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Curriculum rhetoric and contemporary practice in the Bahamian primary school system Davis, Linda Agatha 1992

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CURRICULUM RHETORIC AND CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE IN THEBAHAMIAN PRIMARY SCHOOL SYSTEMbyLINDA AGATHA DAVISB.A., The College of Saint Benedict, 1977M.Ed., The University of Ottawa, 1981A THESIS SUBM1YFED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESThe Department of Social and Educational StudiesWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNWERSITY OF BRITI H COLUMBIAFall 1992© Linda Agatha Davis, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of 5oo.lThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate vt’•! (qqcDE-6 (2/88)11ABSTRACT’This study examined the ‘intended’ curriculum and the processes of its translationinto classroom practices. The ‘intended’ curriculum is the rhetoric incorporated in statedocuments of the independence era in The Bahamas. These state documents included threekey general educational policy documents in which policy makers presented persuasivearguments and strategies for the nation’s development, and the curriculum guides based onthese earlier policy documents. Since these documents represent the educational intentionsand objectives of the nation, it was assumed that an examination of their rhetoric wouldproduce a portrait of the government’s ‘independence plan.’ However, because one cannotassume that rhetoric is translated into practice, this study also examined the extent to whichteachers in the Bahamian Primary School System have translated this ‘independence plan’into their contemporary practices.The methods of investigation included documentary analysis, participantobservation, informal interviews with classroom teachers and other Ministry of Educationofficials, and a teacher questionnaire.The documentary analysis revealed a continuity of themes ran throughout the majoreducational documents. Foremost among these themes were the move toward theBahamianisation of the educational system, the production of indigenous materials, therecognition of the classroom teacher as central in the reform process, and the importance ofcommunication between policy makers and teachers. Field investigations revealed adivergency between the rhetoric of the educational policy documents and the practiceswithin the contemporary educational context. The study identified five major factors thatinfluence the success of the curriculum implementation process. These factors includeresources, support services, the internal dynamics of the school context, assessmentpractices, and the personal backgrounds and professional experiences of teachers.The evidence reported in the study pointed to several components that wouldenhance success in the implementation of the intended curriculum. The question ofresource availability, specifically resources of an indigenous nature, was the mostsignificant issue uncovered by this study. In addition, the need for a more collaborativesupport network for teachers was evident. Finally, the study highlighted the importance oftwo components that are directly related to the formulation of policy. These include theneed for policy makers to use teacher experience and insight, and be more cognizant of thefactors that have an impact, both internally and externally, upon the school context.111ivTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract 11List of Tables ixAcknowledgements xDedication xiCHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1Background of the study 2The composition and management of the Bahamian educational system 5Overview of the study 7Assumptions of the study 8CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 13CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 18Documents 18Questionnaire 20Survey instruments and ethnographic field enquiry 20Instrument 21Description 21Sample 21Participant Observation 22Informal interviews 23Selection of schools for the study 24Selection of teachers 27VData Collection 28Analysis of questionnaire items 29Analysis of field note and interview data 29The nature of validation 30Generalizations from the data 32Reliability 33CHAPTER 4. THEMATIC EXAMINATION OF DOCUMENTS 35Introduction 35Focus on the future: White paper on education (1973) 35Educational Development in an Archipelagic Nation (1974) 38Education for national progress (1976) 44Summary 47Curriculum Policy Documents: The 1982 Curriculum Guides 48Curriculum for Social Studies 49Curriculum for Language Arts 52Suggested Reading Curriculum for Primary Schools 54Summary 56Schemes of work 57Language Arts 58Social Studies 59Science 61Summary 62CHAPTERS. RESULTS OF QUESTIONNAIRE INSTRUMENT 64Introduction 64Demographic data 64viAvailability and use of 1982 guides 65Format and content of 1982 guides 65Resource materials 66Support services 67Issues that emerge from the questionnaire data 68Teachers’ qualifications 68General observations 70Summary 74CHAPTER 6. TEACHER-SCHOOL PROFILES 75Introduction 75Ms. June Dean and Western Primary School 77Resources 80Support services 87Internal dynamics 89Summary 92Mrs. Carol Sweeting and Central Primary School 93Teacher’s subject preference: A case for subject specialists? 96Resources 99Learning environment 108Internal dynamics 109Summary 116Mrs. Mary Albury and Eastern Primary School 116Resources 121Learning environment: A case of complex dimensions 128Internal dynamics 130Examinations 134viiSummary 137Chapter synthesis 138CHAPTER 7. INDIGENOUS MATERIALS AND A MORE COLLABORATIVESUPPORT NETWORK: TOWARDS THE REALIZATION OF THE INTENDEDCURRICULUM 140Introduction 140Resources 141Production of indigenous materials: The issue of textbook content 144Support services: Towards a more collaborative atmosphere 146Curriculum Section: A functioning support unit? 147Professional development opportunities 149Teacher input 152Internal dynamics of the school context 155Personal backgrounds and professional experiences of teachers 173Summary 175CHAPTER 8. SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS 177Summary 177Curriculum Reform: A ‘Multivariate Business’ 178Policy implications 186Delimitations 189Suggestions for future research 190Bibliography 193Appendix A: Access Letter 212Appendix B: Teacher’s Letter of Participation 216Appendix C: Cover Letter of Questionnaire & Questionnaire Instrument 219Appendix D: Tables 1 -7 233viiiixLIST OF TABLESTable 1: Classification of Teaching Positions 233Table 2: Teachers with University Degrees 233Table 3: Gender Composition of Teaching Population 234Table 4: Availability of Suggested Textbooks By Subject 235Table 5: Student Access to Suggested Texts By Subject 236Table 6: Correspondence Between Suggested Texts and Guides By Subject 237Table 7: Assistance Received From Ministry of Education By Subject 238xACKNOWLEDGMENTSI wish to express my gratitude to Professor Vincent D’Oyley for his support, bothpersonally and professionally, throughout my doctoral programme and during the writingof this dissertation. I acknowledge Professor Frank Echols, my unrelenting critic andfriend, who insisted that I question and clarify issues. Professor Neil Sutherland joinedmy doctoral committee later, but his insights were invaluable as I undertook the difficulttask of writing. I also wish to acknowledge the many professors in the Faculty ofEducation, and Professor William McKellin from the Department of Anthropology, fortheir assistance at various stages of my programme. Thanks to all of my colleagues in theDepartment of Social and Educational Studies and throughout the Faculty of Education fortheir support, and for sharing their experiences with me. Special thanks to my Africanbrothers who assisted me with my final preparations for the oral defence. I wish to expressmy appreciation to my family, friends, and other significant persons in The Bahamas whobelieved in me and stood by me throughout my programme. I also wish to recognize myfaithful walking companion for the last ten months, Augustus. I extend my appreciation toThe College of The Bahamas for granting me leave of absence to complete this dissertation.Finally, I wish to acknowledge the teachers, administrators, and officials of The BahamasMinistry of Education without whom this study would not have been possible. Inparticular, I sincerely thank the teachers and students who welcomed me into theirclassrooms and permitted me to observe, question, and participate in their daily routines.xiThis dissertation is dedicated to my mother Joycelyn Yvonne Bosfield Davis who passedaway on October 4, 1990.1CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONThe Commonwealth of The Bahamas is an archipelago that extends from theManzanilla Bank off the coast of Florida to Great Inagua, which is 590 miles to the southeast near Cape Nicholas, Haiti. The width of the archipelago stretches about 380 milesfrom the Cay Sal Bank off Cuba to San Salvador in the western Atlantic Ocean. There aresome 700 islands and cays, yet only about 30 of them are inhabited. The total land mass ofThe Bahamas, including small, uninhabited rocks and islets, is about 5,400 square miles.New Providence, the island on which the capital, Nassau, is located, is 80 square miles.Most of the islands are below 200 feet, and large areas of land are covered by brackishwater ponds or swamps. The land itself is poor with little soil or mineral wealth.Most of the population and economic activity are situated on the islands of NewProvidence and Grand Bahama. Tourism and offshore banking form the bases of theBahamian economy. The agricultural and industrial sectors are comparatively small. Thetourism sector employs about 50,000 people, roughly half the work force, while bankingemploys a little over 3,000 persons, 95 percent of whom are Bahamians. Bahamian peopleenjoy one of the highest per capita incomes (about $9,000) in the region (Bahamashandbook, 1990).The Bahama Islands experience a subtropical climate with the temperatures seldomabove 92 degrees Fahrenheit, or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The islands can be affectedby hurricanes or tropical storms between June and November. Oolitic limestone, formedby precipitation from sea water, is the major component of which the islands are made.The indigenous population of The Bahamas, the Lucayans, gradually disappearedafter the controversial, historic landfall of Columbus in 1492. It was this time, 1492, that2marked the beginning of introduction of European and world ideas, and EuropeanChristianity. Today’s population includes descendants of African slaves, the EleutheranAdventurers, the Loyalists from the American continent, and twentieth century immigrants.The population of The Bahamas is approximately one-quarter of a million inhabitants,representing an increase of about 45,180 persons since the last census taken in 1980(Stubbs, 1991). The 1980 census recorded a noticeable immigrant population in TheBahamas. Stubbs (1991) reported that, according to the 1980 census, 88.59% of thepopulation was Bahamian, while the largest immigrant percentage was Haitian (4.93%).The Anglican, Methodist, and Baptist churches were among the earliest to airive inThe Bahamas, each trying to inculcate ideas of Protestant morality in its members.According to Saunders (1990), early slave regulations of the then dominant whitepopulation encouraged slaves to be instructed in the Christian religion. The RomanCatholic Church came later and tried to fill a need (educational, medical, and socialservices) which the others, because of dwindling funds, could no longer provideadequately (Craton, 1986). Today, Bahamians are typically members of one of the severalChristian denominations in the islands. The Baptist, Anglican and Roman Catholic are thethree largest denominations found in the islands (Bahamas handbook, 1990).Except for brief periods when the Spanish and Americans occupied the islands, theBritish ruled from 1648-1973. On July 10, 1973 the colony gained its independence. Theparliamentary government of the nation is patterned on the British monarchy and recognizesQueen Elizabeth II as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth.Background of the studyOne of the most important tasks for the newly independent CommonwealthCaribbean was that of restructuring the educational system. This restructuring includedtwo central elements. First, national leaders had to eradicate the dual system of education3established during the colonial era. Under the British colonial system one branch catered tothe ruling elites and urban middle class, while the other catered to the lower strata and therural folk class. The colonial power had intended to separate the school from theindigenous culture. Secondly, new governments made systematic efforts to encouragenational unity through schools, mostly by incorporating Caribbean content into the schoolcurriculum.The Bahamas was no exception. Leaders expanded educational facilities and madeefforts to improve and ‘Bahamianise’ the educational system. Throughout the 1970s, andinto the 1980s, the education budget continued to increase. In 1969, the government’sbudget totalled approximately $99 million and the education budget was $15 million or 15percent of the national budget. In 1976 when the government’s total budget was $177million, the Ministry of Education’s was $38 million or 21 percent. In 1986 the figureswere $400 million and $82 million respectively, or 21 percent of the national budget(Ministry of Education: Education Statistics. 1985-1986). The national leadership soughtto attain ‘Bahamianisation’ primarily by including indigenous components in thecurriculum, instituting technical education, and upgrading the qualifications of Bahamianteachers through courses at the College of The Bahamas and institutions abroad.Bahamian leaders recognized the importance of developing a sense of national pridethrough cultural independence. Educators highlighted the necessity of relating educationalobjectives to national goals. These objectives represented the government’s commitment tosocial and economic development through education. Educational programmes andpractices were to reflect these concerns. Planners produced various educational policydocuments during the period following independence in 1973. These documents includedthe government’s initial policy statement, Focus on the future: White paper on education(1973), the report of a commission appointed by the Government of The Bahamas, theMaraj Report: Educational development in an archipelagic nation (1974), the commission’ssubsequent guide for educational planning for the period 1976-198 1, Education for national4progress (1976); and the various Curriculum Guides (1982) for all subjects taught at theprimary and secondary levels.In 1985 the Evaluation, Planning, Research and Development Unit of The BahamasMinistry of Education sponsored the “Curriculum Evaluation Project.” Yet, except the“Curriculum Evaluation Project” (1985), Bahamian policy makers have not investigated thecrucial nexus between curriculum policy and classroom practices. Recently, Caribbeaneducators and other scholars from the developing world have questioned whether efforts,such as those made by Bahamian political leaders, have been effective (e.g., Carnegie,1982; Morrissey, 1983; Nettleford, 1989). In fact, developmental theorists (e.g.,Jennings-Wray, 1980; Miller, 1983; Watson, 1984) have called for examinations ofeducational systems in developing countries, but few countries have completedcomprehensive studies.Placed against this background, two categories of questions emerge. The first callsfor an examination of the indigenous components of the ‘intended curriculum.’ Thesequestions include: Has educational policy incorporated the national concern for the formationof a cultural identity? What of the philosophy upon which the educational system rests, itsvalues, assumptions and operations? And, have planners addressed the need to “redress thebalance between the international and the local components of the culture [through]fundamental curriculum reform” (Brock & Smawfield, 1988 p. 236)? The second categoryof questions addresses the need for an investigation of classroom practices. These questionsinclude: What is happening in the classrooms? And, have teachers embraced the goals andobjectives of proposed national policies, and thereupon translated them into practice?This study sought to link both categories of questions and thereby to generateknowledge about the processes of schooling, in particular curricula processes, within theBahamian context. An estimation of how these processes and practices appear to be derivedfrom the stated policies could show the congruence, or divergence, between classroompractices and curriculum rhetoric. Such a study is timely as developmental theorists continue5to debate the quality of educational systems in the developing countries, and the role of thesesystems in the development of these nations.The composition and management of the Bahamian educational systemDuring the 1989-1990 school year, there were 226 schools in The Bahamas,compared to 30 in 1865 and 38 in 1890. In the 1989-1990 school year, the governmentmaintained 185 (8 1.9%) of the 226 schools. There were 228 schools in The Bahamas in1990-1991. Of the 185 (81.1%) of these schools in 1990-1991 maintained by thegovernment, 34 of them were on the island of New Providence. Today (1992), of these 34schools on the island of New Providence 24 of them are primary schools. In TheBahamas, the primary level includes grades one through six. During the 199 1-1992 schoolyear, The Bahamas Ministry of Education reported that of these 24 primary schools, 4 wereGrade A (over 1,000 students), 5 were Grade B (701 - 1,000), 13 were Grade C (301 -700), 1 was Grade E (101 - 200), and 1 Grade F (1 - 100).The Ministry of Education’s 1989-1990 data showed, that of the total studentpopulation (45,158) in The Bahamas, 3,346 (7.4%) students were Haitian. Similar figureswere reported for 1991, as the records showed that 3,346 (7.4%) of a total studentpopulation of 47,560 were Haitian. Stubbs (1991) reported further that of the 185 schoolsmaintained by the government in 1990-1991,79 (42.7%) had Haitian students enroled inthem. It is important, then, that since the Haitian student population represents the largestimmigrant percentage in the Bahamian schools that some attention to paid to this variable inthe selection of schools taken to representative of those found in the system. Thesignificance of the Haitian presence is that the language of instruction in The Bahamas,English, is not their first language.During the 1990-199 1 school year of the 27,257 students in the government schoolsystem on the island of New Providence, the Ministry of Education statistics classified62,495 (9.2%) as students with Haitian ties, and 24,762 (90.8%) as Bahaniians (Stubbs,1991). Only one government primary school during the same school year (1990-199 1), onthe island of New Providence, did not have any Haitian students enroled in it. The Haitianstudent enrolment in the remainder of the government primary schools on the island ofNew Providence ranged from 1% - 72%, with the mean at the primary level of 13.75%(Stubbs, 1991).The Minister of Education, whose portfolio also includes libraries and culturalaffairs, is responsible for the supervision of the educational system in the country. As it isintended to function, the Ministry of Education is organized in the following manner. AnEducation Advisory Council, whose members the government appoints, advises theMinister of Education. Posts within the Ministry of Education for a Permanent Secretary,an Under Secretary, and a Deputy Permanent Secretary are also established. The Directorof Education has five Assistant Directors of Education (ADEs) who are, in turn,responsible for Curriculum and the Learning Resources Unit; Schools ManagementEvaluation, Planning, Research, and Development; the Supervisory Division and FamilyIslands; and Special Services. A Chief School Welfare Officer also works with theDirector of Education and is responsible for school welfare personnel.The section of the Ministry of Education’s organization that has direct responsibilityfor the curriculum falls under the jurisdiction the Assistant Director of Education in chargeof Curriculum and the Learning Resources Unit. According to the Ministry of Education’sorganizational chart, this Assistant Director of Education has an administrative staffcomprised of education (curriculum) officers for each school subject, a chief librarian,senior librarian, librarian, an education officer (broadcasting), radio programme producers,and a senior printer.7Overview of the studyThis study examined the ‘intended curriculum’ and the processes of its translationinto classroom practices. In this study, the ‘intended curriculum’ is the rhetoric or theofficial statements as incorporated in major educational policy documents of The Bahamas.These documents include the general educational policy documents, and the specificcurriculum guides of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas since this nation gained itsindependence in 1973. However, since one cannot assume that rhetoric translates intopractice, this study also examined the extent to which teachers in the Bahamian PrimarySchool System have translated the government’s curriculum policies of the independenceera into their contemporary practices. In an attempt to examine the extent of thistranslation, I explored the everyday practices of teachers in The Bahamas Ministry ofEducation Primary School System by observing classroom practices and tailcing withteachers.The focus of this study was restricted to fifth and sixth grade teachers in TheBahamas Ministry of Education’s Primary School System on the island of NewProvidence. I chose New Providence because not only is this the island on which thecapital, Nassau, is located but also because 60% of the teaching population and 57% of thestudent population are located on this island (Ministry of Education Statistics, 1990-91).The data was collected through participant observations during September - December,1991. I also conducted informal interviews with classroom teachers and Ministry ofEducation officials during this period. Finally, to put these observations and interviewsinto their larger context, I asked all fifth and sixth grade teachers in the Ministry ofEducation’s primary schools on the island of New Providence to complete a questionnaire.This questionnaire is an adaptation of one used in 1985 by the Evaluation, Planning,Research and Development Unit of The Bahamas Ministry of Education.8Investigators have conducted valuable educational research in developing countriesusing conventional quantitative research approaches (e.g., Benavot & Riddle, 1988; Fuller,1986; Halpem, 1986; Heyneman & Loxley, 1983; Psacharopoulos & Loxley, 1985).However, there ase particular research questions that warrant a more qualitative approach.It is through the combination of survey techniques and in-depth interviewing andparticipant observation that I attempt to highlight the interaction between policy andpractice.Assumptions of the studyThe use of qualitative research in developing countries is infrequent. Shaeffer andNkinyangi (1983) and Shaeffer (1986) have noted the reliance on the quantitative resultingin the production of data analyzed by statistical methods. Researchers in developingcountries have often applied a quantitative research strategy when either a qualitative or acombination of qualitative and quantitative would have been more appropriate. In addition,“some research questions have rarely been addressed at all, despite their potential relevanceto both the process of policy-maldng and to the more theoretical study of schooling in thedeveloping world” (Vulliamy, 1990, p. 151).Qualitative studies of the processes of educational innovations can “document themyriad ways implementations of innovations differ from intended designs of innovations[as] participants respond to innovations in a variety of unintended ways” (Goetz &LeCompte, 1984. p. 110). In addition, if, as Fullan (1982) has suggested, educationalresearchers have neglected investigations of the phenomenology of change (how peopleactually experience change as distinct from how it might have been intended), we have beenoverlooking a key area in the study of educational reforms. Also, such research canprovide useful insights for policy makers by “showing how much change actually occurs inpractice; identifying the unintended consequences of policy initiatives; [and] exposing the9contradictions in policy that are apparent when it is implemented” (Finch, 1988, p. 190).Finally, such research can offer the policy maker “a theory of social action grounded on theexperiences — the world view — of those likely to be affected by the policy decision orthought to be a part of the problem” (Walker, 1985, p. 19).The underlying assumptions of ethnography have particular salience for theinvestigation of educational settings. Various interactions complicate the multidimensionalcontext of the classroom that then have consequences for how one views the nature of thesubject under investigation, and the nature of knowledge itself. In turn, these assumptions,or ‘theoretical presuppositions,’ influence one’s choice of methods. Based on therecognition that educational research is a complex enterprise, that research has differentpurposes, and that single models are problematic, I find ethnographic research techniquesappropriate to the issues that I explore in this study.The literal translation of ‘ethnography’ as it appears in an English dictionary is‘writing about the nations.’ Yet, as Erickson (1984) has argued “the ‘ethnos,’ the unit ofanalysis for the ethnographer, need not be a nation, linguistic group, region, or village, butany social networkforming a corporate entity in which social relations are regulated bycustom” [original emphasis] (p. 52). The ethnographer’s task, therefore, is to interpretbehaviour in particular social, cultural, political, and economical contexts. An ethnographicstudy, like any other research project, is laden with theoretical perspectives whether explicitor implicit. Furthermore, the predominant approaches “presuppose a standpoint outside —looking at, objectifying, or, somewhat closer, ‘reading,’ a given reality” (Clifford, 1986,p. 11). As a researcher I recognize this presupposition and acknowledge that ethnographictruths are “inherently partial — committed and incomplete” (Clifford, 1986, p. 7). Yet, thisacknowledgement need not, “lead to ethnographic self-absorption, or to the conclusion thatit is impossible to know anything certain about other people” (Clifford, 1986, p. 7). Thereare, distinct strengths of this approach and contributions that it can make to scientificinquiry.10The advantages of ethnographic techniques vary. The development of theory isperhaps the greatest strength. As an ethnographer I can challenge misleadingpreconceptions that social scientists often bring to research. While in the field, I had theopportunity to analyze my understanding of the phenomena under study. In addition, Iwas able to change strategies and directions of the research as required. The use of fieldobservations in combination with the ethnographic interview in this study permitted me thisvery flexibility. I could pursue promising ideas, resulting in the pursuance of theorydevelopment that was both effective and economical.Since ethnographers investigate social processes in everyday settings, “the dangerthat findings will apply only to the research situation is generally lessened” (Hammersley &Atkinson, 1983, p. 24). This does not mean, however, that ethnographers do not usesurvey techniques, for they often use multiple data sources, thus avoiding the risks thatstem from reliance on a single kind of data. The use of primary documents, thequestionnaire instrument, and field observations and interviews in this study address theconcern of reliance.The potential of ethnographic approaches for obtaining ‘emancipatory knowledge’is yet another attractive dimension that I sought to encourage in the participants of thisstudy. Lather (1986) defines ‘emancipatory knowledge’ as that which “increasesawareness of the contradictions hidden or distorted by everyday understandings, and indoing so it directs attention to the possibilities for social transformation inherent in thepresent configuration of social processes” (p. 259). Such an approach requires that theresearcher establish a dialectal relationship between her and the researched so that the dataundergoes the scrutiny of the researched. Through my discussions with classroomteachers, we raised many issues that encouraged self-reflection both for the participants andfor me as a researcher.Simultaneously, I do not wish to imply that the participants must approve apublished analysis of their culture or social relations as proof of accuracy of the account.11Rather, there is an on-going discourse with them during the collection of data, as Iincorporate the notion of ‘reflexivity,’ or ‘negotiated meaning’ in the research framework.In addition, this data gathering process connects in an on-going way with theanalysis/interpretation of the data. This is an ethnography whose theory is produced‘democratically.’ That is, it is:a collective effort among the researcher and the research subjects, [that] is lesslikely to generate propositions that are imposed by the researcher and more likely tobe responsive to the logic of evidence that does not fit the researcher’spreconceptions. (Roman & Apple, 1990, p. 62)Such an approach does not attempt to ‘minimize’ the research subjects’ ‘reactivity’ to theresearcher, but seeks to challenge and transform through empowerment.Researchers in the natural sciences believe that certain laws and conditions of thephysical world constitute sufficient grounds to explain the occurrence of an event, or togive meaning to phenomena. However, in the social sciences, “a debate has been ragingsince the latter part of the nineteenth century about the suitability of this deterministic modeof explanation for the investigation of human action” (Doyal & Harris, 1986, p. 52). Isubmit that there are explicit advantages of using ethnographic strategies, such as those thatI use in the present study, in educational investigations. In taking this stance, I assumeseveral things about the relationship of the researcher to the subject, the nature ofknowledge, the kinds of analysis most suited for the data, the nature of validation, andgeneralizabiity of that data. These assumptions, and the theoretical assumptionsunderlying the use of primary documents, observation, participant observation, informalinterviews, and formal questionnaires specifically, present a definitive picture of what Iperceive to be one avenue to conducting legitimate research.I do not believe that the investigation of human action can be framed in the sameway as natural scientists do in their attempts to determine causes and effects for the physicalstates of affairs. Instead, social science researchers must consider reasons, beliefs, andchoices that influence people’s actions. Direct experience and interaction with thephenomena under study is the only way to explore assumptions and concepts, as theresearcher negotiates the meaning of experiences that she shares with other participants.Within such an environment, evidently the method(s) that a researcher selects mustappreciate, not minimize, the complexity of social life. Finally, the recognition that societyhas underlying structures, and that there are political, historical and ideological contexts ofthe phenomena is crucial to any analysis.1213CHAPTER 2LiTERATURE REVIEWEducational researchers have been concerned about a great variety of issues inconsidering questions of the curriculum, and of pedagogical practice. Measures ofscholastic attainment have been common (e.g., Coleman, 1966; Garden, 1987; PlowdenReport, 1967; Postlethwaite, 1975; Rosier, 1987). Studies have also considered thefeatures of schools such as the amount of teaching that children experience, the size of theschool, the organization of teaching groups, the effects on students of differing teacherexpectations, teaching styles, patterns of discipline, and school climate (e.g., Armitage,1986; Heyneman & Loxley, 1983).Documented studies of the implementation of innovations, especially in the ThirdWorld, are not readily available. This situation exists because many Third World nationsare not a part of the international knowledge exchange networks. Still, as Hurst and Rust(1990) have reported “most of the studies of educational innovation and reform aresociological (e.g., Beeby, 1966) and concentrate on structure and process [e.g., Marsh &Huberman, 1984] rather than individual actors and their interactions” (p. 167). Otherexamples include Psacharopoulos and Loxley (1985) who measured the success of thevocational curriculum in Columbia and Tanzania by calculating costs and benefits, and bytracing graduates into the labour market. In considering the ‘quality’ of primary schools inthe Third World, Fuller (1986) considered indicators such as total recurrent expendituresper pupil, expenditures on instructional materials per pupil, pupil-teacher ratio, and years ofschooling required for fully qualified teachers. Benavot and Riddle (1988) used enrollmentfigures in their investigation of the expansion of primary education in the Third World from1870-1940.14Other studies have addressed curriculum issues and teacher decision-maldng in theimplementation of a curriculum. Ben-Peretz and Kremer (1979), for example, in theirinvestigation of Israeli teachers concluded that “teacher performance is not closely related to[the] comprehension [of curricular characteristics], but is determined by previous teachingexperience, general characteristics of the curriculum and other characteristics” (p. 254).Using the case of Jamaica, Jennings-Wray (1980) investigated what primary schoolteachers perceived as influences on curriculum decision-making, and the major factors thatinhibit the achievement of curriculum aims. She examined the behaviour patterns of theseThird World teachers whom policy makers had asked to implement an instructionalinnovation in which they had no input. She concluded: “that the teacher feels that [s]he hassuch a strong control over what [s]he teaches in the classroom is an indication that thesepre-packaged materials are not being implemented” (p. 242).Some researchers (e.g., Bude, 1982) have been more critical of teachers and havesuggested that the failure of innovations is attributable to “a lack of motivation on the partof teachers” (p. 117). On the other hand, there has been the recognition that teachers maybe the main determinant in curriculum innovations, and that they are important agents in theprocess of innovation implementation in the school (e.g., Brown and McIntyre, 1982;Clarke and Yinger, 1977; Doyle & Ponder, 1977; McConnelogue, 1975; Spaulding,1975). Both hypotheses, although differing in stance, point to the classroom teacher as thefocus in any investigation of curriculum implementation.Studies of schooling have used varied methods of investigation. Some have usedsystematic observations, employing predetermined schedules and interviews, overextended periods. Such researchers have concluded that “schools can do much to fostergood behaviour and attainments” (Rutter, 1979, p. 205). The ethnomethodologicalinvestigations of Ramsay (1983) explored notions of oppression and ethnicity. Anyon(1980), used ethnographic strategies, including field observation, interviews and document15analysis, to assess the ‘intended’ and the ‘hidden curriculum’ in an investigation of thedevelopment of class structures.The research of Saunders and Vulliamy (1983), and Avalos (1986) are two otherexamples of studies of schooling done in the Third World that employed ethnographicstrategies. Saunders and Vulliamy (1983) examined the implementation of curriculumreform in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea using questionnaires, field observations andinterviews. Avalos (1986) conducted a more extensive ethnographic study of the processesof schooling in Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Chile.Researchers have offered various models of teacher decision-making in analyzingthe adoption of innovations. Dunkin and Biddle (1974) considered similar variables (i.e.,background of teachers, the context of teaching, the process of teaching with its interactiveforms, and the contribution from pupils and their background characteristics) as thosehighlighted by Avalos (1986). Jones and Bhalwankar (1990) also emphasized theimportance of examining presage and context variables as they interact in the classroomalongside the processes of teaching. Presage variables refer to teacher backgroundcharacteristics, training experiences, and individual properties/traits. Context variables areproperties of pupils, the school, the community, and classroom contexts. Teacher andpupil classroom behaviours are process variables, while product variables includeimmediate and long-term learning, attitude changes, and skills (cited in Rust & Dalin,1990, p. xv-xvi).Doyle and Ponder (1977) suggested that teachers use three major criteria in decidingon an innovation: “Is it instrumental in terms of classroom contingencies? Is it congruentwith prevailing conditions? What are the costs involved in using the innovations?” (cited inHurst & Rust, 1990, p. 168). Hurst and Rust (1990) extended this model proposing thatin choosing to adopt an innovation teachers use one or more of the following criteria:information about the innovation, its relevance and desirability, its effectiveness and16reliability, its feasibility, its adaptability, and whether the innovation has been tried on alimited scale and proven to be successful (pp. 168-169).In a complementary fashion, Avalos (1990) drew attention to the importance of theteacher effectiveness literature and innovation implementation by identifying four researchconcerns that underlie the concept of teacher effectiveness: teacher skills and behaviours(competencies) which impact upon the outcomes of the teaching process (e.g., Brophy,1979; Brophy & Good, 1985); teacher patterns of decision-making at both the instructionaland managerial levels (e.g., Bums, 1984); teachers’ modes of thinking and how theyinterpret teaching situations (e.g., Clarke & Yinger, 1979; Shavelson & Stem, 1981;Stebbins, 1975; Woods, 1983; Yinger, 1980); and the “relationship between teachingpurposes and the way in which pupils mediate such purposes as well as the nature ofteacher-pupil tasks” (p. 203) (e.g., Doyle, 1987).The studies, in this overview, point to the need to investigate, and to describe,processes of schooling in a variety of contexts. In particular, the need for more qualitativeresearch in Third World countries is paramount as researchers move beyond purelyquantitative measures. Ben-Peretz and Kremer (1979) pointed to the importance ofinvestigating not only characteristics of a curriculum, but also teacher characteristics thatinfluence decision-making. Avalos (1986), Dunkin and Biddle (1974), and Jones andBhalwankar (1990) highlighted the additional factors of the teaching context and process,as well as pupil characteristics. Finally, Hurst and Rust (1990) offered a useful guide forthe investigation of teacher decision-making in the implementation of an innovation.It is important to note, however, that until recently most of the theorizing regardingcurriculum implementation came from the developed world. Researchers have conductedmost of their studies on teacher effectiveness, and on the implementation of curriculuminnovations in the developed world. The need to document the different ways that teachersin the developing world conceptualize, and thereafter translate their conceptions intopractice, is crucial. As teachers in the developing world operate under different constraintsthan those in the developed world, their practices are bound to be different. How thesepractices are affected and why teachers chose to follow, or not to follow, particular ‘policydirectives’ are key questions that researchers must address. These questions were at thevery foundation of my study as I sought to investigate schooling using participantobservation, infonnal interviews, and questionnaire techniques.1718CHAPTER 3METHODOLOGYThis study drew on data collected through document analysis, questionnaires,participant observation, and informal interviews. These data represent several sources:policy makers (via rhetoric employed in documents and interviews with Ministry ofEducation officials), the researcher as participant and observer, and discussions withschool administrators and classroom teachers. Using these methods I have constructed anethnographic account of contemporary schooling practices in The Bahamas.DocumentsIt is difficult to conceive of an ethnographic account of schooling where theresearcher does not give attention to documentary material. Participants in most educationalcontexts produce all kinds of documents. Therefore, the investigator must view documentsas an integral part of the social setting. Yet, “official documents and statistics should betreated as social products, [and] . . . must be examined not simply used as a resource”[original emphasis] (Hammersley and Atkinson, 1989, p. 137). ‘Primary’ documents,and documents generally, are therefore to be regarded in the same way as informationobtained using other research tools. That is, though valuable in their own right, primarydocuments have the potential flaws of inaccuracy, bias, hidden agendas in theirconstruction, and incompleteness.The purpose of the examination of the documents in this study was to search forpatterns, common themes or ideas. Ben-Peretz and Kremer (1979) suggested two maindistinctions in the content of curricular materials. They are either content oriented or19process oriented.. These categories, although refening to curricular materials for use in theclassroom, can serve to differentiate among the general themes that I highlighted in all thedocuments that I examined. According to Ben-Peretz and Kremer (1979):[Content orientation is] an emphasis on subject matter, information, concepts andprinciples. The major goals... [are] acquisition of knowledge in the context of aspecific discipline or an interdisciplinary approach. Process orientation. . . isconceived as emphasizing abilities and skills. These may be cognitive skills andabilities, such as analysis or evaluation, or interpersonal skills and abilities, such asclassroom communication and interpersonal interaction. The major goals. .. [are]the acquisition of the behaviours related to the selected skills and abilities. (p. 247)Most of the themes that I highlighted in the initial policy documents of the Bahamianindependence era were of the kind that Ben-Peretz and Kremer (1979) labelled processoriented. Yet, the framers of these initial documents did make specific references about theintended content. On the other hand, the curriculum guides and the teachers’ schemes ofwork were predominantly content oriented, with occasional references to issues of process.Beside identifying thematic descriptors, whether content or process, I establishedwhether these were common throughout the documents. Overall, the examination of theinitial policy documents, Focus on the future: White paper on education (1973); Educationfor national progress: A development plan for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for theperiod 1976-1981; and the Maraj Report: Educational development in an archipelago nation(1974), set the framework for the Bahamian government’s intended educational policies.In turn, the 1982 Curriculum Guides represent the articulation of these policies into thesuggested activities for classroom teachers. Finally, I reviewed a further interpretation ofthese policies by classroom teachers as they express this in their written schemes of workthat they formulate annually as grade level teaching groups.20OuestionnaireSurvey instruments and ethnographic enquiryAlthough surveys, or formal questionnaires specifically, are not a defining featureof ethnographic field enquires, they can be a useful tool in the exploration of socialphenomenon. Yet, survey research must be approached with caution:At one level, the element of quantification in surveying permits increasingreliability, comparability and precision in testing theoretical propositions, as well asproviding a rapid and systematic means of acquiring large amounts of information.However, the usefulness of a survey can only be measured against clearlyrecognized objectives and a sensible assessment of research options.... [Still,] notall information can be directly asked, let alone counted; some must be observed orinferred. (Wallman & Dhooge, 1984, p. 258)Nevertheless, although people cannot be understood as units, but as integral parts ofsystems of relationships, which cannot be counted, “quantitative survey combined withmore qualitative research strategies can provide dimensions of typicality for case materialand will anyway enhance or verify the total ethnographic picture” (Wailman & Dhooge,1984, p. 259).Formal questionnaires can obtain certain kinds of data, specifically descriptive data,but questionnaires that include questions of ‘meaning’ pose problems of validity as theresearcher is unable to interpret the answers without a thorough knowledge of therespondents’ frame of reference. Yet, such questions can be asked usefully if the researchintegrates field work and survey methods, as I do in this study.I place the use of the questionnaire instrument of this study within the interpretationof quantification as “the numerical description of empirical situations” (Johnson, 1978, p.46). Its purpose was to gather information about the characteristics of the teachingpopulation with whom the study was concerned. Secondly, it provided a comparative datasource when measured against The Bahamas Ministry of Education’s earlier questionnaire(1985) that addressed similar curriculum issues. The data derived from both21questionnaires, therefore, provided a comparison of profiles at two times in Bahamianpedagogical practice, 1985 and 1991.InstrumentDescriptionThe questionnaire that I constructed is an adaptation of the one used by the“Curriculum Evaluation Project” (1985) sponsored by the Evaluation, Planning, Researchand Development Unit of The Bahamas Ministry of Education. The Ministry ofEducation’s instrument had 34 forced choice items and 8 open-ended response items. Myinstrument had 37 forced-choice items and 5 open-ended response items (see Appendix C).In both cases, the questionnaire items sought to obtain teachers’ perceptions of theavailability and use of the 1982 Curriculum Guides in the primary schools, their format andcontent, the availability of resource materials for use with the guides, support services,physical facilities, and teacher demographic information. Subjects covered by bothinstruments were mathematics, social studies, science, religious knowledge, reading, artsand craft, physical education, and language arts. Beside that covered by the Ministry ofEducation’s questionnaire, my instrument sought to estimate teachers’ perceptions of theavailability of Bahamian resource material, the extent to which teachers follow guidelines inthe guides, and the relevance of the guides’ goals and objectives.SampleLists of teachers were obtained from the principals of each government primaryschool on the island of New Providence (n = 24). I mailed the questionnaire to allgovernment employed, upper primary (fifth and sixth grade) teachers on the island. Thetotal number of questionnaires that I administered was 208.22I mailed the questionnaires on September 30, 1991. The teachers were asked toreturn the completed form to me my October 25, 1991. The cover letter stipulated thatparticipation was voluntary, and that the respondent had the right to withdraw at any time(see Appendix C). I enclosed self-addressed envelopes for the return of completedquestionnaires. I ensured the teachers that their replies would be anonymous andconfidential as no attempt would be made to link names with responses. By October 28,1991, of the 208 questionnaires that I sent out, I had received only 25. I sent a follow-upletter at this time. By the end of the term (December 20, 1991), I had received 50% (104)of the total questionnaires distributed.I did not include the six male respondents of the 104 respondents in my finalanalysis because the group was so small that it did not form a legitimate group forcomparison by gender. Yet, gender might have influenced the responses to thequestionnaire items. In addition, as 66 (67%) of the remaining 98 women did not teacharts and craft, and 91(93%) of them did not teach physical education, I excluded these twosubjects, and the ten women who only taught these two subjects, from further analysis.The fmal sample included 88 women.Participant observationVirtually all ethnographers recognize observation as a primary means ofinvestigation in conducting research. This derives directly from the assumption that theconstitution of the subject matter that the researcher studies is directly observable. Yet, associal scientists are not simply observing things, but interpreting meaning, theyacknowledge the dual role suggested in the term ‘participant observer.’Like observation, a basic assumption underlying participant observation is that theresearcher is central to the investigation and that she is the main instrument of research.Yet, observation alone is not enough. Investigators using participant observation as a23research tool assume that the researcher must involve herself in “conscious and systematicsharing, insofar as circumstances permit, in the life-activities and on occasion, in theinterests and affects of the group of persons” (Kluckholm, cited in Holy, 1984, p. 22). Athird assumption is that the subjective nature of the process dictates that the relationshipbetween the researcher and the researched must be reciprocal as the researcher recognizesthe inherent power relations that perpetuate the situation, and that all involved will in someway change because of the experience.In the particular context of the investigation of schools, the task of the researcherusing participant observation as a tool, is to “raise questions about the events and activitiesthat occur so that we get beyond descriptive accounts of ‘teaching’ and ‘learning”(Burgess, 1988, p. 9). It is the task of “cultural translation from familiar to strange andback again” (Spindler & Spindler, 1982, p. 24).Informal interviewsParticular assumptions underlie interviewing as a method in the ethnographicprocess. As it relates to participant observation, the ethnographer envisions interviewing asdiscussions with the participants about shared experiences. The interview, therefore, is “ajoint product of what interviewees and interviewers talk about together and how they talkwith each other” (Mishler, 1986, p. vii). Key assumptions are that the interview is a‘speech event’ and interviewers and interviewees construct it jointly. Further, the nature ofthe ‘speech event,’ as ‘talking together’ rather than ‘behaving as stimulus-senders andresponse-emitters’ (Mishler, 1986), points to particular ways that the ‘event’ should beconducted and to analytical strategies that the researcher must employ.Specifically, this calls for a reconceptualization of the ‘question’ and its part in theinterview process. Mishler (1986) has suggested that:24Rather than serving as a stimulus having a predetermined and presumably sharedmeaning and intended to elicit a response, a question may more usefully be thoughtof as a circular process through which its meaning and that of its answer are createdin the discourse between interviewer and respondent as they try to make continuingsense of what they are saying to each other. (p. 53-54)Also, responses must be viewed “not simply [as] answers to questions but also [as] areflection of the interviewer’s assessment of whether a respondent has said ‘enough’ forthe purpose at hand” (p. 55).Despite the advantages of informal interviews, there are issues that the ethnographermust address when using both participant observation and interviews as methods. Onesuch issue is that of the ‘informant’ and site selection. The ethnographer must be pragmaticin selecting settings and cases. Sampling within a case is also potentially problematic forthe ethnographer. She, or he, must make decisions about where to observe and when,who to tallc to and what to ask, and about what to record and how. It is perhaps thisprocess that critics of ethnography often attack, for not only must the ethnographer decidewhat is, and is not, relevant to the case under study, but also which data she, or he, willuse. Nevertheless, Burgess (1988) has reminded us that the concern should not be somuch with “systematic sampling but rather judgement or opportunistic sampling in anattempt to overcome bias in the study of people, events, time and locations” (p. 15).Selection of schools for the studyI arrived in The Bahamas during July of 1991. After discussions with TheBahamas Ministry of Education supervisors, the Assistant Director of Education in chargeof curriculum, and curriculum officers, I selected three schools for my field work. I visitedthree Bahamian primary classrooms on the island of New Providence during the fall termof 1991. Officials of The Bahamas Ministry of Education granted me access to the primaryschool system during this period (see A for access letter).25Initially, I examined The Bahamas Ministry of Education Education Statistics 1985-1986. I was unable to use more recent statistics since the publication for the years 1987-1990 had yet to be released at the time of my initial data collection. However, I was laterable to obtain more recent statistics regarding the teaching and student populations for theyears 1989, 1990, and 1991. Overall, these statistics suggested that I should consider thefollowing factors in my selection process: enrollment in primary schools by grade andstream, the gender of pupils and teachers in each school, teachers’ qualifications, andcitizenship of teachers in each school. The physical characteristics of the schools (size andlocation), and social characteristics (social status and ethnic composition) of the school’spopulation were additional factors for consideration. Therefore, when I met with thecurriculum officers during August of 1991,1 discussed the framework of my study andindicated that I was seeking their recommendations regarding three government primaryschools that were representative, considering the above characteristics.Immediately a discussion ensued concerning whether my study would berepresentative at all because I was only interested in looking at three schools. One officereven suggested that perhaps I should be looking at a ‘random sample’ of a much widercross section. Further discussion pursued the merits of ‘quantitative’ versus ‘qualitative’research. I presented a case for an ethnographic study, and indicated that the limitations oftime (one school term) and personnel (myself as the sole researcher) were key factors in myinsistence on concentrating on only three schools. After a rather lengthy debate, I obtainedindividual rank-ordered selections of three schools from 14 curriculum officers.I then arranged to meet with the members of the Supervisory Division of theMinistry of Education. Without divulging the results of my meeting with the curriculumofficers, I sought their perceptions of schools on the island. Their perceptions are situateddifferently from those of the curriculum officers who work primarily from the vantagepoint of workshops with classroom teachers, but more specifically, with subjectrepresentatives. Supervisors, on the other hand, spend time in the school context and are26responsible for the annual evaluations of schools and teachers. During my meeting withthe group of supervisors, we were able to discuss, at length, the selection of each schoolmore thoroughly. Still, in the final analysis, there was a marked similarity between therecommendations of both the supervisors and the curriculum officers. At this point, Iselected the three schools that received the highest ranking of all the schools.Then, to ensure that the three schools were representative, I examined the GradeLevel Assessment scores for these three schools for the last four years. I discovered thatthey represent ‘average’ government primary schools on the island of New Providence interms of their academic achievement. The three schools in the study have for the last fouryears (1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991) maintained ‘average’ performances on the annualGrade Level Assessment Test (GLAT). None of the composite performances for theseschools fall in the ‘below average’ performance category, or the ‘above average’ category(categories used in the annual reports of the GLAT) when compared to other groups ofgrade six Bahamian students taldng the examination during the respective years (BahamasGrade Level Assessment Test Technical Reports, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991).Beside the representativeness of the academic profiles of the three schools, a casecan be made based on school size and location, as well as the social status and ethniccomposition of the student population. The three schools represent each geographicalsubdivision, western, central, and eastern, that the Ministry of Education uses formanagement purposes on the island of New Providence. Although, the three schools didnot cover the range of student population sizes, Grades A-F, the Ministry of Education liststwo of the schools as Grade C schools (student population of 301-700), and the Grade Cschools represent 54% of the government maintained primary schools on the island. Also,like most of the schools on New Providence, the three schools in this study report that theirstudent populations are predominantly Bahamian. The Haitian student population in eachschool is 2%, 19%, and 7% respectively. (During the 1990-199 1 school year, the mean ofthe Haitian student population at the primary school level on the island of New Providence27was 13.75%.) The communities in which the three schools are located represent the lower,lower-to-middle, and middle income ranges. As a composite, these features do arguefavourably for the representativeness of the three selected schools.Selection of teachersI had chosen to work with the upper primaiy grade levels, grades five and six,because it is a transitional period for students socially, emotionally, mentally, physically,and academically. During this time students prepare for their move to secondary school. Itis also the level at which the students’ academic future can be decided as they sit an allimportant Grade Level Assessment (GLAT) examination, recently introduced by theGovernment of The Bahamas. Additionally, as governments of the Third World reexamine the role of schooling, particularly at the primary level, they have acknowledged theimportance of primary education as it may be, for many students, the terminal level ofschooling.After a meeting with supervisors, I met with the principals of the three selectedschools. At this stage, I had little control over the choice of teacher with whom I wouldwork. I explained the nature of my study to the principals and the type of teacher withwhom I was interested in working. She had to be a fifth or sixth grade teacher andrepresentative of the teaching population at the school. As it turned out, all the teacherswith whom I worked were women, all had Bachelor of Arts degrees, and all wereBahamians. Two of them had taught in the Bahamian public school system between 16and 20 years, while one had taught between 21 and 25 years. All the women fit theaverage profile suggested by the demographic data discussed later in the questionnairesection, chapter five, of this dissertation.Principals were very cooperative. When I met with them during the summer of1991 they indicated that they would set up a meeting with the selected teachers when they28returned from summer vacation. I met with these teachers before the beginning of the fallterm of 1991 when I presented them with a letter outlining