image Database for Fashion

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp.137-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.212MB).

Dureshahwar Nazir

Faculty Coordinator, English Subjects for Applied Sciences and Textiles Students, English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dureshahwar is an ELT professional with a Masters Degree in English Literature from The Department of English, The University of Peshawar, Pakistan and a second MA in Linguistics and English Language Teaching from The Department of Linguistics and Phonetics, The University of Leeds, UK. With a teaching and research career spanning tertiary education in Pakistan and Hong Kong, Dureshahwar has engaged in several action research projects related to teaching and learning of English and curriculum development. Dureshahwar has led teams of materials writers and co-written and published a range of English language textbooks for applied sciences, financial management, and fashion and textile students. Dureshahwar also conducts personal development training workshops with specific focus on persuasive presentations for business executives and marketing and management students. Dureshahwar has been awarded excellence of performance award by the Faculty Dean of Faculty of Communication (now Faculty of Humanities) for her role as the founder of the PolyU International Film Society at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which became a trail blazer in cultivating a stimulating cultural environment in the University and encouraging a host of similar organizations in its wake.

Dr. Valerie Wilson Trower

Fashion Academic Consultant and Doctoral Student, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, The London College of Fashion, The London College of Fashion, The University of the Arts, Hong Kong, UK

An international fashion professional with a background in design, retailing and marketing, originally from the U.K., Valerie has lived and worked in Asia for more than eleven years running her own consultancy and lecturing in Visual Merchandising and Fashion Design for major academic institutions. Past clients include MTR, Shanghai Tang and The Diamond Trading Company. Having recently completed her doctorate, registered at The London College of Fashion, The University of the Arts, London, Valerie lectures in Design History specializing in fashion, and has spoken widely: her research and publications include work on Hong Kong’s contemporary expatriate Western community, and visual merchandising. Valerie has also had three short stories published and recently won a short story competition.


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