Appropriate Course Design - Implementation, Licencing, and Consultancy

Impact: Attitudes and behaviours, Awareness and understanding, Policy, Society and culture


Since the 1970s, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) has pioneered the concern with the development of appropriate methodology, i.e. context-sensitive approaches to teaching and learning. By extension, this also includes appropriate course/materials design/development. This concern contrasts with ‘best practice’ ideologies popular in Education debates which tend to promote generally applicable pedagogy and downplay contextual specificities. The focus on appropriate methodology has value beyond TESOL/Education however, with relevance across different areas of teaching and learning. For example, my work in this area has taken place variously in: TESOL; distance education; music education; researcher education; and global mental health. And through (distance methodology) consultancy work, I have also explored methodological appropriacy in Adult Education, Law, Opera Studies, and Translation and Interpreting.

My career-long appropriate methodology contributions focus variously on course/materials design, development, operationalisation, evaluation, as well as validation and licensing arrangements. These activities have taken place within The University of Manchester, but also for local institutions (e.g. Manchester Metropolitan University; St Helens College; South Trafford College) and other UK institutions (e.g. Rose Bruford College) as well as internationally (e.g. the British Council Bulgaria and Romania; the Hellenic Open University, Lenguas Vivas Argentina). 

They informed my doctoral thesis, and also articles, chapters, plenaries and other conference papers, and training workshops and associated resources. My own course design and materials development has been informed by the appropriate methodology philosophy. This is evident in pioneering courses (such as Becoming Global; Computer-Mediated Intercultural Communication; Developing Researcher Competence; Klezmer Ensemble Performance; and Language Education as Intercultural Practice), in innovative programmes (e.g. MA Intercultural Communication), degree pathways (e.g. MA TESOL - Intercultural Education), interdisciplinary awards (e.g. Manchester Global Award), and in bespoke training programmes (e.g. intercultural training for university security officers).

My appropriate course/materials design contributions have gone through several distinct phases as applied to course/materials. In my first decade (beginning mid-1990s), I designed and developed the Foundation Certificate in TESOL and then oversaw validation of iterations of it at local institutions (St Helens College; South Trafford College). A ground-breaking intercultural module on the MA TESOL programme was another major contribution that has, through various iterations, now been available for 30 years (Impact area: ‘interculturalising TESOL’). I also became increasingly involved in the design and development of distance education provision including:

-- programme directorship of the MEd ELT programme (including and development of an online student records system for managing progression and achievement through this large complicated programme);

-- advisor and external examiner for Reading University’s newly-established MA TEFL programme (distance);

-- negotiation and implementation of the licencing of MA TESOL courseware to the newly-established Hellenic Open University; and

-- distance learning training for Manchester Metropolitan University (Law), Rose Bruford College (Opera Studies), the Hellenic Open University (multi-focused, training for the distance tutors, the materials writers and their mentors), Lenguas Vivas, Argentina (language teacher education).

Externally, through projects for the British council, I was an advisor and external examiner for two new Masters programmes in Romania (MA In British Studies; MA in British Cultural Studies) and was the distance learning consultant for two new CPD programmes in Bulgaria (Intercultural Studies for Language Teachers; Intercultural Communication for Translators and Interpreters). I was also a consultant for the Branching Out Cultural Studies curriculum project and associated action-research CPD programme and for the Helpdesk for Intercultural Materials and the development of its evaluation framework. 

Publications arising from this first decade of engagement with appropriate methodology include:

-- Byram, M., Botsmanova, M., Gagarova, S., Georgieva, I., Georgieva, V., Davcheva, L., Zareva, D., Karastateva, V., Katsarska, M., Madjarova, T., Markova, D., Stefanova, D., Fay, R., Filipova, F., Harakchiiska, T., Tsvetkova, N. and Yakimova, T. (2006). Ramki za Analiz na Uchebni Materiali ot Gledna Tochka na Marginalizatsionni Praktitki i Diskriminativni Naglasi. Model za Otsenka na Potentsiala na Uchebnite Materiali v Bulgariya da Realizirat Tselite na Mezhdukulturnoto Obrazovanie. [Frameworks for analysis of marginalisation practices and discriminatory attitudes in learning materials. Evaluation model for the potential of learning materials in Bulgaria to fulfill the objectives of intercultural education.] Sofia: Zebra Publishing House.

-- Davcheva, L. and Fay, R. (2000). A Cultural Studies syllabus for the language classroom in Bulgaria: Teacher collaboration as a dissemination tool. In M. Beaumont and T. O’Brien (eds.), Collaborative research in second language education. (pp.95-108). Stoke: Trentham Books. 

-- Fay, R. (2004). Thesis title: Stories of Emergent Cultures of Distance Learning and Collaboration: Understanding the CELSE-Hellenic Open University Project. The University of Manchester: PhD Education.