my study, and asking if theywould be willing to participate (see Appendix B for teache?s letter of participation). Allteachers agreed to participate.Data collectionAt this point I was prepared to enter the first school when the new school yearbegan. I decided to begin with the school that was the closest distance to my residence,leaving the one farthest away for last. I spent five weeks in each school. Discussions withteachers were tape recorded whenever this was convenient. Beside interviewing theclassroom teachers in whose classes I participated and observed, I also interviewed otherfifth and sixth grade teachers, specialist teachers, and administrators at the same schools.Later, I arranged interviews with the supervisors responsible for each school, as well asMinistry of Education officials at the Curriculum Section. The total number of interviewswas 35. Nine of these (three interviews each) were with the three classroom teachers withwhom I worked closely. During all of the interviews I pursued themes and items ofinterest as they emerged from the participant observations and earlier interviews. Four ofthe five school days each week were spent conducting my participant observations. Oneday was spent on formative data analysis.I took a participant role (by teaching the class) whenever the teacher requested. Inaddition, I assisted with the marking of student assignments, a task that occupied much ofeach teacher’s time. My note-taking was done when possible during school visits orafterward reconstructed in field notes. These notes were entered on a word processordaily, and indexed using thematic descriptors.29Analysis of questionnaire itemsI coded the responses to the forced-choice items of the questionnaire, and tabulatedfrequency distributions. These frequency distributions were then converted to percentageswhich then formed the bases of my comparisons with the Ministry of Education’s 1985study. Later in the dissertation I discuss how reflective these findings were of whatteachers told me of their classroom practices, of what I observed happening in theclassrooms, and of what Ministry of Education officials told me regarding their policypractices. Finally, I examine the impact that these fmdings have for the larger picture of thegovemmenCs intended independence plan for educational reform.Analysis of field notes and interview dataAnalysis is an on-going process in the ethnographic approach. The analysis ofparticipant observation, field notes and interviews is both formative and summative.Indeed, the nature of ethnography dictates that there be no boundaries as the investigatormoves from participant observations to informal interviews and back in a circular fashion.Informal interviews permit researchers in such situations to pursue themes and items ofinterest as they emerge from the participant observations.I analyzed, summarized and indexed the field notes that I took during, and/or after,observations in a similar manner to that used in the examination of my documentarysources. As Burgess (1988) suggested, it is by identifying thematic descriptors or:conceptual categories that some direction is given to further observations beingmade and further field notes being established. . . . Often the activities that areobserved in one setting are followed up in other settings. In this way, initial ideasare followed through so that patterns and case studies emerge. (pp. 26-27)The analysis of informal interviews presents a different and more challenging taskthan that of the field notes. Based upon the assumptions of the nature of the interview30outlined earlier (specifically, Mishler, 1986), and the view of interview responses asnarratives (Agar and Hobbs, 1985; Mishler, 1986), I took the view that interview practicesare a way of empowering respondents to produce their own narrative accounts. With thesetheoretical assumptions as guidelines, I undertook the very lengthy process of the analysisof the interview transcripts. Although this process was time consuming, it was insightful.With the assistance of two professional secretaries, I transcribed entire discourses of myinterviews (n = 35), and sought to have as many of them as possible read by theinterviewees before leaving The Bahamas in January of 1992. This was a very frustratingprocess as I discovered the participants were not able to match my zeal to obtain feedbackin this way. Simply put, the time involved for their reading, reflection, and analysis of thetranscripts was not available as they had too many other teaching and personalresponsibilities. I eventually abandoned this idea and used earlier interviews to re-focus orextend later ones, and ultimately to confirm or clarify my understanding of whatparticipants had said previously.After leaving the field, I re-read these transcripts and field notes, this time assigningvarious portions of each to an analytic category. The task of sorting and reassigning ofcategories was on-going, as most of the categories were intimately interrelated. As Icontinued the analysis, I re-sorted, portions of data that I had assigned to various analyticcategories, by school. I then composed teacher-school profiles using these analyticcategories as guide-posts.The nature of validationEthnography, like all types of scientific inquiry, raises the question of ‘validity.’The on-going debate about the conventional views of validity best reflects the concernabout the accuracy of research fmdings. Lincoln and Guba (1985) have used ‘credibility,’‘transferability,’ ‘dependability,’ and ‘confirmability’ in their conceptualization of31‘validity.’ On the other hand, Wolcott (1990) has argued that validity may not be theappropriate construct for use by ethnographers. Instead he has argued that:[U]nderstanding seems to encapsulate the idea as well as any other everyday term.I do not restrict myself to the phenomenologist’s sense of understanding socialphenomena from the actor’s perspective or, especially, from an actor’s perspective.[lIt is system qualities I seek to describe and understand. [original emphasis](p. 146)On the other hand, LeCompte and Goetz (1982) have suggested that ‘validity’ may be themajor strength of ethnographic approaches. They have proposed that:Attaining absolute validity and reliability is an impossible goal for any researchmodel. .. . [But] investigators may approach these objectives by conscientiousbalancing of the various factors enhancing credibility within the context of theirparticular research problems and goals. For decades, reputable ethnographers haveused a variety of strategies to reduce threats to reliability and validity. This hasbeen a major source for one of the defining characteristics of present-dayethnography — its multimodality. (p. 55)Placed against the background of this debate, researchers have proposed variousguidelines for addressing the issue of validity. Building on the work of Glaser and Strauss(1967) and Lincoln and Guba (1985), Lather (1986) outlined ‘triangulation,’ ‘constructvalidity,’ ‘face validity,’ and ‘catalytic validity’ in reconceptualizing the conventional notionof validity as the researcher consciously utilizes designs that allow counterparts as well asconvergence so that the data are credible.Sanjek’s (1990) observations have dealt more specifically with subjectivity as itaffects validity. Based upon the belief that validity lies at the core of evaluatingethnography, he proposed three canons, ‘theoretical candor,’ ‘the ethnographer’s path,’and ‘field note evidence,’ as the means of deepening the growing appreciation ofethnography’s value as a way of ‘telling about a society.’Erickson’s (1989) notion of ‘critical validity’ extended Sanjek’s (1990) discussionof subjectivity by including a discussion of the power relations inherent in the socialcontext. That the researcher recognize that power and negotiation are parts of the researchprocess, reinforces Sanjek’s (1990) insistence that candor be a driving force. Yet,Erickson pushed this point further by suggesting that the researcher must criticize her32stance as she recognizes the subjective nature of her role, and that she will be changed bythe field experience (see also, Clifford and Marcus, 1986).Generalizations from the dataGeneralizabiity, another issue that rises to the fore in discussions of researchfindings, is somewhat related to this discussion of validity. As with validity, it is importantto clarify the meaning of this construct as it fits into the context of ethnographic research.Some critics have argued that ethnographic studies cannot be generalized to other settings.Yet, Delamont and Hamilton (1984) have argued that:This criticism refers only to statistical generalization. To the anthropologicalresearcher, the development of generally or universally applicable statements isquite different a task, one that is never achieved merely by carrying out a survey.Despite their diversity, individual classrooms share many characteristics. Throughthe detailed study of one particular context it is still possible to clarify relationships,pinpoint critical processes and identify common phenomena. (p. 36)Extending this line of thought, Donmoyer (1990) argued that the notions of randomselection and statistical significance, often associated with generalizability, are problematic.He has insisted that:thinking of generalizability solely in terms of sampling and statistical significance isno longer defensible or functional. ... [T]here is a need to expand the way oftalking and thinking about generalizability. ... [TJhe traditional, restrictedconception [of generalizability] is not only out of sync with contemporaryepistemology; it is also dysfunctional because its limits our ability to reconceptualizethe role social science might play in applied fields such as education, counselling,and social work. (p. 176)Practitioners in these fields, he argued, are concerned with “individuals, not aggregates,[therefore] research can never be generalizable in the [traditional] sense. . . . Research canonly function as heuristic; it can suggest possibilities but never dictate action” (p. 182).There is much to be gained from Donmoyer’s (1990) conceptualization. Theassumptions upon which he bases his argument are congruent with the belief thatethnographic truths are “inherently partial — committed and incomplete” (Clifford, 1986, p.337). It also has direct implications for policy research. In contrast to the rationalist model ofresearch input to policy that assumes that empirical data can be fed in at appropriate stagesto guide the course of policy-making, advocates of the incremental model (Lindblom,1980), have argued that policy-making is not a rational process, but an incremental one thatis disjointed. That is, there are seldom specific ‘decisions’ taken by a clearly defined set ofactors choosing between alternatives.As these arguments apply to the policy related research of this dissertation, it directsthe researcher, not simply to fmding the answers, but to finding the questions. In contrastto the engineering model which supports a linear relationship, with research feeding intospecific ‘decisions’ by providing the missing facts, the enlightenment model which Finch(1986) has advocated emphasizes “intellectual and conceptual contributions.. . and seeingboth the policy-making process itself as diffuse and the relationship of research to policy asusually indirect” (p. 153). The caution that these observations suggest in tenns ofgeneralizing results across contexts, in the conventional sense of the term, is what I wish tostress in this study, its findings, interpretations, and the recommendations that I base onthese fmdings and interpretations.ReliabilityThe issue of reliability is yet another concern that critics of research often pose.Ethnographers have approached this issue in different ways than have other more positivistresearchers. While Sanjek (1990) has argued that ethnographers need not pursue theillusion of ‘reliability,’ LeCompte and Gotez (1982) have suggested specific guidelines forenhancing this construct, built upon the belief that human behaviour is never static, and thatno study can therefore be replicated exactly despite methods and designs employed.The suggestions of LeCompte and Goetz (1982) regarding both external reliabilityand internal reliability overlap with the concerns that I emphasized in my earlier discussion34of the nature of validation. In particular, acknowledging the intersubjective nature of theresearch process is in keeping with my views regarding the selection of and assumptionsunderlying, the various methodological approaches that I use in this study. That theresearcher exercise clarity and precision in the description of her, or his, role within theresearch site, in the process for choosing informants, in a description of the informantsthemselves, in the social situations and conditions where she, or he, collects the data, inchoosing analytic consiructs and premises, and in the methods of data collection andanalysis, are also noteworthy guidelines. These guidelines are in accord with theunderlying theoretical assumptions that I referred to in my earlier discussion of theassumptions of the present study, and again in the discussions of the ethnographic tools ofresearch, validation, and generalizability in the present chapter.35CHAPTER 4THEMATIC EXAMINATION OF DOCUMENTSIntroductionI included three documentary sources in my analysis. The first sources were thoseBahamian educational policy documents foimulated during the independence era. Theseincluded Focus on the future: White paper on education (1973), the government’s initialpolicy statement on education; the report of a commission appointed by the Government ofThe Bahamas, the Maraj Report: Educational development in an archipelagic nation (1974);and the commission’s subsequent guide for educational planning for the period 1976-198 1,Education for national progress (1976). The second source included the variousCurriculum Guides (1982) that a committee of Ministry of Education officials and teachersdeveloped based on the findings of the 1974 and 1976 commission reports. Finally, Iexamined a selection of schemes of work that are based on the 1982 Curriculum Guides.In all the examinations, I identffied thematic descriptors and thereby established whetherthere were common themes used throughout these documentary sources.Focus on the future: White paper on education (1973’A major thrust for change in the Bahamian educational system came through theeducational platform advocated by the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). This party won themajority of the seats in the Bahamian Parliament in 1967 when it ousted the colonial white-rule government of previous decades. The PLP retained power until August of 1992 whenthe major opposition party, the Free National Movement (FNM), secured the majority of36the parliamentary seats. Focus on the future: White paper on education was the PLP’s firsteducational policy statement. Released during the wake of independence (1973), itarticulated the tenets of the government’s independence plan regarding the educationalsystem for the new nation.A basic premise upon which the document rested is that the colonial system thatexisted prior to independence (1973) was in need of change. The document clearly statedthatBy now every ex-Colonial territory and countries like ours which have shown signsof growing up must, at the same time as they cope with the problems of adeveloping country, face the inherent educational drawbacks and impediments of analien system. At the best, the system introduced is narrow, meagre, ill-suited andirrelevant. (p. 1)It was the intention of the leaders of the PLP Government to outline the intendedstructure and purpose of the new national education system. Simultaneously, they werecareful to avoid ‘rigidities of philosophy and structure’ so that the public and private sectorsof the community would have the opportunity to offer input regarding the establishment of“truly national processes of education which are responsive to the needs of all citizens” (p.1).Yet, it was not the intent of the government to imply that its educational policystatement, the White Paper, was without foundation or direction. Policy makers stated thatthe national system of education would embrace “a philosophy which is characteristic of thenation’s ideals, values, beliefs and customs; and must be prepared both to transmit suchcharacteristics, and to act as an agent for modifying them” (p. 1). The next step, then, wasto outline what the nation’s ideals, values, beliefs and customs were, and to identify howthe educational system would act as an agent in modifying these characteristics.The drafters of the White Paper outlined eight goals that the new educational systemshould encourage. Beside the call for equal opportunities for all citizens, the governmentleaders stressed the importance of the Bahamian heritage, the economy, nationhood, and37teacher education. Their belief and commitment to these goals were evident in the languagethey chose to incorporate in the document. The education system would encourage:a knowledgeable appreciation of the physical environment, and the cultural andsocial heritage of the Bahamas. .. . Every citizen will be urged to assume apersonal responsibility for the economic, social, spiritual and political lifeassociated with free nationhood, and the efficient and harmonious management ofthe Bahamian nation. (p. 3)Highlighting the importance of primary schools, the government stated that the objectivesof the primary level of the educational system would be to help every young citizen:acquire the knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes, beliefs and values that enhancethe human race and give strength and life to Bahamian society.... An effort willbe made to improve the cultivation of the arts of communication, the learning ofskills which are appropriate to the primary level and the strengthening of such areasof the curriculum as mathematics, science, health and citizenship. .. . Every effortwill be made to ensure that these learning experiences take place in the properphysical and social contexts and relate in a significant way to the real world ofexperiences such as the child does know, can know and comprehend. Thus, notonly will learning be facilitated, but also a sense of national pride and identity benourished. (pp. 4 - 5)The key tenets that the framers of the White Paper outlined in the goals for the neweducational system, and their stance on the importance of primary schooling weremaintained throughout the remainder of the document. In particular, the importance ofBahamianisation was prominent. Yet, at this stage in the government’s articulation of itseducational policy, the notion of Bahamianisation focused mainly on the composition ofteaching population. The belief that Bahamian nationals, as teachers, by the very nature oftheir birthright would understand the problems and aspirations of Bahamians, was explicit.Concurring with the major goals of the educational system as stated in thedocument, the framers of the White Paper highlighted the importance of support services inenhancing the success of its programmes. Again the focus was on teachers as thegovernment emphasized its priority on the supply, education and training of members ofthis profession. In addition, they stressed the importance of involving teachers in the“processes of curriculum revision, renewal and enrichment” (p. 5).38Yet, it is interesting that except for this statement concerning the importance ofteacher input to curriculum development, the document mentioned little else regarding theteacher’s role in this respect. Nor was there a detailed examination of the financing of theproposed programme, other than the recognition that costs would increase as a matter ofcourse. However, the teacher’s role in curriculum development did become more focal asthe White Paper’s goals and objectives were further developed in the later documents. Infact, it was the role of the teacher in the development of the educational system, and thegoal of Baharnianisation that occupied much of the rhetoric of these later documents,although there was occasional mention of the availability of fmancial resources.Educational development in an archipelagic nation: Report of a review team invited by theGovernment of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas (1974)Within a year of the release of the White Paper, the government embarked upon thetask of translating its educational policy into guidelines for educational practices. Early in1974 policy makers invited a review team, under the auspices of the CommonwealthSecretariat, to examine its educational plan as articulated in its initial educational policystatement. The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation funded this review team.The members of the team included: Dr. J. A. Maraj (Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General, Team Leader), Dr. R. 0. W. Fletcher (Senior Lecturer in Physics, University ofthe West Indies), Professor J. W. Greig (University of Toronto, Faculty of Education),and Professor J. D. Turner (University of Manchester, Faculty of Education). The reviewteam’s terms of reference were explicit:1. To review the progress made to date on the implementation of theprovisions of the White Paper on Education.2. To recommend plans and schemes for the full implementation of theprovisions of the White Paper.3. To review the organization, structure and management of the Ministry ofEducation and Culture and to recommend a plan of re-organization to more39adequately meet the present and future wide and expanded range ofresponsibilities.4. To recommend a programme of external assistance to supplement localmanpower and financial resources to meet present and anticipated futureneeds in the areas of education, youth, community development, culture,sports and all other related subjects included in the portfolio of the Ministryof Education and Culture. (pp. 3 -4)The report, later widely known as the Maraj Report (named after the team leader,Dr. J. A. Maraj), set out to outline a development plan for educational reform in TheBahamas. The review team was convinced that although the country was maldng progress,as stipulated in the White Paper, “educational reform is greatly hindered by the absence of adevelopment plan in education which outlines the scope, sequence and time frame ofeducational changes in the Bahamas school system” (p. 20).Although the report covered several topics, there were three major areas that weremore pronounced. These were the notion of Bahamianisation, the teacher’s role in thedevelopment plan, and the importance of communication at, and between, all levels of theeducational system.Acknowledging the validity of the government’s desire to establish an educationalsystem that was Bahamian in ‘philosophy and substance,’ the team pursued thegovernment’s conceptualization of Bahamianisation and posed several questions.Foremost among these was the assumption that the Bahamianisation of the teachingpopulation would result in a Bahamian system.The schools of a nation are universally recognized as the most important agency forsocializing the citizens of a country and thus the Bahamian educational system mustbe Bahamian in philosophy and substance. [Still,] the substitution of Bahamianteachers for expatriate teachers. . . is no guarantee that the educational system andthe school programme will become ipso facto Bahamian. (p. 8)This assumption, the commission report argued, was complicated by the fact that theeducational system that had been established during the years prior to independencecombined both British and American philosophies and practices. The challenge of thecountry would be, according to the review team, to see “whether an emerging Bahamianeducational philosophy can withstand outside influences while at the same time directing40the national school system towards indigenous goals and objectives” (p. 8). In addition,they warned against neglecting the sources of assistance available outside The Bahamas.While they recognized the importance of Bahamianising the educational system, theypointed to the potential resource of expatriate teachers and consultants once policy makersare able to constructively channel these talents and efforts toward the fulfilment ofBahamian goals.As far as the Bahamianisation of the curriculum was concerned, Maraj and the othermembers of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s commission stressed the importance ofconsidering the distinctive characteristics of the Bahamian society when applying theprinciples and practices that they outlined in the development plan. Then, in illustrating theimportance of incorporating characteristics that are distinctively Bahamian, they spentconsiderable time drawing particular reference to the science programme. Acknowledgingthe efforts made toward the Bahamianisation of this programme since the White Paper, theypointed to the untapped potential of the earth and marine sciences.Extending the notion of Bahamianisation, the team stressed the importance of thegovernment ensuring that their general policy of the diversification of the economy, includediversification of the school programmes.The practical arts and the applied sciences must now take their places as equals withthe ‘academic’ offerings of the school. Indeed, if independence and self-sufficiency are to be more than mere political chimera, the practical side ofeducation must even overhaul and exceed the traditional emphasis on the ‘academic’as the summum bonum of educational accomplishment. (p. 10)The commission team’s extended conceptualization of Bahaniianisation alsoincluded a discussion of assessment and its role in the Bahamian educational system. Withparticular reference to the primary schools, the team expressed concern about thediscontinuance of the Common Entrance Examination (C.E.E.), an examination taken thenafter the sixth grade by all students wishing to go on to the secondary schools. Theysuggested that the new curriculum fill the void left by the C.E.E., and that educatorsmonitor the achievements of pupils and the programme so that improvement in basic skills41could be ensured. They also emphasized the importance of maintaining a close relationshipbetween curriculum development work and examinations, so that the curriculum intentionsof the government would not be distorted.The Maraj Report highlighted teachers as key agents in the reform process at twomajor levels. The first level related to curriculum development. The second related to theevaluation and revision of the curriculum. In fact, Maraj and the review team were clear instating that the process of curriculum development must include teacher educators,practising teachers, and pupils.The process [of curriculum development] cannot succeed without the skills andspecial knowledge of those concerned with teacher education, and without the closecoordination and insights of practising teachers, who are in daily contact withpupils. And pupils themselves have a vital part to play, for no new syllabus can bethought worthy of submission to the Ministry [of Education] for possiblepublication until classroom trials have proved its value, and patient re-writingfollowed by further school trials have remedied any deficiencies. (pp. 105-106)In addition, they acknowledged the input of the Bahamian community as a crucialdeterminant in the success or failure of the educational reform. Specifically, they expressedthe importance of consulting the public and keeping them informed about policies so that“genuine participation by the informed public in policy formation” (p. 32) would become areality.The Maraj commission members viewed communication at, and between, all levelsof the educational system as crucial if success in implementing the educational reform wasto be enhanced. Communication was first stressed in the role that the commission teamoutlined for the Ministry of Education:First, initiating the process [of curriculum development]Second, monitoring and servicing the work of committeesThird, approving the completed curriculumFourth, disseminating the guides, study outlines, courses of studyFifth, conducting in-service training programmes related to the new curriculaSixth, producing appropriate learning materials and evaluative instruments and testsSeventh, evaluating the curricula in the schoolsEighth, supplying curriculum committees with information about the success of thecurriculum with a view to modification and adjustmentNinth, initiating the process anew. (p. 104)42They extended this concept of communication in further discussions of the structureof the Ministry of Education, its relationship with practicing teachers, and the supportsystems that should result. They were particularly concerned about the informal system oforganization, the lack of involvement in the decision-making process of those directlyaffected by these decisions, the ill-defined roles and responsibilities of role-incumbents, theslowness of executive action, and the interference of ‘momentary political advantage’ withestablished policies. These concerns, according to the commission, would lead to theprevention of goal attainment, morale problems, and a poor public and professional imageof the Ministry of Education. Indeed, the free and regular flow of discussion andinformation was a theme that the commission team believed that the government must keepat the centre of its intentions. As they argued, it was only through such communication that“the development of educational policy will not only be, but seen to be, done within thecontext of public debate and public interest” (p. 13).The commission team also alluded to the importance of support systems in thisdiscussion of communication. This was done through the general reference to resources,as well as a specific discussion of the establishment of a Learning Resources Unit (LRU),and the role of the supervisor as support and ‘linking’ personnel.The role of the Learning Resources Unit (LRU), according to the team, would be asa support arm for the Bahamian educational system. It would produce approvedcurriculum guides, courses of study, and other Bahamian learning materials. The necessityof establishing such a unit was based on the team’s observation that the embryonicBahamian curriculum unit had had limited success in its preparation and dissemination ofqualitative and substantive educational materials. The priority for the Ministry of Educationthrough the LRU, according to the Maraj Report, was that a “comprehensive programmerelevant to the needs of [Tjhe Bahamas be prepared and disseminated for use in the schoolsthroughout the Commonwealth. No other activity of the Ministry of Education and Cultureis more important” (p. 100). The recognition that there were financial constraints, and that43the government needed to reconsider their policies regarding the supply of resources, had afurther impact on their stance regarding the function of the LRU. The commission teamwas clear in indicating that priorities among educational programmes and services must beset, as future increases in the educational budget would be consumed by the conditions ofinflation.