Introduction

 


Introduction

[A] curriculum is ... not a set of documents or a textbook, although classroom activities may be guided, governed, or hindered by such documents. Rather, it is a dynamic system. This system can be conceptualized as three interrelated processes: planning, acting and evaluating.1

 

The ATESL Curriculum Framework is intended to be a supportive reference guide for effective curriculum development in a variety of adult ESL programs, both existing and new, throughout Alberta. A curriculum framework offers a process and key considerations for designing and developing curriculum in diverse contexts; it does not prescribe a particular curriculum. The ATESL Curriculum Framework is written for teaching professionals, particularly curriculum developers, and while the document is grounded in current second language research and theory, it aims to be both accessible and practical. The ATESL Curriculum Framework seeks to promote a common language and approach in order to build and share expertise: “It is very important that curriculum design makes the connection between the research and theory of language learning and the practice of designing lessons and courses.”2 The ATESL Curriculum Framework also aims to increase transparency and improve accountability in the curriculum development process. Ultimately, a set of curriculum development guidelines will enhance adult ESL teaching, learning, and assessment, and facilitate transitions for adult ESL learners across the Government of Alberta’s (2008) Adult EAL/ESL Continuum and into further study or the workplace.

Figure 1 represents the ATESL Curriculum Framework. The outer wheel of the model illustrates the five steps in the curriculum development process, and the inner circle, or core, shows three essential aspects of contemporary, relevant curriculum.


Figure 1. ATESL Curriculum Framework model