English for Academic Purposes Faculty Perceptions of Curriculum Quality at a Tertiary Institution in the State of Qatar: A Mixed-Methods Study
Ahmed, Abir Gafar Abas Seed
Date: 21 May 2014
University of Exeter
EdD in TESOL
The importance of curriculum in education is uncontested. Nevertheless, this has not translated into a thorough examination of what constitutes a ‘quality’ curriculum. Extant educational quality models mostly investigated ‘quality’ from students’ perspective and were predominantly conducted in the business and engineering fields. Some ...
The importance of curriculum in education is uncontested. Nevertheless, this has not translated into a thorough examination of what constitutes a ‘quality’ curriculum. Extant educational quality models mostly investigated ‘quality’ from students’ perspective and were predominantly conducted in the business and engineering fields. Some of these models encompass curriculum quality dimensions, nonetheless, given their focus on student perspectives, emerging curriculum themes were limited to issues of interest to students only, such as the number of courses, and the courses enhancing students’ job perspectives. To date, only a few studies pertaining to quality and service quality have been conducted in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Thus, this exploratory sequential mixed-methods case study was conducted in an English for Academic Purposes programme in the State of Qatar to uncover teachers’ perceptions of curriculum quality and its attributes. Additionally, this study seeks to discover whether teachers’ perceptions of ‘quality’ affected their curriculum implementation. Qualitative data indicates that participants understood a quality curriculum as one that meets stakeholders’ needs in addition to meeting twenty-five attributes pertaining to curriculum design, course content, and resources. The findings reveal that curriculum design is the most important aspect of quality followed by course content and resources. Qualitative data also revealed that the exclusion of teachers from curriculum decision-making, students’ admission criteria, and lack of trust were detrimental to the quality of curriculum design. Curriculum relevance to students is of concern to some participants, since students and the wider community do not perceive the English for Academic Purposes courses as relevant. Although the participants’ do not deem quality of resources as an essential attribute of curriculum quality, it affects their curriculum implementation. Overall, the quantitative data supports the qualitative findings with respect to the importance of the curriculum quality attributes. Two curriculum quality attributes emerge from two participants’ comments related to curriculum design section in the questionnaire. Based on the study findings, it is recommended that the needs and situation analyses be modified at the study site to address concerns raised by the participants. It is also suggested that the university explores different options of English for Academic Purpose programmes to enhance students’ perceptions of the relevance of the English for Academic Purposes courses.
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