[1]n times of fiscal stringency everyone in the educational system must learn tomake effective use of conventional resources and more imaginative use of non-conventional resources. The total environment must become educative and a majorsource of learning experiences and learning materials. (p. 14)They then related the role of the supervisor to their overall discussion ofcommunication as they stressed the need to keep the channels of communication openbetween the Ministry of Education bureaucracy and the classroom teacher.Experience elsewhere has given us reason to believe that it is possible for the oldstereotype of the ‘inspector’ to be abandoned. The school supervisor is now aresource person whose professional assistance is requested by the teacher who isgrappling with difficult problems: [s]he is able, by virtue of [her or] his travelround the schools, to communicate the way in which teachers in different places aresolving their problems. The supervisor is a change agent, involved constantly withthe in-service education of teachers in the place where such education can best becarried out — the classroom.. . . Unless supervisory visits are conducted on aregular basis, it is easy for those working at the [Ministry of Education]headquarters to lose close touch with the real concerns of the classroom, and indoing so to lose the confidence of the classroom teacher. (p. 118)The Maraj Report is more a statement of the conditions that are necessary foreducational reform to occur, than a policy statement of the government’s educational planfor reform. It is the type of policy statement that Ben-Peretz and Kremer (1979) callprocess oriented. Yet, it is significant in that it highlighted what Bahamian policy makershad done to address the goals of the White Paper. Additionally, it addressed that which thecommission team members perceived was still necessary, if the achievement of those goalswas to be facilitated. Indeed, it is interesting that the review team concluded its report witha section entitled “The Change Process.” In this section they stipulated that the intendedcurriculum must be understood by all actors involved in the implementation process, thatchannels of communication remain open between the classroom teacher and the Ministry44bureaucracy, and that the Bahamian community be fully involved in national policies.These conditions, they maintained, were necessary if change in the Bahamian educationalsystem was to occur.Yet, despite the focus of the document on the conditions necessary for change tooccur, the themes specified in the government’s White Paper, notably Bahamianisation, therole of support services, and an educational system that would serve the needs of aBahamian society, its people and their aspirations, are also stressed in the Maraj Report.The second phase of the mission, again made possible by the Commonwealth Secretariatthrough the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation, resulted in the production ofa development plan. This plan, Education for national progress: Guide for educationalplanning for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas for the period 1976-1981, was writtenby two members of the Maraj commission team and expounded similar themes as those inboth the Maraj Report and the White Paper.Education for national progress: Guide for educational planning for The Commonwealth ofThe Bahamas for the period 1976-198 1From the onset this second commission team acknowledged that the 1976-198 1educational plan (Education for national progress) was unconventional as it deviated fromthe usual plan that is “replete with details of enrollment projections, building schedules,number of teachers and similar data. .. . [Instead,] we have been principally concernedwith action which can be both effective and productive” (p. 3). The commission teampresented, then, “an action plan, a working tool, flexible enough to afford manoeurabilitywhich those who implement plans must have in a changing society” (p. 3).By acknowledging the government’s earlier articulation of the nation’s concerns,the team established a sense of continuity, not only with the Maraj Report, but also with theWhite Paper.45mhe quest for greater self-sufficiency, the policy of Bahamianisation, the securityof its people, resources and environment, restoring a sense of dignity to labour, thepursuit of social justice for all, national pride and loyalty, self-discipline andintegrity and the development of personal attributes based on Christian principlesmust be clearly and unequivocally reflected in the educational objectives,programme and practices of the school system of this country. (p. 7)In addition, this acknowledgment was in agreement with the Maraj Report’s stipulation thateducational objectives relate to national goals, as the plan attempted to relate educationalobjectives to public policy, particularly concerning social and economic development.The educational objectives that the team outhned were again in concurrence with thethemes evident in the two documents that preceded it. Seven of the fifteen objectiveshighlighted the importance of teachers, support services, and indigenous materials. Inaddition, the notion of ‘functional literacy and numeracy’ was a theme that receivedattention in this document.Primary, as did secondary and tertiary, education received more focused attentionthan it had in the previous documents. Specifically, the commission team outlined fivelong term and eight short term objectives. Most of these objectives concentrated on thethemes of literacy, citizenship, indigenous materials, support services, and the upgradingof the teaching profession. Yet, of all the themes that the review team listed as long termobjectives for primary education, that of Bahamianisation was most prominent. In settingthe frame for the discussion of the educational plan, the commission team agreed, as theydid in the Maraj Report, that the government’s Bahamianisation policy was essential in thenation’s development plan. By increasing the number of trained Bahamian teachers andmaking use of more indigenous components in the curriculum, they argued, the country’scultural identity could be strengthened, and there would be more effective use of humanand natural resources. In their words:Unless the average Bahamian believes deeply in [her or] his country and caresintensely about its growth and prosperity, irrespective of how these may now bedefined, the citizens of this Commonwealth will respond indifferently to the call toserve in the interest of the nation and not only as this call relates to the service ofyoung people. (p. 7)46In this way, the commission extended the notion of Bahamianisation beyond that of theteaching profession as they had also done in the Maraj Report.Pursuing the notion of Bahamianisation elsewhere in the document, the team madereferences to the need to incorporate indigenous elements in the curriculum and to be waryof ‘paradigmatic models’ used in Western industrialized contexts. Using the schoolsubject, reading, as an example, they argued that not only are indigenous materials feasible,but crucial at the primary level:Simple, inexpensive materials, especially for the reading programme, ought to beproduced for children, particularly in the primary grades. Initial formal learning ismore readily accomplished by young children when they can identify with thecontent of the materials from which they are learning. A small effective productionunit involving a competent editor and a production manager could produce a varietyof materials which emphasize the Bahamian experience. (p. 26)Indeed, they stressed the importance of the use of indigenous materials throughout theeducational system if the government was to solidify its Bahamianisation policy.The almost total reliance on non-Bahamian school materials throughout theCommonwealth vitiates the Bahamianisation process and hinders learning forcountless numbers of children. The development of a modest, yet effective,production unit for the purpose of producing low cost instructional materials,Bahamian in content and context, is indispensable to the fulfilment of a schoolprogramme which meets the social and educational needs of the country. (p. 14)Finally, the area of assessment was tied to the discussion of Bahamianisation as theystressed the need of interrelating the indigenous curriculum with the testing programme.The development of a national system of education, they argued, would be enhanced byusing Bahamian testing instruments and norms.As in the Maraj Report, the theme of the teacher as a central agent in the curriculumprocess was again a target of discussion in this five year educational plan. The introductionof this theme entered into the larger discussion of curriculum implementation. In theprocess of implementation, the drafters of the plan indicated that if commitment and supportwere to be secured, the most important issues were public information, public education,and the input of the classroom teacher.47Pursuing its recommendation in the Maraj Report that the government establish aLearning Resources Unit, the commission team again highlighted this recommendation,along with the recommendations of a completed primary curriculum, a new emphasis inteacher training, and the formulation a more detailed plan for the College of The Bahamas.These were the four areas of educational development that they stipulated would requiremajor efforts to facilitate the educational plan that they proposed. Yet, it is the LearningResources Unit that received top priority as they maintained that it would be the “catalystfor meaningful school [resource] units throughout the system” (p. 95). It is noteworthythat, in the discussion about the Learning Resources Unit, again there was a focus onsupport services, teacher education, and facilities that would be useful in the production ofindigenous instructional materials.SummaryA definite continuity of themes runs throughout the three major educationaldocuments, the White paper (1973), the Maraj Report (1974), and the commission’ssubsequent educational plan, Education for national progress (1976). The ProgressiveLiberal Party Government’s initial call, in the White paper, for Bahamianisation isexpanded to include: (1) its perceived drive for the maintenance of a cultural identity, (2)the honing of civic responsibilities, and (3) a respect for its human and natural resources.To enhance the achievement of this goal, the production and use of indigenous educationalmaterials is highlighted as crucial. The recognition of the classroom teacher as a centralagent in the reform process is stressed at every level, and in every document. Finally, theimportance of communication within the Ministry of Education, between the Ministry ofEducation officials and classroom teachers, and the education and involvement of theBahamian community in policy matters lie at the very foundation of the success of thiseducational reform.48Considering the above analysis, therefore, it is not unusual that the PLPGovernment heeded the commission’s recommendation to develop a national curriculum.The following section pursues a similar thematic examination of a selection of the 1982Curriculum Guides. These documents were the Government’s attempt to establish guidelines for teaching practices in The Bahamas. They represent the practical application of thegovernment’s intended educational policies as articulated through the White Paper and thesubsequent commission reports.Curriculum Policy Documents: The 1982 Curriculum GuidesIn preparation for the 1981 National Education Conference the Governmentappointed a National Education Conference Committee. Also at this time the Governmentgave this committee the responsibility of guiding the production a national curriculum.Since 1981, this committee, appointed by the Minister of Education, has includedrepresentatives from the Primary Principals’ Association, Secondary Principals’Association, College of The Bahamas, Chamber of Commerce, and Supply Section of theMinistry of Education. According to the chairperson of the committee in 1981:[T]hat very first conference really got all the managers, all the administrators,together. There were no regular classroom teachers, just administrators, and it dealtwith government policies, understanding what educational policy was all about andwhat were their roles and functions; it was at that conference in the policy statementthat the Minister made the announcement that it had been decided to establish astandardized curriculum throughout the system.Although there were no classroom teachers on the 1981 Conference Committee, membersof the committee made attempts to solicit their input by forming individual subjectcommittees. This involved an extensive search throughout the country as ConferenceCommittee members sought individuals, usually practicing teachers in each subject, toinclude on these subject committees. The chairperson of the Conference Committeeexplained the work of the committee in this way:49The committee led the way. We set in motion a kind of movement to get this[the formulation of the curriculum guides] done; that had never been done in thecountry before and I don’t know if it will ever be done again. We put together verylarge teams and went all over the Family Islands. We took it to every school in thiscountry, private and government. . . . We went to all the larger islands, and thenwe came back to New Providence; and the whole business was, you know,teaching the whole concept of a standardized curriculum, identifying core groups ofpeople who would be able to do that; we were really supported by the Minister [ofEducation] himself by the Director [of Education], who. . . travelled with us justabout everywhere. . . . including the Prime Minister. . . we had everybody.Indeed, the effort that the committee and policy makers made to include the input ofclassroom teachers, and the wider community is noteworthy, particularly as this was a firstattempt at writing such guidelines in the new nation. As Darrell E. Rolle, Minister ofEducation at the time, claimed in the Preface to the 1982 Curriculum Guides:For the first time in our history, teachers throughout The Bahamas have had anopportunity to develop their own curriculum. This curriculum must therefore beseen and regarded as our own local product, and we must as a consequence acceptresponsibility for all aspects of it.Individual subject committees, under the direction of members of the 1981Conference Committee, produced curriculum guides in all the subject areas taught at theprimary, junior and senior high levels at the time. As the present study is concerned withthe upper primary level, grades five and six, I concentrated on an examination of a selectionof guides for that level. Specifically, I reviewed the social studies, reading, and languagearts guides as these subjects, by the very nature of their foci, are responsible for the themesthat the earlier policy documents highlight as important.Ministry of Education 1982 Curriculum for Social StudiesThe significance of the 1982 Curriculum for Social Studies relates to the generallyaccepted objective of social studies programmes in most nations. That is, suchprogrammes, by the nature of their predominantly ‘social’ content, focus on groups, socialinstitutions, cultures and societies. The intent of the 1982 Bahamian social studiescurriculum was not an exception in this regard as the writers of this document stated that50this curriculum was “designed to teach the concepts, skills, and attitudes necessary foreffective citizenship in a democratic society in a complex world” (p. 1).The key concepts upon which the writers based this guide were self-identity,interdependence, socialization, choices, change, power, and diversity. Self-identity wasmeant to highlight the importance of an individual’s unique combination of talents, abilities,interests, and physical characteristics, and the way in which family, friends, and thecommunity affect the formation of this identity. Interdependence stressed the various waysindividuals, groups, societies, and nations depend on each other in important ways. Theprocess by which people learn to get along in their society, or learn the ways of theirculture was incorporated in socialization. In addition, it was this concept of socializationthat related to customs, and the value of culture in societies. The concept of choicesemphasized the conflicting demands on time, energy, money and other resources withwhich individuals, groups and nations are constantly faced. Change focused uponindividuals, educators, technological developments and conflicts as agents of change. Thefact that people influenced other people, whether individually, as a group or on nationallevels was addressed by the concept of power. The utilization of ‘power’ to get thingsdone was envisioned as essential in the teaching of this concept. Finally, diversity centredon the differences among individuals, populations, cultures, and geographic regions, andthe idea that differences enrich societies, although conflict develops when individuals,groups, and nations holding different values interact (Overview, p. 2).Although these seven concepts formed the foundation of the social studiescurriculum, it was the content of the social studies lessons and its delimitation for theprimary school grade levels that best demonstrated the general thrust of the programme. Asthe writers of the guide stated:It is important that a child study the society in his [or her] own country since this isthe background of [her or] his own experience which is always a point of referencein social studies. Beside, [s]he is being prepared for life in his [or her] owncountry even though [s]he may eventually emigrate. It is also important that [s]he51study something of other societies so that his [or her] understandings are aboutpeople in general other than members of a specific national group. (p. 9)The attitudes that the writers wished to encourage were those of an ‘effective citizen.’ Sucha citizen would develop responsible attitudes about her or his role in the community, wouldappreciate her or his cultural heritage, and would respect different peoples and civilizations.While the earlier primary school years were to cover the themes, “Who am I,” “Ilive in a community,” “People in our nation,” and “The Bahamas our home,” the intendedthemes of the upper primary level were “People outside my country” and “Cultures of theworld.” Yet, despite the intended switch in focus from the internal to the external, therewere still constant attempts to tie this external focus to its relationship with The Bahamas.For example, the grade five theme, “The people outside my country,” highlighted thehistorical and cultural links of The Bahamas as they are influenced by the British, Americanand African peoples. In addition, the guide outlined the following understandings:That physical and social environments help determine the skills, values and customsof people[,]. . . . [tjhat the culture of a people is passed on through plays, songsand dances [and].... [tjhat people are expected to live according to the parametersset by a culture. (p. 128)Furthermore, six of the fourteen behavioural objectives referred to The Bahamas in someway:Give illustrations and examples of assistance given and received in times of nationaldisaster in The Bahamas.Give geographical and social reasons for the links between The Bahamas and othercountries of the world.Write reports on the Lord Proprietors, Loyalists, Buccaneers and Pirates.Compare and contrast The Bahamian Culture with that of another Caribbeancountry.Draw maps of The Bahamas and insert boundaries of neighbouring countries.List organizations involved in the improvement of the standard of living in theCaribbean. (p. 130)In turn, the suggested activities that the guide included drew on Bahamian venues andexperiences, including visits to the commercial and business sectors of The Bahamas, theBahamas Defence Force Base, and villages settled by slaves during the early history of the52country. Explorations of folk tales, food dishes from around the region, and agreementsbetween The Bahamas and other countries were also suggested as activities.In the same manner, the sixth grade theme, “Cultures of the world,” extended theunderstandings, attitudes, skills, and behavioural objectives that the curriculum writersoutlined for grade five. In particular, the concentration was on ‘culture.’ Respect for othercultures of the world and an appreciation of the Bahamian culture were foremost. Still,while the suggested activities included the exploration of the various cultures of the world,there was always the explicit tie, by way of comparing and contrasting, that the writersstated teachers should draw between these cultures and that of The Bahamas.Finally, the bibliography that the writers of the curriculum included in the socialstudies guide listed eight of sixteen references that indigenous or regional firms hadpublished. These include Macmillan Caribbean, Instaprint Bahamas Ltd., Arawak Editors,The Bahamas Government Printing Department, Longman Caribbean, and The BahamasPublic Records Office. Generally, in keeping with the goal of Bahamianisation, and inparticular the use of indigenous content, the intended 1982 social studies programme wasone that sought to incorporate this basic objective.Ministry of Education 1982 Curriculum for Language Arts Upper PrimaryThe potential that language arts has as a vehicle for the transmittal of culturalelements and customs is evident. The framers of the Maraj Report recognized this subjectas a ‘basic learning area’ as they highlighted the importance of literacy and its relationshipto national development. Indeed, the importance of communication, and literacy in itsgeneral sense places both the language arts and reading programmes at the centre of theprimary level curriculum.The components that the developers of the language arts curriculum for the upperprimary level outlined as focal include: listening and speaking skills, handwriting, written53composition, spelling, grammar and usage, and literature. The sections of the guide thataddressed listening, speaking, handwriting, grammar and usage, and written compositionfocused on these components as skills that the student should develop to communicatemore effectively. Yet, there were attempts to include indigenous elements as suggestedactivities included every day experiences of students, and national newspapers, televisionor radio broadcasts as the content in, for example, the teaching of listening and spealcing.Still, it was the literature component that was more explicit in highlightingindigenous content in both the suggested activities and the objectives of the literatureprogramme. The general objectives for the upper primary level stated that students would:a. enjoy reading for pleasure and information.b. develop an appreciation for Bahamian and West Indian Literature.c. produce their own short stories, poems and plays.d. through literature recognize the universality of human nature.e. display empathy for the human condition portrayed through literature.f. recognize simple figurative devices found in poems, plays and novels. (p. 4)In suggesting activities that supported the realization of these objectives, the developers ofthe 1982 Language Arts Curriculum outhned lessons that incorporated the audio-taping ofstudents reading stories or poems, the dramatizing of plays, and the reading of variousperiodicals and magazines.However, the appendix for the upper primary level literature programme includedfew suggestions of indigenous materials for the classroom teacher’s use. Except forSherlock’s (1966) West Indian’s folk tales, Wallace’s (1970, 1973) Bahamian scenes, andIsland echoes, and Turner’s (1977) Songs of the surrey, the over 100 sources of materialsin the appendix ranged from Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer, to Norton’s (1967) 2iBorrowers, Stevenson’s Treasure Island, and Blume’s (1972) Tales of a fourth gradenothing. Books that Bahamians had written at, or before, the time of the production of the1982 Curriculum Guides such as Tertullien’s (1977) Old stories and riddles: Bahamianaculturama #1, Eneas’ (1976) Bain Town, and Smith’s (1979) Reflections of the sun andil were not mentioned. Other Caribbean authors such as Anthony (1970), Brodber54(1980), Edgell (1982), Hodge (1970), Lovelace (1982) and Naipaul (1959) were alsonoticeably absent from these lists.Nonetheless, despite the absence of recommended indigenous materials for use inthe literature programme, the thrust to develop an appreciation for Bahamian and WestIndian literature was one of the programme’s objectives. Thus the initial conception ofpolicy makers to Bahamianise the curriculum, though it may not have been supported bythe recommended materials in all cases, remained as a constant theme.The 1982 Language Arts Curriculum set the Bahamianisation of the curriculum as agoal, at least at the preliminary level. How well it developed this concept through itsrecommendations of teaching materials is questionable. Indeed, the issue of the selection,purchasing and production of indigenous materials is one that surfaces throughout myinvestigation of the implementation of the intended curriculum policies of the independenceera. Later in the dissertation, when I explore the practices of classroom teachers, and theapparent policies of the Ministry of Education bureaucracy regarding the larger issue ofindigenous materials, more light is shed on this problem.Ministry of Education 1982 Suggested Reading Curriculum for Primary SchoolsThe writers of the reading curriculum envisioned reading as a component that wasinter-related with that of the larger language arts programme. At the onset they presented adefinition of reading that incorporated the views of the educators who produced the guideand thus served as a guiding post in its formulation:Reading is regarded as an active, creative process that includes recognition ofprinted symbols, understanding of information, reaction to that information andintegration of attitudes, skills and abilities. It is a life-giving art which enables theindividual to function effectively in society. (p. viii)Stressing that teachers should not view reading as several simple skills that could betaught in a few formal lessons, the developers of the 1982 Reading Curriculum presented a55sequential development of skills from readiness to grade six. The skill areas included:readiness, word recognition, comprehension, and study and research. The specific readingskills for grades five and six that they listed included: sight words, phonetic analysis,structural analysis, vocabulary development, dictionary skills, comprehension skills, andstudy skills. In turn, the suggested activities concentrated on ways in which teachers couldassist in the development of these skills.While the developers of the 1982 Reading Curriculum did not include a list ofsuggested materials, other than the use of flash cards and the like, they did state their viewsregarding the selection of reading materials. In their words, “Since reading is adevelopmental process, careful thought must be given to the selection of books andmaterials that would help the child master the desired skills in sequential order” (p. viii).The selection of materials was the responsibility of the classroom teacher who, thedevelopers hoped, would “modify the content and create new and additional material tomeet the needs and interests of the students” (p. ii).Building on a major goal set for Bahamian education, developing well-informedand intelligently active citizens, the developers of the 1982 Reading Curriculum reinforcedan initial intention of policy makers of the independence era, the pursuit of literacy. Yet,except for the stated tie to the language arts component, there was little expansion of otherthemes, at least not as they were evident in both the language arts guidelines and that ofsocial studies. In fact, as mentioned, there was no recommended list of reading materials,indigenous or otherwise, included in the guide. Still, as I discovered through myexamination of language arts’ teaching practices, the teaching of reading presented aninteresting arena for the analysis of the implementation of The Bahamas Government’scurriculum policies. I explore the complex nature of reading instruction later in thedissertation.56SummaryThe 1982 primary school curriculum guides offered suggested guidelines forteaching practices. It was the intent of the Progressive Liberal Party Government, and thedevelopers of these documents, that classroom teachers would use them as guidelines fortheir daily practices, and would further develop them in the years that followed theirintroduction. Indeed, it was the then Minister of Education himself, Darrell E. Rolle, whostated in the Preface to all of the guides that:We would be mistaken if we regard the new curriculum as an end in itself. It isonly a beginning. It is yet to be tested and tried. The final test of its validity will befound in the quality of Bahamian students produced in our schools in the yearsahead.Pursuing this point, the then Director of Education, Marjorie