-- Fay, R. (2001). ‘How do we know whether our distance education practices are appropriate for our context?’ Understanding emergent cultures of distance education in Greece. Plenary paper given at the 1st Panhellenic Conference on Open and Distance Learning, June 2001, hosted at the University of Patras, Greece. Retrievable from:

-- Fay, R. and Androulakis, G. (2011). The intercultural dimension in language teaching: perspectives from the teaching of English and French (Η διαπολιτισμική διάσταση στη διδακτική των γλωσσών: προοπτικές υπό το πρίσμα της διδασκαλίας της αγγλικής και της γαλλικής), Research Papers in Language Teaching and Learning, 2(2): 62-73.

-- Fay, R. and Davcheva, L. (2007). The development of language teachers’ understandings of intercultural communicative competence: A Bulgarian distance learning case study. In M. Jimenez Raya and L. Sercu (eds.), Challenges in teacher development: Learner autonomy and intercultural competence. (pp.191-212). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang.

-- Fay, R. and Davcheva, L. (2005). Interculturalising education in Bulgaria: The contribution of the national helpdesk for intercultural learning materials, Intercultural Education, 16(4), 331-352.

-- Fay, R. and Davcheva, L. (2005). Developing professional intercultural competence: Reflections on DL programmes for language educators, and translators / interpreters in Bulgaria. In B. Holmberg, M. Shelley and C. White (eds.), Distance education and languages: Evolution and change. (pp.140-165). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. 

-- Fay, R. and Hill, M. (2003). Educating language teachers through distance learning: The need for culturally-appropriate DL methodology, Open Learning, 18(1): 9-27.

-- Fay, R., Hill, M. and Davcheva, L. (2006). The need for culturally-appropriate distance learning methodology in crosscultural development contexts. In Lionarakis, A. (ed.), Open and Distance Education – Elements of Theory and Practice [translated from Greek]. (pp.151-173). Propobos: Athens. 

-- Fay, R., Hill, M. and Davcheva, L. (2002). The transfer of distance learning practice across contexts: Developing language teacher education programmes in Britain, Greece, and Bulgaria. In W. Leal Filho (ed.), Prospects of integration and development of R&D and the innovation potential of Black Sea Economic Co-operation countries. (pp.159-174). Amsterdam, Netherlands: IOS Press / Kluwer Academic Press (NATO Science Series). 

-- Fay, R., Spinthourakis, J.-A. and Anastassiadi, M.-C. (2000). Teacher education for teachers of English and French: Developing parallel distance learning programmes in Greece. In M. Beaumont and T. O’Brien (eds.), Collaborative research in second language education. (pp.109-122). Stoke: Trentham Books.

In the second decade of my career, within the university I made a significant (leadership) contribution to two new programmes (i.e. BA Language Literacy & Communication; D.CounsPysch) which came into being with only a skeletal course development team in place. At Manchester,I also developed two innovative courses - Computer-Mediated Intercultural Communication (undergraduate) and Developing Researcher Competence (postgraduate) - and in collaboration with colleagues in Mexico and Greece, designed language education courses which challenged the dominant TEFL paradigm - in Greece, Multicultural Awareness Through English (MATE) and English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), and in Mexico, a technology-based course decoupling English language teaching from culture-specific (target culture) teaching and instead an embrace of generic cultural awareness.     

Publications arising from this second phase include:

-- Fay, R., Lytra, V. and Ntavaliagkou, M. (2010). Multicultural awareness through English: A potential contribution of TESOL in Greek schools. Intercultural Education, 21(6), 579-593.

-- Fay, R., Lytra, V. and Sifakis, N. (2016). Interculturalities of English as a lingua franca: international communication and multicultural awareness in the Greek context. In P. Holmes and F. Dervin (Eds.), The cultural and intercultural dimensions of English as a lingua franca. (pp.50-69). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

-- Sifakis, N. and Fay, R. (2011). Integrating an ELF pedagogy in a changing world: the case of Greek state schooling. In A. Archibald, A. Cogo and J. Jenkins (eds.), Latest trends in ELF research. (pp.285-289). Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.

-- Stelma, J. and Fay, R. (2014). Intentionality and developing researcher competence on a UK Master’s course: An ecological perspective on research education. Studies in Higher Education, 39(4): 517-533. 

-- Trejo, P. and Fay, R. (2015). Develop general cultural awareness in a monocultural EFL context in a Mexican university: a wiki-based critical incident approach. Language Learning Journal, 43(2): 222-233.

In the third decade (up to the present time),

<to be continued>
Impact dateJan 19942024
Category of impactAttitudes and behaviours, Awareness and understanding, Policy, Society and culture
Impact levelBenefit