Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA) in English: Teaching English as a Second Language




A rural technical secondary school in Nicaragua needed an English curriculum that would support students at varying levels of English proficiency in grades seven through eleven to pass the TOEFL exam their senior year and meet the English national requirement for accreditation. This curriculum should be culturally and locally responsive to meet the needs of the students, teachers and the administrators as well as accommodate for the two separate tracks in English: tourism and agribusiness. Over the course of a year, I collaboratively developed an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) curriculum that included a whitepaper proposal, five-year map with overarching goals and learning objectives, sample unit lesson plans, curriculum outline for teachers and accreditation. Once the curriculum was accepted, and the implementation process began, I was invited with Dr. Gina Petrie to facilitate a two-day teacher training on ESP pedagogy and assessments. The present study includes a curriculum developed for a secondary school in Nicaragua which I present, employing a retrospective diary method. The development process, international correspondence, challenges and false assumptions are important to review and reflect on retrospectively. The readers will be able to empathize with me as well as learn from my failures and successes in curriculum development, directly from the diary. In the end, I learned the value of conducting thorough needs analysis in order to capture the data needed in creating relevant content and methods both for students and for teachers as well as a need for a stronger protocol for curriculum evaluations prior to implementations of the said curriculum. At the same time, I discovered the need for teachers to be involved in curricular change from the outset since they know the students and their needs better than others desiring and/or planning the changes. Student input would also be beneficial in the planning, implementing, and evaluating phases of curricular change. Finally, curriculum evaluations will need to be conducted at the Opportunity International school in Nicaragua when the first full cohort (starting seven grade) graduates in 2021.