W. T. Davis, highlighted theimportance of teacher innovation in further developing the curriculum:These materials form the basic guidelines and must be adjusted appropriately interms of teaching methodology and educational strategies. There is muchopportunity for teacher innovation which is of course fundamental to curriculumdevelopment. Initiative on the part of the users of these materials is to beencouraged and teachers are urged to submit comments and suggestions to theparticular subject committee so that the work that has now commenced maycontinue and quality education may be achieved in all our schools. (Introduction toguides)The nature of teacher innovation and initiative in respect to the use of these guidescan be investigated, at a preliminary level, by examining the schemes of work and lessonplan of teachers. While the schemes of work expand upon the suggested guidelines of the1982 Curriculum Guides, the lesson plans are purportedly the intended plans for the dailypractices of teachers. I include a discussion of lesson plans later in the dissertation, when Iinvestigate the practices of teachers within the classroom setting. At this point, however, Ihave chosen to examine a selection of schemes of work as they represent extensions of the1982 Curriculum Guides, and thereby give detailed frameworks of intended teachingpractices.57Schemes of workIn contrast to the skeletal frameworks of the 1982 guides, the written schemes ofwork usually show more detail in terms of notes, activities, and sometimes how much timewould be spent on each topic. The schemes that I examined vary from school to school,particularly in the language that the writers chose and the amount of detail that they used.This variation is not surprising as the Ministry of Education does not require that schemesbe uniform, but only that teachers use the 1982 Curriculum Guides as guidelines.As discussions with classroom teachers led me to conclude that they depend moreon schemes of work than the 1982 Curriculum Guides, when making choices aboutteaching content, I saw the need to include this important source in my documentexamination. The schemes that I used in the following examination are a collection that Iobtained from the teachers whom I met during my data collection period. The purpose ofthis examination was to establish whether there was that continuity of themes that the earlierpolicy documents, and particularly the 1982 Curriculum Guides, demonstrated.When the Ministry of Education distributed the 1982 Curriculum Guides, Ministryofficials urged teachers to submit comments and suggestions to the appropriate subjectcommittees. These same subject committees, that the National Education ConferenceCommittee had established for the drafting of the curriculum, continued to function evenafter the Ministry released the curriculum in 1982. It was, and still is today, their functionas a standing committee to work with the curriculum officer responsible for each subjectarea. These committees include heads of departments and classroom teachers throughwhom, technically, the curriculum officer can relay information to the larger teachingpopulation. Still, in 1982 and the years that followed the initial phase of implementation,the Ministry of Education had not established formal machinery for the collection anddissemination of feedback. However, according to various Ministry of Education officials,school administrators, and classroom teachers, some teachers did complete annual58evaluations and submitted these to the various subject officers. This annual, andsometimes biannual, practice developed into the annual writing of schemes of work. Theschemes are, however, only circulated among members of the particular grade level in theparticular school, and not among other schools in the country.Again, as with the preceding discussion of the 1982 Curriculum Guides, I restrictedmy discussion of written schemes of work to language arts and social studies because theearlier documents highlighted key themes for which these subjects are responsible. Inaddition, I make topical reference to science as it presented an interesting comparative case.The schemes of work are not meant to be representative as they were collected only fromteachers of the three schools in which I conducted my field work. Still, they do raiseseveral interesting questions that I address later in the dissertation.Schemes of work for language artsAs with the 1982 Curriculum Guides, the schemes of work for language arts that Iexamined included the following topics: listening and speaking, literature, handwriting orpenmanship, written composition or creative writing, spelling, and grammar and usage.Again, it was the literature component that dealt more broadly with specifics as it related tothe themes that I have discussed so far in this chapter. As with the guides, the schemes ofwork for listening and speaking, handwriting or penmanship, written composition orcreative writing, spelling, and grammar and usage dealt more with actual skills on whichthe writers asked teachers to concentrate. Yet, it is interesting that the areas of focus(listening and speaking, handwriting or penmanship, etc.) were the same, and that theskills also built on those in the 1982 guide. In fact, in the three schemes, references listedfor teacher consultation included the 1982 Curriculum Guide for Primary Language Arts.There were also distinct similarities in the three literature schemes of work that Iexamined. Although these schemes varied in terms of the amount of detail and the59suggested activities that teachers included, the general aims were similar to those that the1982 guide outlined. Echoing the objectives of the 1982 guide, the three schemes statedthe importance of: developing an appreciation for Bahamian and West Indian literature;encouraging the reading of literature for pleasure and information; encouraging the studentto produce her or his own stories, poems, and plays; and encouraging the recognition ofthe universality of human nature through the experience of literature. Yet, the threeschemes suggested various approaches to achieving these aims. Stifi, despite the variationsin suggested approaches, the similarity, of both the language arts areas generally andliterature specifically, supports the observation that classroom teachers incorporate the aimsof the 1982 Language Arts Curriculum Guide in their written language arts schemes ofwork.Schemes of work for social studiesAn examination of the social studies schemes of work revealed more diversity thanthat of language arts. This diversity revolved around the sequence and emphasis of topicswithin the curriculum. While the social studies schemes that I examined made attempts topursue the more general themes outlined in the 1982 guides, “People outside my country”and “Cultures of the world,” the starting points varied from scheme to scheme. Forexample, one sixth grade scheme began by focusing on the “Early settlers to The Bahamas”during the first term, followed by a more detailed analysis of “The Bahamas” during thesecond term, and ended with an analysis of “Bahamian culture” and “Cultures of theworld” during the third term. This sequence did not conform to the 1982 guidelines, atleast not in its strictest sense. Instead, there was an obvious overlap with content that the1982 Social Studies Curriculum Guide included in its grade four curriculum. It was notuntil the third term that this scheme turned to the content intended for students of the sixthgrade, “Cultures of the world.”60In contrast, another social studies scheme for a sixth grade followed the format ofthe 1982 Social Studies Curriculum Guide more closely. The objectives that this schemehighlighted were similar to those in the 1982 guide, although teachers added morecontemporary examples as illustrations such as the Commonwealth Heads of GovernmentMeeting (CHOGM), the Caribbean track and field body, CARIFTA, and the cultural body,CARIFESTA (Caribbean Festival of Arts). This scheme also expanded the 1982 guide’sobjective regarding the study of countries, zones, and map drawing/labelling by using sixof its seventeen objectives to specify what teachers should cover in this area. Havingestablished this as a foundation during the fall term, the scheme went on for the remainderof the academic year to address the following topics: the United Nations, Culture, theBritish Commonwealth of Nations, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and theOrganization of American States (OAS), Resources, and the Government of theCommonwealth of The Bahamas.These two very different sixth grade social studies schemes demonstrate that theremay be differences in both the content and approaches that teachers take when teaching thissubject. While it is perilous to make generalizations based on just two schemes of work, itis plausible that teachers might adjust their focus of teaching for various reasons. Whatthese reasons are, and what the resulting impact might be on the implementation of the1982 curriculum, are both questions that cannot be addressed through a simple examinationof schemes of work. Such an investigation must be pursued within the context ofcurriculum practice. That is, one must explore the classroom practices of teachers andengage in discourse with the implementors, the teachers, so that such dynamics may berevealed.61Schemes of work for sciencePerhaps because there is less leeway in the science curriculum, written schemes ofwork for science that I examined were more uniform. Three of the schemes of work that Iexamined conformed to the basic outline of topics not only in grades five and six, butthroughout the primary school years. These topics include: scientific method,measurement, matter, living and non-living things, energy, and the earth and the universe.The only thing that varied was the detail that was covered at each grade level.At the grade five and six levels, according to the supplement to the Primary ScienceCurriculum (1984), teachers should concentrate on measurement, living and non-livingthings, the earth and the universe, matter, and energy. The three schemes of work that Iexamined addressed these topics. Indeed, the uniformity in terms of suggested approacheswas astounding. Other than the probable lack of flexibility regarding science topics,another reason there was such a marked similarity might be because the schemes of workthat I examined were those of science specialists in the three respective primary schools.Whether the role of the specialist teacher enhances the uniformity of the implementationprocess is an interesting issue that I address later in the dissertation.Still, it is sufficient to note, at this point, that the science schemes of work that Iexamined conformed to the guidelines suggested by policy makers. In addition, it is worthnoting that even the “Primary Science Exhibition,” held during November 1991, stipulatedthat students enter projects that fell within the same topics as those outlined by the 1982curriculum. In addition, the planners of the the exhibition, whose theme was “Discover,explore and learn through science,” organized it with the Ministry of Education’s ‘sciencegoal’ in mind:EACH child in The Bahamas should be given the chance to interact with objects andevents of the natural world by becoming actively involved in exploring, searching,discovering, measuring, analyzing, theorizing, generalizing, observing,experimenting — thereby acquiring the understandings, knowledge and skills62necessary to survive in this world. (Primary Science Exhibition, ProgrammeBooklet)SummaryAgain, I wish to stress that the schemes of work, that I included in the aboveexamination, were not meant to be taken as representative of those used by teachersthroughout The Bahamas. Yet, the examination highlighted various factors that couldinfluence the direction that teachers decide to take in the construction of their writtenschemes of work, and ultimately their teaching practices.The similarity in the language arts schemes is noteworthy. It is also worth noting atthis point that the language arts programme is further enhanced by an examination systemthat acts as a ‘check and balance.’ Evidence of this a ‘check and balance’ is presented inthe Ministry of Education’s Circular No: 56, dated October 21, 1987. This circular statedthat:All schools need to give particular attention to and record student progress inwriting skills. To help schools meet this objective, the Ministry of Education hasdecided to add writing components to the Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) atthe sixth and eight grade levels. . . . School administrators should ensure thatWritten Composition is properly timetables at all grade levels. Teachers should beencouraged to use the Writing Process Teaching Method: Prewriting, Composing,Revising and Publishing in preparing students for the writing component.Similarly, the same areas that the GLAT examination addresses are listed as separate topicsin the schemes of work, and even in the standard ‘Progress Report Card’ used by allgovernment primary schools.The social studies programme presents a contrasting situation. Again, I do notmean to suggest that the examples that I used in my examination were representative, butthat perhaps this subject is one that receives on-going re-definition. The nature of thesubject could explain the incorporation of current topics such as those in the second scheme63of work that I examined. Yet, this does not explain the differences in emphasisdemonstrated between the first and the second scheme.Finally, the science schemes introduced another issue, that of the specialist teacher.Does the specialist teacher enhance the uniformity of the cuniculum process? The strildngsimilarity evident in these schemes raises interesting prospects in this regard.An examination of the schemes of work, and even lesson plans, of teachers cangive some insight into the ‘initiative’ that the Director of Education, in the introduction tothe 1982 Curriculum Guides, asked teachers to take. Yet, we must view such anexamination with caution. This is particularly so with the examination of the lesson plans,as discussions with classroom teachers and my observations of their practices revealed thatfor many reasons these plans are not always fulfilled. This may also be the case with thewritten schemes of work that I have just discussed. Just what happens in practice and whyteachers choose to do, or not do, certain things cannot be answered at this stage of myanalysis, but when I explore teaching practices later in the dissertation.64CHAPTER 5RESULTS OF QUESTIONNAIRE INSTRUMENTIntroductionI have presented the findings of my questionnaire using the following categories:teacher demographic information, availability and use of the 1982 Curriculum Guides in theprimary schools, the format and content of the guides, the availability of resource materialsfor use with the guides, support services, and physical facilities. As these are the samecategories that the Ministry of Education used in its 1985 curriculum survey, they facilitatea comparison between both studies.Demographic dataThe description of teachers in the 1991 sample of this study is comparable to that ofthe Ministry of Education’s 1990-1991 classification of the teaching positions (seeAppendix D-1). However, the number of university degrees held by the teachingpopulation is not comparable (see Appendix D-2). I have also presented the genderdistribution of the initial 1991 sample (n=104) in Table 3 (Appendix D-3) which shows thatthe initial sample was also comparable to the Ministry’s latest statistics on this variable.Another question included in my 1991 questionnaire addressed teaching experience.Teachers were asked to indicate the number of years that they had taught in the publicschool system. Of the 85 women who responded to this item, 5 (6%) had taught for lessthan 6 years; 7 (8%) for both 6 to 10 and 11 to 15 years; 32 (38%) had taught between 16and 20 years; 14 (16%) between 21 and 25 years; 8 (9%) between 26 and 30 years; and 665(7%) for both 31 to 35 and 36 to 46 years. The teachers who responded to this 1991questionnaire represent a very experienced group as 73 (86%) of them have taught for 11or more years. Furthermore, I assume that they are familiar with the organization andmanagement of the Ministry of Education school system and its curriculum as they havebeen in the system for 11 years or more. Only 6% of the respondents were not in thepublic school system when the Ministry conducted its 1985 survey.Availability and use of 1982 guidesThe analysis of the data relating to the availability and use of the guides alsouncovered similar findings as those of the Ministry’s 1985 study. In response to the itemasking whether the 1982 Curriculum Guides were available to them, about 83% of thewomen in my sample indicated that they were available, while approximately 86% of theMinistry’s sample indicated that the guides were available to them.The two questionnaire items that addressed the issue of the use of the guidesconcern the extent that respondents follow their guidelines, and whether they felt confidentteaching the curriculum. Fifty-five percent of the respondents said that they followed theguidelines ‘somewhat closely,’ 40% said that followed them ‘closely.’ The Ministry’sinstrument did not include this item. In response to whether they felt confident teaching thecurriculum, 76% of the respondents on my questionnaire replied ‘yes,’ as compared to75% of the Ministry’s 1985 sample.Format and content of guidesA range of items, common to both surveys, addressed the issue of format andcontent. First, teachers were asked whether the suggested activities included in the guideswere sufficient. The analysis of the 1991 data showed that 9% of the respondents agreed66that there were sufficient activities. The Ministry’s 1985 survey showed less consensus as31% disagreed and 56% agreed that there were sufficient suggested activities in the 1982guides.Beside the question about the activities included in the guides, there was a series ofitems relating to the theme of format and content. These items addressed the question oftextbooks. The analyses for both surveys are presented in Tables 4-6 (see Appendix D).An analysis of the questionnaire item concerning the revision of the content of the1982 Curriculum Guides uncovered different percentages for each year. While the 1985survey reported that about 60% of the respondents agreed that the content needed revision,my 1991 survey showed that 86% perceived that the guides were in need of revision.Finally, regarding the content of the guides, the 1991 questionnaire instrumentasked teachers to respond to how relevant they perceived the goals and objectives of theguides to be in terms of their (a) meeting the academic needs of students, and (b) preparingstudents for their lives in society. In response to the item on academic relevance, 49% ofthe teachers indicated that the content of the guides was ‘relevant,’ 46% that it was‘somewhat relevant,’ and 5% responded that it was ‘not at all relevant.’ Then, in responseto the item on the relevance for the students’ lives in society, 61% indicated that it was‘somewhat relevant,’ 36% that it was ‘relevant,’ and 4% that it was ‘not at all relevant.’Resource materialsData available through both surveys addressed the issue of resource materials, indifferent ways. When respondents replied in 1985 to the question as to whether the 1982Curriculum Guides “make adequate use of resource materials,” approximately 65% of therespondents agreed that the use was adequate. Yet, when asked in the 1991 surveywhether there was sufficient resource material to help teach the curriculum, only 51% of therespondents indicated that there was the case. Then, when asked specifically about67Bahamian resource material, 49% of the respondents indicated that the guides made ‘lessthan adequate’ use of Bahamian resource material, 45% indicated that the use was‘adequate,’ and 6% indicated ‘not at all.’ Although there was no similar question on the1985 instrument, a report summarizing the results of the 1985 study noted that, through theopen-ended responses, teachers indicated that “the activities in the curriculum should bemore indigenously related to Family Island experiences, things that are readily identifiableby the students” (p. 5). In addition, teachers expressed that the Ministry of Education“should purchase and make available to the school much needed resource materials andequipment.... [Also, resource material] where feasible should be indigenous in nature” (p5).Tied to the issue of resources is that of physical facilities. The Ministry’s 1985survey reported that 63% of the respondents indicated that ‘the instructional area wassufficient to accommodate existing class enrollments in an effective learning situation.’However, only 35% of the respondents of the 1991 survey agreed that there was sufficientspace for effective learning to take place.Support servicesThe fmal category of analysis is that of the availability of support services. Bothquestionnaires addressed this issue by asking whether teachers received any assistancefrom the Ministry of Education to implement the 1982 guides. The 1985 survey reportedthat “less than half of the teachers received formal assistance from the Ministry” (p. 3). Ipresent the analysis of the Ministry of Education’s assistance to teachers by subject in Table7 (Appendix D-7).Closely allied to the issue of Ministry assistance to teachers is the question of theextent that teachers perceive the Ministry of Education to be receptive to their concernsabout the curriculum. I posed this question in the 1991 survey. In response, 38% of the68sample indicated that channels of communication were ‘somewhat open,’ 36% indicatedthat they were ‘not open at all,’ and 26% indicate that they are ‘open.’ Still, 69% of thesame respondents indicated that they had not received any updated information from theMinistry concerning revisions to the curriculum since the 1985 survey.It is important that I contextualize the differences and suggested relationships ofthese questionnaire responses. I attempt to do this through in-depth interviews and fieldobservations. Before moving to the findings that these two methods revealed I discuss thecomparisons between the findings of my study and the Ministry of Education’s 1985curriculum study.Issues that emerge from the questionnaire dataTeachers’ qualificationsIn this section I discuss the findings of both the 1991 study and the Ministry ofEducation’s 1985 study. The analytical categories used above are again used to comparethe fmdings. I have refrained from drawing inferences at this point as the findings of bothquestionnaire instruments introduce additional issues. Therefore, I pose questions that Iexpand upon when I examine my interview and field note data later in the dissertation.Except for teacher qualifications, the similarity in demographic data between mysample and the Ministry of Education’s latest statistics (1990-9 1) supports the contentionthat the sample is comparable to the larger teaching population at the primary level in TheBahamas public school system. Yet, attention is directed to several issues due to thedisparity regarding qualifications between the two surveys. These issues concern theimpact that the higher percentage of teachers with university degrees, found in my sample,could have on the findings of the 1991 survey; the possibility that there may be a higherconcentration of teachers with these degrees at the upper primary as compared to those atmiddle and lower primary levels; the possibility that those teachers with the higher69qualifications are the ones that responded to my questionnaire; and the possibility that thoseteachers with higher qualifications could have been more critical in their responses. Thefollowing comparison of responses to several of the questionnaire items addresses some ofthese concerns.Several responses are comparable across both groups of teachers. Regarding theissue of student access to textbooks, 43% of the higher qualified (university degrees)teachers indicated that each child had adequate access, while 45% of the remaining teachersindicate likewise (see Table 5 for complete sample analysis). While 76% of the higherqualified teachers agreed that the texts corresponded with the 1982 Curriculum Guides,80% of the other teachers agreed that there was a correspondence (see Table 6 completesample analysis). The question of Ministry of Education assistance to teachers revealedhigh percentages (75% and 70% respectively) as both groups indicated that they do receiveassistance (see Table 7 complete sample analysis). The perceptions of both groups ofteachers regarding the issue of the sufficiency of suggested activities are also comparable:Ninety percent of the more highly qualified teachers and 92% of the less qualified teachersindicated that there were insufficient activities. Both groups concurred regarding the issueof the revision of the guides as 87% of the higher qualified teachers and 83% of the othersindicated that revision was necessary.There was less similarity on issues concerning resources, but the differences werenot large. Compared to the ‘yes’ responses (59%) of the teachers with higherqualifications, 68% of the teachers with lower qualifications indicated that the suggestedtexts were available (see Appendix D-4 for complete sample analysis). Fifty-three percentof the more qualified teachers indicated that there were sufficient resource materials to helpteach the curriculum while 61% of the other teachers indicated that there were sufficientmaterials. There was also a difference in the responses regarding the use of Bahamianresources materials. Fifty-eight percent of the more qualified teachers indicated that there70was ‘less than adequate use of Bahamian materials’ while only 48% of the other sampleindicated the same.The issue of communication with the Ministry of Education presented another areaof difference. Forty percent of the more highly qualified teachers indicated that thechannels of communication were not open at all, 40% indicated that the channels weresomewhat open, and 19% indicate that they are open. The percentages for the otherteachers are more evenly spread as 31% indicated that the channels were not open at all,31% indicated that they were somewhat open, and 38% indicated that they were open. Yet,both groups were closer to consensus in their responses to whether they had receivedupdated information from the Ministry of Education since the 1985 survey. Seventypercent of the more qualified teachers indicated that they had yet to receive updatedinformation from the Ministry of Education, while 64% of the other teachers indicated thatthey had yet to receive the information.The difference in the responses concerning the issues of resources andcommunication may indeed point to a bias in the 1991 survey as it is possible that the morequalified teachers may have been more critical of these issues. However, there is littledifference in the responses regarding the issues of student access to textbooks, textbookcorrespondence, Ministry of Education assistance to teachers, the lack of sufficientactivities, and the need for revision of the curriculum. The remainder of the discussion thatfollows addresses the analysis of the responses of both groups of teachers together. Thedifferences between the two groups are not sufficiently large so as to invalidatecomparisons.General observationsBoth the 1991 survey and the Ministry of Education’s 1985 survey concurred thatthe 1982 Curriculum Guides were available to most of the teachers. In addition, most of71the teachers in both sample populations expressed their confidence in their teaching of thecurriculum. It is unfortunate, however, that the Ministry of Education’s instrument did notask teachers how closely they followed the guidelines of the 1982 guides so that a furthercomparison could be made as the 1991 data revealed a split in responses on this item. Thequestion that arises from this split, between ‘somewhat closely’ (55%) and ‘closely’(40%), is: what factors influence whether teachers follow the guidelines or not?The difference in the findings of both surveys concerning the sufficiency ofsuggested activities in the guides also poses several questions. Considering that theanalysis showed that the responses of the teachers were comparable despite qualifications:Why was there a higher percentage of teachers in the 1991 sample who indicated that therewere not sufficient activities included in the guides? Does the passage of six years since the1985 survey explain the difference? Have teachers only recently become dissatisfied withthe same material/activities over the six year period? How does this dissatisfaction translateinto contemporary classroom practices? What impact does this have upon the intendedcuniculum?The issue of the revision of the 1982 Curriculum Guides is noteworthy. In bothsurveys the majority of the teachers indicated that the guides were in need of revision. Asthe 1991 analysis showed, the percentage has increased since 1985 from 60% to 86%.Additionally, the majority of both the higher qualified teachers as well as the less qualifiedones indicated that the guides were in need of revision (87% and 83% respectively). Thisis a serious commentary on the perceived state of the guides. The crucial question is twofold. Why do teachers perceive that revision is necessary? What kinds of revisions wouldthey recommend?Tied to the preceding issue is that of the availability of resource material. Althougheach instrument addressed this issue differently, the findings show that there are problemsthat complicate the ease with which teachers are able to translate the intended curriculum.That is, while 65% of the teachers in the 1985 survey indicated that the guides made72adequate use of resource material, only 51% of the 1991 respondents indicated that therewas sufficient material available to help them teach the curriculum. Although the possibilitythat the higher qualified teachers in the 1991 sample may have been more critical than theother teachers, there are still notable percentages (47% and 39% respectively) of teachersfrom each group who said that there were not sufficient resource materials available. Whatdoes this mean for daily classroom practices? Are teachers expected to fmd their ownresources? Do they find these resources? If so, where do they find them? What demandsdoes this put on the teachers’ preparation time, especially when we consider that theprimary teacher is often not a specialist, but a generalist?The issue of textbooks is multifaceted. Several questions arise. Are the suggestedtextbooks available for use by (a) the teacher, and (b) the students in the translation of theintended curriculum? An examination of the issue of textbook availability in both samples(Appendix D-4) shows that percentages vary from subject to subject. However, the meansacross respondents of both samples (63% for 1991 and 55% for 1985) show slightimprovement. Again, there is a difference in the responses offered by the higher qualifiedteachers as compared to the other teachers in the 1991 sample. Yet, there are notablepercentages of teachers (41% and 32% respectively) who indicated that texts are notavailable. Still, the larger question is whether students have access to these texts, and theresponses in this respect are comparable despite qualifications.While the general availability of textbooks has improved for most of the subjects,this does not mean that students have access to these textbooks (see Appendix D-5).Although there has been improvement in this area, a comparison of the means shows thatsince 1985 the mean has not reached fifty percent. Only reading, language arts andmathematics, are above 50 percent. What impact does the lack of student access totextbooks have upon the teachers’ ability to translate the intended curriculum? What are theimplications for classroom practice, including teacher and student activities?73The analyses done for the item that addressed the correspondence betweensuggested texts and Curriculum Guides (Appendix D-6) show an increase in percentages.In addition, for both years the higher percentages in all subjects indicate that the textbooksdo correspond. While the majority of the responses of teachers in the 1991 sample, despitequalifications, agreed that there was correspondence (76% and 80% respectively), this is anissue that deserves further probing. In particular, it is unclear whether the respondentsperceived ‘correspondence’ as that which included only basic concepts or more generalcontent. This is an important consideration especially when we acknowledge the basicpremise upon which the 1982 curriculum guides lie. That is, there was to be the promotionof a more indigenously based curriculum. Yet, as the analysis of the use of Bahamianmaterial showed, 49% of the respondents in the 1991 survey indicated that the guides made‘less than adequate’ use of Bahamian resource material, 45% indicated that the use was‘adequate,’ and 6% indicated ‘not at all.’ I probed this issue in my interviews withteachers.The issue of the adequacy of physical facilities also relates to how, or if, teachers’classroom duties are facilitated. The differences in percentages in the two surveys showthat teachers have become dissatisfied with ‘instructional spaces.’ Yet, it is interesting thatin the 1991 survey, the less qualified teachers were more critical of this issue than the morequalified teachers. Still, the majority of both groups of these teachers (70% and 62%respectively) concurred that they were dissatisfied with the ‘instructional spaces’ currentlyavailable. The questions that these percentages raise include: Have ‘instructional spaces’deteriorated over the years? Have class sizes increased? Again, what impact do thesefactors have upon the daily practices of the teacher? I pursued these issues throughdiscussions with teachers as I investigated how the state of the physical facilities affectedtheir daily practices.The analysis of the availability of support services introduces an important factor inthe curriculum translation process. Indeed, if teachers do not have adequate support74services how likely are they to implement the intended cuniculum? While there has beenimprovement in the percentages of teachers receiving assistance over the years (AppendixD-7), there is a disparity in the responses addressing the issue of communication betweenclassroom teachers and the Ministry of Education. This query remains relevant althoughthere are differences in the responses of the higher qualified and less qualified teachers inthe 1991 sample. Forty percent of the higher qualified and 31% of the less qualifiedteachers indicated that channels of communication were ‘not open at all.’ In addition, thereis reason for concern as 69% of the respondents indicated that they have not received anyupdated information from the Ministry of Education concerning revisions since the 1985survey. This concern is warranted despite the fact that the higher qualified teachers (70%)were more critical. Sixty-four percent of the less qualified teachers indicated that they hadnot received updated information. If teachers feel that their concerns are not beingaddressed, what impact does this have upon their classrooms practices? Are they more, orless likely, to translate the intended curriculum?SummaryIt is important that we acknowledge the possibility of bias in the 1991 survey. Theanalysis above suggests that the more qualified teachers might have been more critical ofsome issues. The issue of physical facilities was an exception where the less qualifiedteachers were more critical than the more qualified teachers. Still, even where there weredifferences in responses between the more qualified teachers and the less qualified teachers,the magnitude of the percentages in all cases support an argument for concern. Thesefmdings, and those of the 1985 survey, present a framework for further investigation.They raise questions that could only be addressed in interactive situations. The informalinterview and field observations presented just that opportunity. It is to those fmdings thatI now turn in the following chapter.75CHAPTER 6TEACHER-SCHOOL PROFILESIntroductionDuring the time that the Progressive Liberal Party occupied the majority of theparliamentary seats, from 1967 to August 1992, they maintained that education was one oftheir major concerns. The gradual increases in the education budget over the years, theparty’s initial policy statement, Focus on the future: White paper on education (1973), andsubsequent policy directives did, indeed, demonstrate a rhetoric of commitment to a qualityBahamian educational system. Yet, the following teacher-school profiles raise pressingissues regarding the success of curriculum policy directives lodged at the very heart of theBahamian educational system. Through discussions and personal contact with classroomteachers and administrators, I investigated how the implementors view curriculum policy. Itried to unravel the complexities of curriculum reform processes, and explored the alternateapproaches to curriculum reform as they were revealed by those intimately involved in thetranslation of policy. It is my hope that, through the following profiles, the reader listensto the voices of the teachers who form the backbone of the complex implementationprocess.The names of the teachers and the schools that I use in the following profiles arepseudonyms. Still, as I reflect upon the detail that these ‘snapshots’ present, I am acutelyaware of how easily an individual familiar with the context can identify the schools ofwhich I speak. Yet, it is the similarity of the experiences in many schools of The Bahamasto which the data of this study speaks. My only hope is that the intent will not be to isolatethe actors or the schools, but to extract the insight that they reveal.76Before beginning the first teacher-school profile a brief description of themanagerial operations within the school would be useful. All public schools on the islandof New Providence have an administrative staff responsible for the management of theschool. Usually, the staff includes a principal and vice principal. However, the largerschools often have more than one vice principal, and one or more senior master ormistress. The vice principal assists the principal with the daily operation of the school, andshe or he, with the principal, maintains contact with the Ministry of Education. Theresponsibility of the senior master or mistress is usually to attend to student disciplinarymatters. Also, occasionally, principals may appoint grade level coordinators to assist withthe coordination of the curriculum. Sometimes, these coordinators may be the samemembers of the administration.The direction that a school takes rests, for the most part, in the hands of theprincipals to whom the Ministry of Education gives a certain degree of freedom to managetheir schools. For example, principals make decisions regarding the use of the instructionalsetting (mixed ability or academic streaming), and the allocation of teachers to grade levelswithin their schools. Also, until recently (1991) even the scheduling of subjects was thethe principal’s responsibility. However, at the beginning of the 199 1-1992 school year thecurriculum officers, with the Director of Education, decided upon the number of periods toassign to each subject. The Ministry of Education then forwarded this breakdown to therespective schools in the education system, and they now assume that it is the intendedpractice. Teacher evaluation is another responsibility that the Ministry of Education hasallocated to principals who complete the Annual Confidential Report for each teacher ontheir school’s staff. Although principals do get input from the members of the Ministry ofEducation’s Supervisory Division, who visit schools two to three times a year, the annualteacher evaluation rests with the principals.Generally, principals wield considerable power as they, in essence, can determinethe direction in which their school will go. They represent the crucial link between the77Ministry of Education bureaucracy and the classroom teachers as they seek to ensure thatthey meet their teachers’ and students’ needs, and that they address teachers’ concernsregarding the importance of the cuniculum. Through the following teacher-school profiles,we get an idea of just how well principals and the teachers with whom they work copegenerally, and specifically concerning curriculum matters.Ms. June Dean and Western Primary SchoolWestern’s School PrayerHear thy children now Lord JesusAs we fold our hands in prayerBless our parents and our teachersKeep us all in thy careHelp us to be kind to othersHappy in our work and playGive us each the strength to conquerAll the wrong that comes our way.Amen.Western Primary School is in a predominantly middle income community. TheBahamas Ministry of Education classifies it as a Grade C school (301-700 students). Atthe time of my field work, most the student population was Bahamian, with less than twopercentage comprising Haitian and students from other parts of the Caribbean. Teachers atWestern Primary School instruct students in a mixed-ability setting.Western Primary is administered by a principal, vice principal and a seniormistress. The principal has been at this school for the last eight years. There are over 30teachers on staff. Nineteen classrooms, including a library, a music room, anadministrative block (consisting of four rooms), and two blocks in which bathrooms arelocated form the core of the physical grounds.Ms. June Dean’s classroom is in one of the front blocks on the south-eastern sideof the school grounds. She shares this classroom block with a fifth grade class. The onlydoor to Ms. Dean’s classroom faces the south. The room has sets of aluminum-paned78windows, about five feet in length, on the southern, eastern, and northern walls. Bulletinboards are attached to sections of the walls where there are no windows. Ms. Dean hadelaborately decorated these bulletin boards with subject content from the language arts,mathematics, social studies, health science, and general science cunicula.There is a chalkboard on the western wall. Black stencilled letters, just above thechalkboard, read: “Labour Conquers Everything,” while similar stencilled letters on thesouthern end tell students to: “Listen • Think • Learn.” The motto on the eastern wall statesthat they should: “Strive for Excellence.” The desks for Ms. Dean’s 32 students arearranged in a U-shape along the southern, eastern, and northern walls facing thechalkboard. Several rows of desks are fitted within this U-shaped arrangement. Mrs.Dean’s desk is east of the door, and close to the southern wall.When I first met with the principal of Western Primary School during August of1991, she indicated that she would prefer that I work with a sixth grade teacher, as the fifthgrade teachers would all be new to that level. There are three sixth and three fifth grades atWestern Primary. During our interview after my five week period, however, the principalwas much more forthcoming with her rationale behind her selection of Ms. Dean.She has been with that level a bit longer than the others. She is very strong. . . . Inevery level, I say at the moment, at every level we have two strong and one weakerteacher, which is quite a difference from when I first came here.I first met June Dean during the week before the students were due to return afterthe summer break. Ms. Dean is a young, vibrant woman in her early thirties. She hastaught for sixteen years, both in New Providence and on the Family Islands. She has aBachelor of Arts degree, and is a single parent of a daughter.Our first meeting was tense. Uncertain of how I would be received, and whatteachers would think of my study, I approached Ms. Dean with great caution. Perhaps, weboth had similar anxieties, although we did not express them openly at this time. Yet, asmy field notes for that meeting indicated, there was some apprehension in the air.79Met with ‘Ms. [D.]’ A very uncomfortable meeting; ‘Ms. [D]’ appears to besomewhat uncertain about being involved in the study, although she saysotherwise; she stated that she was ‘accustomed to working by herself and not withanyone else’. . . suggesting that our working together might prove to bedifficult/problematic. She indicated that she was willing to give it a try; she didwarm up as our discussion developed and by the end (about 45 minutes later) shedid seem more receptive (Field notes: August 29, 1991).Yet, although Ms. Dean did appear to be more receptive to the idea of participating in thestudy after our initial discussion, she did not neglect to relay her concern about the powerrelation that would exist: “You are a college lecturer; I am just a sixth grade teacher, so Iwould always be thinldng that in the back of my mind.” I was constantly plagued by thesevery words. I was indeed a lecturer at The College of The Bahamas and my status as suchwould raise power relations issues. Still, I was determined to make the necessary efforts toensure Ms. Dean, and the other teachers with whom I worked and spoke, that I was notthere to evaluate the performance of teachers, but rather to learn what lies behind their dailyclassroom practices. My first two weeks with Ms. Dean were difficult ones. Even by theend of our five week period, although we had the opportunity to talk many times, I alwaysfelt as though the openness that I established with the two other teachers at Central andEastern was missing from our relationship.A disciplinarian, Ms. Dean takes the business of teaching very seriously. Sheavows that her students are her main concern, and that often other teachers consider herstyle of teaching unorthodox. As she explained:The main point is for you to get across to the children what you want to get acrossand that’s it. And like me I might use several unorthodox methods, but I guessevery teacher does what she or he has to do to get a point across. A lot of peoplesay i’m tough, I’m hard. . . . ‘Cause a lot of teachers are, I don’t want to use theword ‘easy,’ I’ll just use lenient. If the kids do it, like for homework, like how Isay rm gonna check and count books, they don’t do that. If the kids feel likeputting their homework on the desk they put it, but I’ll probably come around andjust spank them and say: ‘You know you’re supposed to have your book on there.’So then that gets — that makes them know they have to do certain things. Yeah, Ido whatever I have to do to get them to do what I want.Indeed, as I was to find out, once students were in Ms. Dean’s classroom they were thereto work. If they had come to waste time, she did not hesitate to tell them to do that at80home. This philosophy was evident throughout her classroom practices, and the views thatshe expressed, throughout this profile, regarding curriculum issues.ResourcesThe issue of resources at Western Primary School was one that dominated both myinterview and field note data. The lack of available resources, specifically textbooks forstudent use and references for the classroom teachers’ use, was problematic. At WesternPrimary, except for mathematics and reading, teachers stressed continually that thetextbooks suggested in the curriculum guides or schemes of work were not available. AsMs. Dean explained:[Another teacher is] doing that. But even when I did [teach] it [social studies], Inever used a set text. Like I said it is the same as. . . it’s only for the math andlanguage that we use the set text. . . but like subjects like science, we just go to thelibrary and dig up the topic we are doing. We just use that [process].Even when textbooks were available, there were limited copies. As a result, student accessto these textbooks was limited. Often Ms. Dean’s students had to share sets of textbookswith the other sixth grade classes. For reading, this was further complicated as some ofher students were not reading at the grade six level, and had to use readers used by thelower grade levels in the school.As you know, [the] Ministry [of Education] never sends sufficient books. Youknow when you go to do comprehension, we have to share the pink books. Then,if like how there’s three grade sixes, they have everything almost simultaneously.So in order to compensate, you have to like, ah, say, instead of me doing mathsnow, I would do my maths after, so I could use the books. I don’t think it shouldbe like that. A shortage.. . we have a definite shortage in supplies, books,whatever. We have to make do with what we have; then the children suffer.Not only do the teacher and children ‘suffer,’ but indications were that there were alsoconsequences for the intended curriculum. For example, students must often copyextensive notes from the chalkboard. Not only is this time consuming, but teachers feelthat often students misplace the notes anyway.81Even when teachers tried to save classroom time by photocopying, this presentedproblems as the one photocopier was not operational several times during my stay at theschool. As another teacher at Western Primary told Ms. Dean’s students: “I had a handout,but the copier is not working.” Her only alternative, therefore, was to write fourparagraphs of notes on the chalkboard for the students to copy in their notebooks. Ms.Dean also used the option of writing on the chalkboard, especially for health science,general science, and additional exercises for mathematics and language arts. Highlightingthis fact was my experience one morning when I arrived before the bell had gone.Ms. Dean’s students are frantically trying to copy general science notes off thechalkboard before the morning bell sounds. [The] bell goes at nine and there is theusual first/second ringing. [Students stand still at first ringing, then move towardclassrooms at second ringing]. Today however ‘Ms. [D’s]’ class remains inside.‘Ms. [D]’ had told them to come to school early enough to write the notes off theboard. [At] 9:05 am students fmally get up after being prompted by ‘Ms. [D]’ thatit was ‘after nine.’ Those who did not complete this [note copying] task before themorning bell spent their morning break doing so (Field notes: September 17,1991).Classroom teachers could use the companion workbooks of the supplied textbooksinstead of writing on the chalkboard, but here again there were complications. First, theexpense of workbooks is that of the parents or guardians of the students. In the event thatstudents did not purchase these workbooks, as was true of several of Ms. Dean’s students,she warned them that: “If you don’t have books you will have to write whole exercises outof books.. . . You will spend time after school, borrow someone’s book and stay untilfour or five writing the homework exercise.”To be fair, however, I must mention that Western Primary School had implementeda plan by which parents or guardians could purchase books and materials that the schoolpurchased directly from the publishers. As the principal explained, however, this does notalways resolve the problem.[‘lIhe books that are given by the Ministry [of Education] . . . we don’t havesufficient so what we do, we encourage the parents to purchase [them]. And tomake it easier on them, what I have done is to try to purchase directly from thecompany and sell them practically at cost price. Last year I also devised a planwhereby I said, let’s charge a fee. I had a meeting with the parents, PTA, and they82suggested sixty dollars per parent. Then you would order the books and if anychange was left, we return it.. . so $60.00 per parent. I wrote them [parents] anote saying to them that it breaks down to about $6.00 per week. They said to havea payment plan to make it easier on them to pay the $60.00. Well you know howsome of us are. Some people embrace the opportunity, others didn’t. So by thenew school year a number of students had their books and others didn’t because theparents said that they could not come up with the $60.00. I said, well you had awhole term to do that.When we combine the limited availability of textbooks with the fact that there is apreponderance of foreign textbooks, the picture is even more troublesome. That writers ofthe 1982 curriculum designed it with the intent that more indigenous content would beincorporated, is negated because teachers at Western Primary School use few indigenousmaterials.During my stay at Western, there was little evidence that Bahamian or Caribbeanmaterials were readily available. Most texts that Ms. Dean used were those Ministry ofEducation supplied textbooks used by the other sixth grades for mathematics, reading andlanguage arts. Additional resources were, as she indicated, obtained in the library, or byother means. But, as the teacher-librarian explained, the library book percentage in termsof foreign versus indigenous materials is far from balanced.Davis: How large is your Caribbean/Bahamian holdings?Teacher-Librarian: Urn, maybe twenty-five percent.Davis: Twenty five percent?Teacher-Librarian: We don’t have many books on The Bahamas.Davis: Or the Caribbean generally?Teacher-Librarian: The Caribbean would be more.Davis: Okay, on The Bahamas you would say twenty-five percent.On the Caribbean, as in the Caribbean Region including TheBahamas, what would you say?Teacher-Librarian: About forty.83There is little wonder, then, that the resources that Ms. Dean used most often were those offoreign origin. Two of her mainstays were: Houseman’s (1965) 40 Lessons and Exercisesin Grammar and Language, and Poehler, Sullivan, Tessier and Utter’s (1983) HBJ Health.This is not to say, however, that she did not incorporate indigenous material in herteaching. Several times during my stay Ms. Dean used the ‘pink books,’ Language arts forprimary schools a Caribbean published text, that she referred to in one of her earlierquotations. She used this text when no other class was using it, primarily during languagearts, for comprehension and vocabulary. During my stay, Ms. Dean also read a story toher class from a Caribbean reader, Walmsley’s (1968) The sun’s eye: West Indian writingfor young readers. In addition, she included words in spelling lists, for example, thatstudents would readily encounter in their immediate environments:1. teacher 11. hundred2. September 12. yesterday3. school 13. lunch4. library 14. tourist5. vacation 15. family6. summer 16. church7. beach 17. jitney [public transportation]8. breeze 18. conch [Bahamian delicacy]9. breakfast 19. crab [Bahamian delicacy]10. Junkanoo [Bahamian festival] 20. TuesdayLikewise, when substituting for Ms. Dean another teacher at Western gave the followingcomprehension passage to Ms. Dean’s students:William Bell, aged fifteen, was knocked down and seriously injured by a bus onMonday afternoon. The accident took place within a few yards of C.R. WalkerHigh School [school on the island of New Providence] which he began attendingonly a couple of weeks ago. William lives with his aunt, because his mother is atpresent in the Princess Margaret Hospital [The Bahamas’ major hospitall, and hisfather, a sailor, is in Trinidad, Cuba [Caribbean island].Still, for the most part, the texts and resources that I witnessed Western PrimarySchool’s teachers using were foreign. Even the books supplied through the school’s‘purchase plan’ were predominantly foreign. The list, given to students moving into gradesix, included: Abbott and Wells’ (1985) Mathematics Today; Best’s (1983) The student’scompanion (Caribbean Edition’; Elwell and Kucia Modern Curriculum Press’ (1988) Word84Study for Reading and Writing; Silver Burdett and Ginn’s (1985) Silver Burden EnglishWorkbook; and Silver Burdett and Ginn’s Writer’s Activity Book: World of Language.Yet, the reading coordinator at Western Primary School did not feel that thispreponderance of foreign texts was an obstacle to the implementation of the intendedindigenous curriculum. As she explained:I feel as if, since we are near to the U.S., our children, I don’t think, we are at adisadvantage, in some instances, because some of our children travel to the U.S.and a lot of things they watch on television. So they would have a basic idea ofsome of the things that they would see in the textbooks. I would still prefer if wehad a more — even if I say, West Indian, you would still have things foreign tothem. Because we have things in The Bahamas. . . the ackee. . . even though wehave Jamaicans here, some of the children don’t know what an ackee is so even ifyou have a West Indian reader we would have problems. . . I don’t think weshould have all Bahamian readers because it sort of narrows it too much. I feel as ifthey should be exposed to a wider range. I think they have advantages anddisadvantages of the U.S. Sometimes with the pictures, but I think that it is alearning experience, because a lot of things they can identify with, and our childrentravel a lot so they see some of the things in real life.On the other hand, Western Primary School’s principal sees a greater need for a balance.I feel that we should, well, we are not as they say, “No man is an island,” so I feelthat the American texts or what have you should be supplemented by Bahamianmaterials. . . indigenous to The Bahamas. It should have something that relates tous. Well unfortunately, for us to some extent our students don’t find it very, verydifficult because a number of them travel. Some of them would have seen a trainand snow, I think, this is one of the hardest things, not many of them travelbeyond Florida. But, that’s, ah, there are subways and things like that so we mighthave to explain those kinds of things.. . Well, at the moment, there are socialstudies and health and family life texts that are being done [written]. But, they havenot been completed. Gradually, we are getting there. But what I would like to seethese books, but not to the exclusion of the others, because we need them all —British, U.S., Caribbean, as well as Bahamian. . . . What needs to be done, Ithink, is you need to sort of encourage and promote. . . like how they have theMusic Awards, some incentive to motivate a group to produce Bahamian songslike King Eric. . . If we could get more people like him and others who could dothat sort of thing. . . because we need that with our language arts. .. we need tohave our books with our dialect and everything, and also the others [subjects] aswell.The principal’s comments above introduce the interesting element of dialect usage inthe classroom, as this, too, relates to indigenous content, and ultimately the intendedcurriculum. During my five weeks at Western Primary School I made several notations of85Ms. Dean’s reaction to the use of dialect by her students. During one of our discussions Iaddressed the issue of dialect use in the classroom. Ms. Dean responded in this way:I try and discourage them even though, you know, if I’m in a serious mood I won’tuse it, right; but if I’m just kidding around or just mocking somebody, I’ll use it.But I try to discourage it because what I want to do eventually is show them thedifference, separate one from the other and tell them why. So I try and, you know,if they say anything out of line, I let them correct themselves or I just correct them.I try and discourage it but I don’t mind a little bit of it... . Dialect is a part of theBahamian culture. We can’t really run away from it, right? But like I say we haveto know when to use it. We have a subject, grammar which is supposed to liketeach them proper English and I don’t mind it if kids use it, but like I say, whenwe’re finish I explain to them when and where not to use it; they should be able toapply it where possible. Maybe they may be going over some poetry or somethingwith dialect and I tell them it’s okay to use dialect; you just have to know, but I tryto instil that in them throughout the course of the year. I don’t just dump it onthem right away.In addition, the politics of textbook selection and purchasing exposes the fact thatthe chain of communication within, and among, all levels of the education system issomewhat stifled. This introduces the whole notion of support services including not onlythose services available through the Ministry of Education for classroom teachers, but alsocommunication among teachers at a particular school, as well as, communication betweenadministration and classroom teachers, and fmally classroom teachers and the Ministry ofEducation. The principal expressed her concern that the lines of communication are not asopen as they should be.I feel that sometimes we are not consulted enough. We have just put forward aproposal asking that a committee be set up for this purpose so that they would takesome suggestions from us. So it really has been set up to make recommendations.Principals, Ministry of Education officials. . . principals from the primary andsecondary schools, a supervisor or two from the schools and one or two from theMinistry [of Education]. They are to look into. . . I forgot the terms of reference,but they were to explore fully the suggestions about us having an officer in placewe have suggested also for the quality of cleaning materials and any otherthings that are needed in the schools.Then, as she explained, the input of the classroom teacher regarding textbook selection is‘indirect.’That [the selection of textbooks] was done mostly by subject officers. Like theperson who is responsible for language arts, they make up the selections, math,they make up their selections.. . Now what has happened up until now, thesubject officers sort of sponsored or encouraged some companies, book companies86to come out like the Silver Burdett [Ginn] Company, the Menill Company andother companies, a variety of companies that deal with language arts, math, science,etc. They come out and they sort of peddle their wares. We had workshops usingthese particular texts and as a result of that the subject officers they sort of tended tomake the selection of texts at that time. Well, we piloted, in the case of reading,certain books and we were asked for some feedback on the books and some of theselections are based on that. But indirectly the classroom teachers were involvedbecause we [administrators] gave our feedback according to what we got from theclasses. They [the Ministry of Education] wanted to fmd out how these texts, likethe ones we piloted, were and then we would let them know.. . any of the otherbooks which the teachers liked so they brought up the idea and they gave theirviews. So indirectly [classroom teachers gave their input].Still, I wonder about the impact that this ‘indirect input’ has on the, formal or informal,policies of textbook selection, and whether regular communication with classroom teachersis a reality. As one teacher at Western Primary revealed:She’s [curriculum officer] been okay. She comes by once a year or so. But she, Ihear some people say she don’t bother much. But, any time like, I think if you area good teacher, they [curriculum officers] wouldn’t check for you, but if you arenot they would go back. She pops by, but hardly anything much to give you.Since she’s been in office, she has had very good workshops. Her workshops arevery good; they give you good ideas on motivational things you can do in theclassrooms.. .. [The workshops are held] once per year, maybe twice. She had agood one in the summer. Perhaps maybe next term she would have another.Then, as the teacher-librarian explained, even within Western Primary School itself,the lines of communication are not as open as she, as librarian and person responsible forresources, would like to see them. In addition, according to the same teacher-librarian,because there is little or no communication between teacher-librarians and the Ministry ofEducation’s support services most of the materials that the Ministry sends are useless. As aresult, much of the responsibility for purchasing resources rests with each school.Western’s teacher-librarian explained the situation this way:The teachers, I feel don’t use the library the way I want them to. I would like forthem to send me materials or copies of books and materials they need. You knoweveryday I want to see that. Then I know that I am involved in their teaching. Butso far very seldom [have they done this]. When they need a book right away that’swhen they would remember to send me the book. That kind of thing sort of throwsme off. You have to go to the bookstores and purchase them or go to LRU [theLearning Resources Unit] and borrow them for teachers. But when I get shortnotices I can’t do that. .. . [TJ he dollar that the children pay each term.. . themoney that is collected is spent on the library, buying resources for teachers, or tobuy new books for the [library’s] shelves.. . . And, during library week which isin April of each year. I usually have a fund-raising event and I raise funds. [The87Ministry’s support is] through LRU.. . Ah, some reference materials, not much.Mostly the Scholastic [Books, Ltd.]. I don’t know if they have an agreement. Idon’t know what it is, but every year they give you like twelve cases of booksbetween the lower and upper primary school and you have like two to three copiesof the same title. They don’t come to you and ask the teacher-librarian to write a listof what you need. They just divide the books as they come and send them. So Ihave copies and copies of the same book, the same thing. To me that doesn’t makemuch sense. If you look over there, I have more books that I can’t use.Support servicesReading instruction presents a further illustration of the frustration that teachers atWestern Primary School feel concerning support services to assist them in theirimplementation of the intended curriculum. Generally, classroom teachers expressed afeeling of helplessness regarding the teaching of ‘remedial students’ as they often feel thatthey lack the skills required to deal with such groups. Reading was the only subject thatthat principal streamed at Western Primary; all other subjects, as mentioned earlier, hadgroups of mixed-ability. The reading coordinator, acknowledging that she was not areading specialist, felt that Western could benefit from some support from the Ministry ofEducation in this respect.I feel that we can benefit from the help of a reading specialist in the school. Wehave a lot of problems that need to be identified and worked on, even though theteachers are working. I have ‘cause, what I was doing last year, was just pullingout like two children from the grade and I would have them in my office. I wouldwork with them at their level. I did lots of picture words, pictures you know, likelanguage experience and things like that. But then still, as I said, we need aspecialist and like a reading lab so you can set up and have the children come in. Iam responsible for the reading, but then I am not able to work as I would like to. Itake a reading group myself so I don’t really get the opportunity to really, really getinto the classroom and see what’s really happening as I would like to. Whilereading is going on I have my reading group.And, as Ms. Dean stated, she has wondered about the fair distribution of ‘support servicepersonnel’ throughout the educational system.So, what do you think determines the Ministry’s criteria for selection? Who,who, who goes where?. . . Because like, even then, they should have them[reading specialists] in rotation. You see, you can’t have like.. . ‘cause like [thevisiting reading specialist], she’s good and we try to get her every chance we can.88We try and get her like when its Language Arts Week and that sort of stuff and shecomes in and she would do whatever we ask her whether it is a Drama Competitionor putting on reading workshops or whatever. She has been doing this for quitesometime. And here it is we have her sometimes, but then there are other schoolswho don’t have any.Considering the situation of support services, I wanted to find out how the teachersfelt about policy directives that came from the Ministry of Education bureaucracy, or forthat matter from the members of administration at Western Primary. I was particularlyinterested in how policy directives, relating to curriculum issues, influenced the classroomteacher’s implementation of the intended curriculum. Ms. Dean summed up her approachto Ministry of Education policy directives.Well, if they say, if the Ministry [of Education] says to do it, if I have a differenceof opinion I still voice it, but if they say to do something if it comes fromHeadquarters I’m going to do it. . . . I don’t always agree with everything they say,but I try to do everything within reason.On the other hand1 Western Primary School’s principal described relations at herschool as ‘taxing,’ but ‘cooperative.’ She has found that policy directives from heradministration are generally well received by the teachers at Western. The principalsummarized the teacher-administration relations in the following way:• I find sometimes it [relations between administration and staff] is a bit taxing. Youhave to know when to let up, and to know when to press. What I find is thatbasically, they are very cooperative. I try to operate a what you would call a ‘lightreign.’ I do not dictate. I would ask for cooperation and I usually get it; and veryseldom are there problems because they know that if they come to me and saythere’s a problem, I don’t say well go back and attend to your class. I know that ifyour mind is not at rest, you’re not going to function properly. So go and get thoselittle things out and I have found that I have teachers who when they’re not wellwould go that extra mile and come in; so I try to go that extra mile with them. It’sthe same thing with the rest of the administration, we try to strike that same kind ofrapport with each other and cooperate. You know, I say to them that we all haveour differences of opinion, but we are really a family.Indeed, I must concur with this view, as I found that the teachers at Western Primary werecooperative, and the principal very receptive to input of the teachers.89Internal dynamicsWithin each school there are nuances that have an impact upon its operation and inturn can have an impact upon the implementation of the intended curriculum. I refer tothese nuances as the ‘internal dynamics’ of the school context. At Western Primary Schoolthe practice of the mixed-ability setting raises several dilemmas for the classroom teacher.As I witnessed during my stay there, it was not always possible for classroom teachers torelay the content of the curriculum so that all the students had equal opportunities forgrasping the key concepts. Questions concerning this dilemma appeared frequently in myfield notes.There are six reading groups in Ms. [D’s] class. The sixth group (two students) isthe ‘bottom’ group. I take these two outside under a tree and we work togetherreading from the point in the book that they had stopped. I discover that the‘remedial’ readers really need specialized help; no wonder their comprehensionskills are so weak; they are not recognizing basic words and are guessing withwords they do not know. How does the teacher ensure that all levels ofreaders/students are satisfied? What of the frustration level of the teacher whomay not be a reading specialist? Are all teachers suited to teach ‘lower and upperlevels’? The question of mixed ability and the implementation of the curriculum is abig one! Are the concepts etc. included in the reading curriculum guide beingfollowed in the lower grades? It seems that there are some, especially remedialgroups, who need help in such basics. Are [classroom] teachers, other thanreading specialists equipped to deal with these skills? (Field notes: September 12,1991)Besides the problems regarding the instruction of reading, there were often cases whenstudents in other subject areas had trouble grasping the basic concepts. This coupled withthe fact that there was an average class size of 33, made it impossible for individualizedinstruction to take place. According to Ms. Dean, this has serious implications for theimplementation of the curriculum.But truthfully I prefer streaming because with the mixed-ability classrooms whereasyou have your advantages you still have your disadvantages too because like takefor instance this setting right here, where I have, I could fit. . . I could get aboutfive groups out of this easily. I think the advantages, a lot of teachers seem to feelkinda like depressed if they get a whole class of ‘backward’ children so I guess thebrighter ones would — I’ve even heard this remark among teachers that they havesomething to look forward to because they have one or two good children in theclassroom so that gives them the incentive to come to school to work. But, with a90mixed-ability, I think it sort of pulls me back, I don’t know. Because you know,you have to spend more time; if you really look at it you would have to give a lot ofone on one and I think with this you don’t have time to give one on one.. . .[Also,]you won’t be able to. . . you would have a shallow scope, your sequence wouldn’tbe — like you have certain things, every teacher maps out like what they hope toachieve by say at the end of term one or whatever. I think if you have slower kids,not even say slower kids, leCs say if you have like mixed-ability there’s no way —at least we have experienced we don’t hardly ever reach where we say we want tobe at that time. We map out our work, but at the time that time rolls around we’renot there and I think that if we, say if I had a class of bright children maybe wewould’ve reached and had more time to spare. Even with the like I say the mediumkids, I can bring them up, I have the ability to do that, and I would do that; and Ithink I can reach my goal, but when you have ‘backward’ children or what we call‘slower’ children, I think they need to be pulled out of the classes.., pull thoseslower ones out and let someone work with them; just put them in a small class; Ithink we would do better then.The reading coordinator concurred with Ms. Dean’s view regarding the mixed-abilitysetting. She explained how she ran the reading programme at Western Primary.Well, with the ‘mixed-ability,’ what we try to do is to get them all on their ownlevel. With the teachers having, three or four reading groups within the class —some teachers felt that it is a bit too much to deal with, to give of their best tothe four or five groups within the contained classroom. So with mixing them whatwe did, we got all the children who are on the same level. They might not be in thesame grade, but they are on the same reading book and they get the maximumbenefit from the teacher rather than her having to deal with four or five groups.They can deal with just that one group. I think that our children benefit, to a certaindegree more than by separate classroom [within a mixed classroom].. . . I feel as ifwe have to pull the students out, we are thinking of the students receiving themaximum benefits from the curriculum. Even though they are pulled out from theclass, I think they still benefit from what instructions they are given. Because theinstruction is to really bring them up to the class standard. So I feel as if they havebenefited from that.Still, Western Primary School’s principal has very defmitive views about themixed-ability setting and justified her decision to use this setting at her school in thefollowing way:There are strengths [of the mixed-ability setting]. You could never have a classwith everyone at the same level even within the class.. . if you were to stream theclass, you are going to have various abilities within the class. Yes, and so with themixed abilities, you end up with about three groups and sometimes of course theremay be more. .. . I don’t see a big problem because if you have all of the plans anda little extra work on the part of the teacher.. . all it requires is some planning.I feel that the biggest problem with the mixed-ability is that sometimes you[teachers] don’t want to go that extra mile.91Yet, despite what some teachers at Western revealed concerning their dissatisfaction withthe mixed-ability setting, the principal insisted that many were reluctant to take the ‘slower’groups. As she explained:[I suggested that] maybe what we should do is stream the children. We shouldhave one stream for the very bright, one for the average and one stream for the veryslow which would be the smallest group. I said that some of you would have tohave instead of thirty-five, maybe forty in a class, thirty-five in the smaller groups.Then in addition to that, I would like a volunteer for the slower group. Nobodyvolunteered. . . . I have worked with both situations, the streaming andnon-streaming, and to my way of thinking the non-streamed is better. I fmd thatwith the streamed, if the child starts school in the bottom stream, it is more thanlikely that the child will finish school in the bottom stream. rye found that youhave to really manipulate that skillfully for it not to happen. There has to be aconcerted effort on the part of administrators and teachers for it not to happen.The issue of timetables is another dynamic that has an impact upon curriculumimplementation. Despite the subject periods’ breakdown that the Ministry of Educationdistributed in 1991, as Western’s principal revealed, there were certain decisions that shereserved for herself as ‘the person in charge’ of Western Primary School.Well up until we got that breakdown we were left with carte blanche. We were ableto do it as we saw fit, and I think that I will continue to do that because I feel that Iam in the school and I’m supposed to be in charge; I should know what mystudents’ greatest needs are. So no way would I give seven periods to say readingand four to science if I know that they need about two more periods, or whatever,You know? That’s an example.. . So what I propose to do is, and I wouldrespectfully let them [Ministry of Education officialsj know, I propose to putemphasis where I feel it is needed. And at the moment it is needed in math andlanguage arts. I feel that if they cannot read and do things like that, they cannotread the social studies book, they cannot read the science and all of that.Then, there is the examination system and its impact upon the implementation of theintended curriculum. The ever-looming spectre of assessment is one that affects not onlythe content of the curriculum, but the manner in which classroom teachers relay it. This isa particular issue at the upper primary level where students prepare to take the Grade LevelAssessment Test (GLAT) after the sixth grade year. Interestingly this assessment test,administered near the end of the third, sixth, and eight grade years, is a series that is a“result of a collaborative effort between The Bahamas Ministry of Education and The92Psychological Corporation [Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.]” (Technical Report, 1990, p.1). Ms. Dean explained that, for her, the bottom line was accountability and assessment.Davis: What would be the guiding force determining what you decide todo? What you teach? Or how you teach?Ms. Dean: . . . Even if the kids are my primary concern there’s no point in mesaying [to the principal] . . . I think I’m just going to do a certainbook and then I’m the only class doing it when it is supposed to bean inter-school thing, you see. So I have to look at theconsequences for both me and my students.Davis: Consequences for you in terms of accountability to the Minisiry?Ms. Dean: Right. Right.Davis: Consequences for the students in terms of?Ms. Dean: Academic outcomes.Davis: Via standardization or assessment?Ms. Dean: Right.Davis: That assessment then is...Ms. Dean: Assessment pretty much sums it up.SummaryMs. Dean and the other classroom teachers at Western Primary School must dealwith several factors when translating the intended curriculum. The one that stood outabove all, in my discussions with classroom teachers and in my observations, was the lackof teaching resources. Indeed, teachers at Western Primary School have been veryinnovative, but I wonder how often teachers draw the line as frustration sets in and theenergies are no longer there. This is difficult to determine as I was at Western Primaryduring the first term, and have not witnessed or talked to teachers about what their93particular experiences are later in the school year. Yet, if Ms. Dean’s remark about hermarking responsibilities was any indication, I am inclined to conclude that little timeremains for ‘extras.’Now when this pace really sets in I won’t have time to sit down like this and mark.Because at least if these set of kids are any indication, if the ones gone [last year’sgroup] are any indication, because they work just like that, as soon as you thinkyou’re finish something, it’s something else to do. You have to keep on workingso that’s why I had a lot of them. . . I had a lot of peer marking because no waycould one teacher keep up with that. So, sometimes ll mark a little during musicor when [they go to science] .. . or if they go to p.e. [physical education] Ill justget that time to mark whatever I could mark.The teachers of Western Primary School enjoy an amicable relationship with theiradministrators that enhances a cooperative environment at the school. Yet, althoughteachers may be willing to facilitate the curriculum implementation process there were otherimpediments that surfaced. The issue of resources was prominent and presented achallenge. Western has met this challenge, primarily through the cooperation of someparents and guardians of students who purchase books and donate funds to the library.Still, most of the resources that Western used were foreign and this would obviously havean impact upon the implementation of the intended, indigenously focused curriculum.Mrs. Carol Sweetin and Central Primary SchoolWe believe that no barrier should separate a childFrom the best education a school can offer.That neither race nor sex nor ethnic heritage nor geographyNor social or economic statusMay be used to deny a child the opportunity to acquireA solid foundationIn reading, writing and mathematicsIn critical thinking and in the values of friendship,Compassion, honesty, and self-esteem. (Excerpt from Central Primary School’sMission Statement, 1991)Central Primary School is situated in a lower to middle income community. It is aGrade C school (301-700 students). At the time of my stay Central had a Haitian student94population of 19%, while the remainder of the students was Bahamian. Teachers instructstudents in an academically-streamed setting.There are more than 30 teachers at Central Primary School. The administrative staffhas a principal, vice principal, and a senior mistress. Central Primary shares its school’sgrounds with a Grade B primary school (701-1,000 students). They are both located inbuildings that the government once used to house a junior and senior school during theyears before independence. Identical in physical structure, they are near mirror images ofeach other. There are four blocks of classrooms at Central Primary School, and a fifth onethat is shared with the neighbouring school. There is also a library, that during the time ofmy visit functioned as a science lab, a music room, and four rooms at the front of theschool used by the administrative staff. Central Primary has three fifth, and three sixthgrades. Carol Sweeting’s group was the top fifth grade.Mrs. Sweeting’s classroom is at the back of the school’s grounds. She shares thisblock with the other two fifth grade classes. The only entrance to her classroom faces thesouth. Sets of aluminum-paned windows, about five feet in length are located along thenorthern, and southern walls. The chalkboard hangs on the western wall. The 30 studentsin Mrs. Sweeting’s class sit at desks arranged in groups of five or six. At the beginning ofmy stay, the teacher’s desk was located along the south-western wall, but later Mrs.Sweeting moved it to the north east end of the classroom.The bulletin boards and walls in Mrs. Sweeting’s classroom are attractivelydecorated with subject matter from the language arts, mathematics, social studies, science,and health curricula. The national symbols of The Bahamas hang above the social studiesbulletin board on the western wall. At the far northern end of her classroom there is acupboard on whose door the class duty roster hangs. Above this door, Mrs. Sweeting hasplaced the school’s motto, “Hard work is the essence of success.”When I fmally arranged a meeting with the principal of Central Primary School, itwas during the week that teachers returned to school after their summer break. She and I95had spoken on the phone, but she suggested that since staff rosters were still beingfinalized, we would meet during the last week of August when teachers were due to returnafter their summer vacation. The principal, a middle-aged woman who has been in thepublic school system for about thirty years, was anxious to hear about the details of mystudy. Our first meeting was cordial. Given the specifications of the type of teacher that Iwas interested in working with, she recommended Mrs. Sweeting.I first met Mrs. Sweeting at the time of my first meeting with the principal.Unfortunately this meeting was in the principal’s office. I was reluctant to discuss thedetails of Mrs. Sweeting’s possible participation in the study at this venue. But, as itappeared that the principal was not going to leave, I was explicit in expressing that the finaldecision rested with her, although her principal had recommended her. In addition, I leftthe teacher’s letter of participation with her, and suggested that I contact her later to confirmthat she would be willing to participate.During one of our later discussions, Mrs. Sweeting and I spoke about theprincipal’s recommendation of her as the teacher with whom I could work. Indeed, it wasobvious from the onset that the principal held Mrs. Sweeting in very high esteem, and thatthis had played a part in her decision. As Mrs. Sweeting revealed:She was not going to give you a lazy teacher. She was not going to give you ateacher who’s late and doesn’t do her work. I do my work. . . . I’m serious aboutteaching. I do my work and try to get on where I can. rm not looking forrecognition or pushing myself. Wherever I can help I’m gonna, and these are thethings that they [administrators] recognize. These are things that go on the ACR[Annual Confidential Report] under my personal characteristics.Mrs. Sweeting certainly ‘did her work’ and often pushed herself beyond that whichmight be required. A woman in her thirties, Carol Sweeting is a mother of two boys, hastaught for 18 years, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her soft spoken and gentleapproach of relating to her students was evident at every level of her teaching practices.When introducing me to her class I could detect her sense of pride as she said: “I won’t say96anything else as Miss Davis will see for herself what ‘gems’ I have.” She shared her loveand enthusiasm for teaching, with her students, at almost every opportunity.I am not sorry that I became a teacher. I do not regret becoming a teacher because Ilove teaching boys and girls. I love sharing what I know. . . and you knowsometimes I learn things from you. Sometimes you say things that I have not heardso I learn from you as well.Despite the long hours required for lesson preparation, marking, and family andchurch responsibilities, she remains highly motivated. She based her sense of motivationnot on Annual Confidential Reports or Ministiy of Education recognition, but on thesuccesses of her ‘gems.’I love to teach. I love children and at the end of the year, or at the end of theday, I feel good. I know that something I did, something I encountered to help inthe development of Tom, of Susan, it made some good in his or her life and seeingthem go in the Junior High School. . . students coming up to me who are now inthe Defense Force and who have really made something out of their life; [this]makes me feel good. . . they would say, ‘I remember the little things that youtaught me; it makes me the type person that I am today.’ That makes you feel good.That’s my motivation. It doesn’t have to come from the Ministry in black print.It’s the children. Seeing them make something of themselves is my reward.Teacher’s subject preference: A case for subject specialists?As Western’s social studies representative (appointed by the principal), Mrs.Sweeting has strong opinions about the state of the current primary school curriculum. Herimmediate interest and involvement in the recent writing of social studies textbooks for usein the primary schools of The Bahamas, served as a springboard into our discussions ofother topics. Yet, to begin with, I was interested in finding out if her particular interest insocial studies, or for that matter any teacher’s interest and preference for a particularsubject, created a conflict as far as the implementation of the curriculum is concerned.Furthermore, I felt that Mrs. Sweeting might offer an added perspective in this regard asshe has taught at both the junior high and primary levels.I think they [classroom teachers] put emphasis in the particular areas of strengthsand I think the reason why they are shying away from some subjects is because97they are not confident; probably themselves they’re not certain of how to teach aparticular subject. It’s not in the curriculum; we do not have it in the curriculum,how it should be done. You know, you just get a skeleton in the curriculum.[And] because we’ve been taught to teach all the subjects and we didn’t go in depthwith any one subject, like a p.e. [physical education] teacher was trained to teachjust p.e. — You know I didn’t know vowels sounds and word recognition... Ilearned that after I came out of college.... And seeing something like that mightmake you shy away; even if it comes up in the curriculum, it’s still not specificallylaid out how to go about teaching it.To deal with the problems that the generalist teacher might encounter in theimplementation of the curriculum, sometimes principals in the primary schools assignclassroom teachers to teach a certain subject to one or more grade levels. During my stay atCentral Primary School, there were six such ‘specialists.’ There were specialists forscience, music, arts and craft, and physical education. In addition, there were also areading coordinator and ‘remedial teacher’ on staff. Yet, as the science specialist explainedthere are pitfalls in this situation as well.[N]ow that I have taken over the science programme it’s more, I guess, it’s morehelpful, but [the curriculum officer]... she doesn’t like this sort of specializing inprimary schools. As she puts it, when you have someone specializing, mostteachers tend to forget about that particular subject because they don’t have to do it,and if the person is removed from the school then the programme would most likelycollapse. So when [the principal]. .. asked me to specialize in science I told her ofthe concerns of [the curriculum officer].. . . I told her that I would do it and that’swhy you see the teachers actually coming with their classes. I told her that I woulddo it as an on-going workshop thing; so I set up for a year. The teachers areactually there. They could take notes; they could bring their marking or whatever todo at that time. They could also be taking notes and listening. So whenever I amnot teaching science, or assigned to a class, or at a new school, the scienceprogramme could still go on.Still, whether teachers feel confident or not has some effect upon the success of suchprogrammes. In addition, we must consider whether time for extra preparation or researchis available. Mrs. Sweeting explained the dilemma in this way.[Pirimary school teachers are not certain about how much content to teach and theywould have to go and research information and if that’s a lazy teacher, she’s notgonna go into the library and search. In the primary school we’ve been told toscratch the surface or tell them about it, but just the bare skeleton. Once they getinto the secondary schools, they will go more in depth because then you wouldhave the specialist; so then you fmd some teachers saying things like I can’t fmd theinformation for the particular topic that I need. I’m not certain how much content toteach, or things like that.98Even if teachers are inclined to put in that extra effort, there are other factors that influencejust how much time is available. As this teacher of 40 years’ experience explained:You would find some [teachers] who would really do that... . Just go along withwhatever is there. Others again — again it takes the effort or the concern. . . topush forward. I, what I — how I have them working now, I have them afreadyset up. I would work on next week’s lesson; I would start something new. Inorder to, jf I depend on work for one day or say wait for a weekend at home Iwouldn’t be able to because I have home work. . . I say home work.... I justcan’t leave it for Saturday or Sunday. Those days are full for me at all times withchurch acth’ities, so I would seek a time to do that here at school. When I leavefrom school I leave that here, school work. So that’s an effort. . . . If I do leaveany [for] over the weekend, maybe very short ones that I am just planning for aMonday, before I send this [lesson plan] book in, I would draw lines and quicklyrun over it to see if there are any mistakes.The issue of the specialist teacher and the implementation of the intended curriculumwas further highlighted during my stay at Central Primary School when the principalsuspended the class periods of several specialist subjects (physical education, arts andcraft, and music) for six weeks. The principal made the decision to suspend these classesas she wanted to enter the school in the annual Junkanoo (a traditional Bahamian festivalwhere costumed revellers dance to the sound of cowbells, whistles and goat-skin drums)competition during December, and the expertise of the specialist teachers was needed.Time for preparations was limited and she wanted to ensure that they would make thedeadline. As a result, there was a possibility that students might not have the benefit ofinstruction in these subjects during that time if teachers decided not to use the time for thesuspended subject. Additionally, classroom teachers often used these periods to markassignments, prepare lessons, and complete other teaching responsibilities. Many teacherswere annoyed that the principal had not consulted them about the suspension, andsuggested that situations like these contribute to the already low morale that exists amongthe teaching population in The Bahamas today. As another fifth grade teacher at CentralPrimary explained, actions like the suspension have a negative impact upon teachingpractices:It does not make a very positive — to me, it’s a negative impact on the child. Thesekids were prepared. They got prepared. . . and without any indication, they didn’t99inform you on Friday. . . . they could have informed you on Friday, so then Icould have geared my work towards helping to teach the subject or teach anothersubject and go to her [the specialist teacher] and say probably get her scheme, letme know how you’re gonna do it. Let me know so I can help with that. . . . Idon’t see the need for that many [teachers], even two being pulled into that[preparation for Junior Junkanoo]. Six periods extra with no consideration. Noone to assist with the class. No one comes out if the office. Nothing changes. Noone comes out of the office to say things have changed for the classroom teacher;they remain at their post. . . . The thing about it is there are so few teachers whotake this thing seriously, that it would not bother them. Because teachers are afraidof— they are intimidated. They are afraid to speak out and say this should not be.They would get into little groups and whisper, but when the principal is about to,maybe if she’s approaching, ‘sh sh,’ rather than going and saying ‘well we thinkthat this is wrong’; we don’t have enough backbone.Still, I question whether the issue is one of ‘backbone’ or one tied to the teacherevaluation practices of the Ministry of Education bureaucracy. Indeed, there are severalfactors that present themselves when we consider these teacher evaluation practices. Inparticular, it is important to explore the perceptions that Bahamian policy makers have ofthese practices, and the impact of these perceptions upon curriculum implementation. Thisissue relates to the wider one of support services. Through my discussions with theteachers at Central Primary School, I sought their perceptions of the scope and nature of thesupport they get from the Ministry of Education, as well as from their immediate schooladministration, in assisting them to implement the intended curriculum. In turn, I wasinterested in determining whether channels of communication were bilateral. Theseperceptions were best sought by discussing the issue of resources.ResourcesResource materials at Central Primary School are limited. Classroom teachersrevealed that as far as resources were concerned, except for mathematics, reading, andlanguage arts textbooks, as well as a science kit, they were on their own. What then dothey use? As the grade five and six coordinator at Central Primary disclosed:The spelling text, the math text, the language arts text, they have been put in theschools by the Ministry. Reading, I mustn’t leave out reading. Now they might100not bring in everything that we need at once; it’s a gradual process. They may startat the grade one and two levels and work themselves up year after year, but theymake a great effort, and then they come in to remind us about LRU [the LearningResources Unit]; we know that we can go there and use whatever they have tooffer, especially when it comes to science. Science is stressed quite a bit.[But,] when I came back after working on the family life and health curriculum, Ifound that we did not have appropriate texts to help us to teach health or family life.I went and looked through the secretary’s office where we have most of the texts,and I was not pleased with my fmdings. . . . I remember going around; I wouldask a teacher from every [grade] level what they had to work from and the responsewas not good. You would find that they had to borrow from this person or borrowfrom another person, and I feel as if we should have had some resources in theschool to help us. . . . Therefore, the [implementation] process will have to be slowbecause teachers will have to work with what they could find. But many of ourteachers though, they have friends in other schools, and so they usually use thosepeople. They borrow [resources].The question that still lingers in my mind is: Does it take experiences, like the one that thecoordinator described above, for administrators, and ultimately the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy, to appreciate the situation that the classroom teacher faces regarding theshortage of resources? What type of feedback does the Ministry of Education officials andthe school’s administration offer regarding resources, or any other matter related to thedaily practices of teachers? How do teachers at Central Primary School perceive thisfeedback, and what impact does this have upon their teaching practices? What implicationsdoes this have for the intended curriculum? Mrs. Sweeting stated that:For information coming down from Ministry, I would say it has some effect on us.Too, I believe, I don’t want to be wrong by saying this, but I believe there are timeswhen things do come from the Ministry and it’s here and we ought to know aboutit, but maybe not until some problem comes up that these things are prolonged andthen here, this is what Ministry of Education stipulates. . . this is what should bedone; and [the principal] of course, she tries to get into us whatever, and I find thatsometimes it’s here and it just sits there and we need to know the different codes ofethics, whatever we need to know. So when it comes to that, the average teacherwho does not want to ask, I don’t know if I want to say to that teacher she justdoesn’t care. If the attitude is one that it doesn’t matter, [the teacher would say]‘Well I didn’t hear anything, I don’t know so I’ll do my own thing.’ You will havethose teachers who, or you will have us not obeying what rules that we should.[I]f you’re not aware of certain things how can you follow them?Also, concerns exist regarding liaisons between the classroom teacher and curriculumofficers. As Mrs. Sweeting continued:We need to periodically, yearly or every school year send out just a book list maybeof books that we as the teachers can use to get more information from. We’re101looking at Carifta, Caricom and subjects like that. . . they change so very often;and even information on the Quincentennial, that should have been ready fromsometime, some circular [sent] into the schools. That’s what we’re looking at thatnot only from Headquarters but within the school itself, as well as at the Ministry ofEducation. Persons who are in charge of certain areas, like the various subjectofficers, I sometimes wonder what they’re doing; because as head of a particulardepartment, I think you should be abreast of what goes on, and you should sendout circulars into the primary schools or the secondary schools. That’s yourdepartment and that’s all you have to deal with.To complicate matters, the extent of networking among teachers in the educationsystem is questionable. Are there truly opportunities available for effective teacher-teachernetworking? Does the structure of the educational system allow for these kinds of sharingand learning opportunities to occur? The situation that exists between two schools thatshare a common campus is illustrative of this point. Mrs. Sweeting explained just howclose, and yet so far, Central Primary School and its neighbouring school are.I don’t think we are as close as we should be. . . . Yeah, but I am not talking aboutthe school where we teach together, I am talldng about teachers and even students.• . The Ministry of Education needs to do something about this. Either make itone complex. . . But you know, I would like to see, like Professional Days. Wedid it once.. . when we came in the first week of school. That’s the week beforethe children came in which is in August. We would come in and have resourcepersons and teachers from here and teachers from there would join together and wewould pool ideas and share ideas. It could be a grade six teacher from here, or agrade six teacher from there and we would come together. We are just so separate.Even the nature of the resources that classroom teachers at Central Primary Schoolused raises further concerns regarding the implementation of the intended curriculum.Most resources supplied by both the Ministry of Education and through the school’s fundraising efforts were not indigenous. But, as I discovered from Mrs. Sweeting, this was arecent development.No, we don’t have much Bahamian material at all. There are some English booksthat we used one time, and I’ll show you another one that’s in the classroom thatwe used at one time that’s Caribbean; but that has since been passed over, over theyears. . . . We just did not stick to it. Originally that’s what the ‘82 curriculumintended to do and we did bring in Caribbean books, pictures of the Caribbean,pictures that we could apply here to The Bahamas. It had coloured children. It hadthe market setting. The bananas and fruits. I’m thinking of an English book nowwhere it is really more Caribbean. But we moved away from them; I don’t knowwhy; I don’t know if it is cheaper getting it from America or what’s the reason forthem. .. .Yeah I’m looking at ‘85 and onward. That’s when I realized these HBJs102[Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.], Silver Burndett and they moved away from the‘Caribbean Math.’ I remember we had the ‘Caribbean Math,’ ‘Caribbean English.’We just moved to those. Those [the Caribbean texts] just were books starting tocollect dust in the closets.It is not clear why policy makers supported this move to the American texts, but asMrs. Sweeting suggested, perhaps it was a matter of economics. The availability ofindigenous materials in Central Primary’s library was no more encouraging for theprospects of the implementation of the intended curriculum. As the former teacher incharge of the library stated:[M]y biggest quest was to, I wish that I could have gotten more Bahamian books inthe library. It’s about 95% foreign.. . 85, not to exaggerate. Most recently we’vebeen getting into the library biographies of Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, E.T.which to my mind is not indigenous to us. What I had in the library was TelcineTurner’s literature, Bush Medicine by Mrs. Leslie Riggs and that was about it.You would get one or two items coming out of what you would call the WestIndies, and I think that would probably be Jamaican. . . what we did getCaribbean-wise would be out of Jamaica.Through my discussions with Central Primary’s teachers and administrators, I triedto determine what the general attitude was about the use of primarily foreign materials toimplement a Bahamian curriculum. Indeed, this was an issue that continued to perplex methroughout my time in the Bahamian primary school classrooms. Although severaladministrators felt that teachers were not too concerned, many classroom teachers told meotherwise. One teacher put it this way:[Teachers] realize that to teach Bahamian children we have to really think Bahamianand implement as much as possible, change where we can in the textbooks, so ourchildren can understand better what it is we are called upon to do.Meanwhile, Mrs. Sweeting expressed the hope that more Bahamian books would becomeavailable:Well, I would hope to see the day when we have our own books. . . . I find thatthese [foreign] books are okay, but there are some things in the books that are justnot adapted to our situation; of course you have to change it around.. . wecan use them, I have no problems with that, other than I would like to see moreBahamian materials available. Not so much the maths books, but the social studiesand even language.103It is crucial to recognize at this point that the classroom teacher is evidently a keyagent in the implementation process. If she is not prepared to incorporate indigenouscontent, then that void remains. Two teachers at Central confirmed this very dilemma invarious ways.Teacher AThe teacher has to have a good bit of methodology so she can use various methodsto implement her own thing thus making it seem that she is gearing toward whatthey [policy makers] suggest is Bahamianisation. .. . For example, this exercisethat my class is doing now talks about an election every four years — ours is onceevery five years. So, we have to change it and tell the children it’s not. . . let themknow that that is one [texthook] that has been printed in the U.S. And then theytalk about various animals, birds that are just not indigenous to The Bahamas...This morning we were reading about a basset, the children started to call it basket.[lit takes away from your ability [to implement the curriculum] because if youwere to go along with it as it is, then I feel that the children still would not begetting all that’s due them as far as Bahamianisation is concerned.Teacher BIt’s up to the teacher to relate that and break in our indigenous materials here orwherever they feel a concept is presented in a very Americanized way so that thechildren can identify it. It’s up to the teacher to relate that to our indigenousformation, our indigenous materials. When they are talking about the tundra andforest and different ecosystems, that’s all well and good. That comes into ‘Ecologyand Conservation.’ Different ecosystems, you do that from the book or even as aprerequisite to that unit in the book. We could actually take children into theswamps, the mangrove swamp and say let’s examine, this is a Bahamianecosystem and we are going to talk next week about ecosystems as it relates to theworld and the survival of different organisms. So let’s go into the mangroveswamp, this week and examine our Bahamian ecosystem, so when we do it in thebook we can see which place our ecosystem is because in an American book theywon’t have anything on the mangrove swamps. They are going to talk about thetundra, the desert and forest and woods. So it is up to the [classroom] teachers.Literature, a component of the language arts curriculum, introduces another aspectof resource availability and its impact upon the implementation of the intended curriculum atCentral Primary School. That is, many teachers felt that they needed a minimum number ofbooks with which to conduct their lessons effectively, and so that students could haveaccess to subject content more readily. The situation with the instruction of literature wasparticularly illustrative, as there were not sufficient copies of one book, indigenous or104foreign, for classes to read together. This fact was made evident to me as I observed Mrs.Sweeting conducting her weekly literature lesson as a read-aloud session.[Mrs. S] then prepares for literature (read aloud). They are reading, [Mrs. SI isdoing the reading, Charlotte’s Web. Why was this book chosen? Used by allgrade 5’s? What about copies for the entire class? How does the lack of copiesimpact upon the implementation of the curriculum? She reviews by asking fornames of the characters and their characteristics. All this students must rememberfrom the last reading session? I see no evidence of notes. [Mrs. SI tells class towrite the following in their ‘all subjects book.’Grade SCMonday 7th October, 1991LiteratureCharlotte’s Web1. What was the title of chapter four in our book ‘Charlotte’s Web’?2. Describe Wilbur’s mood.3. Which animal in the chapter was described as being crafty?4. How did Wilbur feel at the end of the chapter?The word, ‘Templeton’ is written on the board. This spelling is placed on board atrequest of one student who wanted the spelling. Certainly the availability of bookswould address this kind of problem? (Field notes: October 7, 1991)When I questioned Mrs. Sweeting about the way she conducted her literature lessons sheresponded in the following manner:They should get more so each class in the whole school could get a few. . . . One[copy of Charlotte’s Webi came in the group. . . . I think, we should have a[literature] book just like we have an English book. We have one for maths and Ithink that we should also have a literature book. A set copy of books that we canuse for literature, so we can get the full benefit of the skills that are involved in theteaching of literature. Right now, there’s no books for that.. . . I have to go outand find the poems and then I have to make up my questions from it according fromwhat I have learnt from the courses that I have done on, how to ask certainquestions. . . how to bring out of children different feelings, emotions when theyread these poems, or even listen to some of the stories.... [And,] they don’t keepthem [stencilled notes]. They lose them; they step on them and eventually they endup in the garbage. But if they had a book and having a book or text to go by andjust putting it into their own writing books it would be much better.Still, even further, what I learnt about ‘textbook politics’ leads me to question theconsistency and seriousness of the efforts of policy makers as they go about the businessof curriculum implementation. The following comments of Mrs. Sweeting cast this doubt:Just look at our records. Just look at our social studies book. I was told in thesummer that they were trying to get the teacher’s manual on the way. But theMinistry [of Education] hasn’t got the approval yet. This is Caribbean, this is105Longman Caribbean and yet the Ministry hasn’t got the go ahead yet for the books.These books were supposed to be in the classroom. So we [social studies teachers]toiled over these books and getting them ready and Books 1, 2 and 3 should havebeen in the bookstores. We have completed them. We completed 4, 5 and 6 aswell. 4, 5 and 6 were promised to us for 1992.Even when the time comes to consider the purchasing of new textbooks, apparently, thedecision does not favour those of an indigenous nature. In the following quotation, thevice principal, who was also the reading coordinator at Central, explained how the Ministryof Education has selected the reading texts in previous years.Well from time to time, the Ministry [of Education] changes the material, okay?And I think some schools were piloting some books from Scott, Foresman [Co.]and they in turn let the Ministry know the material was really good for TheBahamas and so we started using Scott, Foresman [Co.]. Now the Ministry isabout to change.. . to, well we have been looking at a series from Silver Burdett[Ginn], one from Houghton Mifflin and one from H.B.J. [Harcourt BraceJovanovich]. .. . They’re all American material.. . . I don’t know what the hangup is on the Caribbean material. I don’t know, because I’m from the Caribbean andI know there are materials suitable for all Caribbean areas, and I was a bitdisappointed that no Caribbean material was selected, which would be, I think,more in scope with what the Bahamian children would need. However, the skillsand the components in these books are quite good. .. . but the content, some of thecontent is far fetched. I think the Caribbean material would be more at home withBahamian students. [In reading for example,] they could relate more to thechildren, lands and the homes and what have you. This is my feeling mind you.[Yet,] I still think that if a child is going to learn to read, a child could read; but anymaterial relating to their specific needs and area would be an asset.Is the purchasing of foreign texts a matter of economics? Or, is it a matter ofcompetition that exists between publishing houses? Should Caribbean publishers have tocompete with the foreign firms? After all, should it not also be a matter of which textbookcontent is most suitable? Central Primary School’s science specialist addressed the issue oftextbook selection in this way:When the ‘82 curriculum was implemented, we got a whole series of Science Stepby Step. I wonder if it was Heinemann, I can’t say right offhand, but it is in thelibrary. We have a whole set of materials, Science Step by Step and they are in thecupboard. How they are set up is that teachers and children activities are like abooklet, a workbook form. But the teachers and children don’t really use thembecause of the way it is presented. They feel that it is not, the teachers don’t likehow it is presented.. .. [Tihey don’t like the set up. It’s that, first of all; theydon’t think it is presented attractively enough. That’s the feedback that I’ve gotten;because everything is in black and white. Then the pages themselves are not thepages that could stand the wear and tear. It is more sort of newsprint paper. Sothey don’t like the actual, the way each chapter is presented. The presentation of106the chapters they weren’t pleased with it. .. . The concepts are quite clear and theactivities are quite clear, but I think the main thing is they don’t feel that it is forchildren to look at and to keep their interest. The way it is presented is very dull.That’s what [but] the concepts are quite clear. . . . [There’s] everything on bushmedicine, anything at all. It may not make as much use as I’d like, but manyteachers, they do not make use of them.Whether the choice of foreign materials is a question of economics is not clear.Yet, what is clear is that these foreign, specifically American, firms market their productswell. They entice many schools with sets of free textbooks that they offer under the guiseof pilot programmes. In addition, these firms sponsor workshops for teachers from time totime. When I collected my data, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. held a series ofworkshops for primary school teachers. Using the analysis of the last Grade LevelAssessment (GLAT) results, the facilitator demonstrated ways that teachers could improvethe weaker skills of students, obviously by using texts published by this firm.However, the intended curriculum suffers when schools have various publishingfirms offering to pilot programmes. Those schools that are offered pilot programmes endup using different books and following different programmes than those used by the otherschools. This has an impact upon the intended curriculum in ways that policy makers andadministrators may not acknowledge, particularly in the light of the attractiveness of the‘free’ resources. As Central Primary School’s principal explained, the Ministry ofEducation’s policies regarding textbook selection are not consistent or uniformlyimplemented:You see this is what happens; this is what happens over the years with the readingprogram. [The] Ministry [of Education] gave us Scott, Foresman [Co.] right, andover the years people decided that they’d just change and switch.. . . I must sayprincipals or schools decided that they would change the reading program; Ibrought this question up with [the Director of Education] when we went to him afew months ago in September. I asked him were we supposed to change thosereading programs that were placed in the schools. He said no you were not. Yet, alot of people went and asked other companies to pilot different programs and that’show over the years it isn’t standardized any more.. . . In the language arts [also],because we find a lot of people have been piloting different books. You see, theMinistry has given us, first we had Language Arts in the Primary Schools and thenthey changed to Silver Burdett [Ginn].. . . I don’t mind having two sets oflanguage arts books to use; but the point is the Ministry has supplied both. So wehad two sets of books for language arts. With the reading, the Ministry supplied107the first set of books; we had Scott, Foresman [Co.] and then they didn’t supplyany more. So the school has to buy their own workbooks. So the schools justtook it upon themselves and just bought what they wanted or what they felt like.In seeking to find materials that are ‘presented attractively enough,’ this translatesinto expense, both for the classroom teacher and the student. At Central Primary School,there was a book fee that the administrators earmarked to cover the purchase of studentworkbooks and basic supplies. In addition, if teachers needed materials to assist in theirdaily classroom activities, they often purchased them themselves. Several teachers atCentral Primary expressed their concern about this practice.Teacher ATeacher: Parents have to pay for the child’s reading book and the child’s mathbook and the child’s study book also. We have a basic book feerequired here as well.Davis: So what happens if they are not able to purchase their own books?Teacher: I would take one [student’s book] and use for so many.Teacher BVery little [resources come from the Ministry]. Last week we were given a [note]book, one for each child. If I’m not mistaken, I think that over the years. . . Idon’t make demands on the principal. . . things that I need I buy. . . I think thatthey take this fact for granted because when they’re issuing paper and all of this,they never give me any. I go out and buy my own.Teacher CFrom the Ministry [we get] very little. The most, I bought them; and you get a fewsheets of paper, charts to fix your [bulletin] board up. They give you a few sheets.I don’t think that’s from the Ministry. I think the school buys and they share andeach teacher gets three or four of whatever different colours. But I am not an artist.I am not good in drawing. So what I don’t get from coloured pictures, I would justgive the children time to do it or ask somebody to just do it for me [rather] than todo without. .. . whatever I have I put up.Teacher DI find my own [materials] . . . I order books, I use Drago [an American firm] forcharts. . . that punctuation chart and the health science charts at the back, I gotfrom there.. . The [United] States. . . sometimes I buy them here [in TheBahamas], but they are more expensive here. . . ‘expensive,’ key word.108Still, when teachers tried to avoid the expense by using the chalkboard, this was notwithout its own implementation dynamic. This sixth grade teacher at Central explained herapproach to chalkboard work.Sometimes you have the kind of workers up front [in the office] who don’t giveyou what you want, what you need. You send a stencil up there and if you don’tgo yourself or keep behind them, you don’t get it . . . I use the board a lot. I don’tmind it, but I am getting older. My shoulders get tired. I don’t bother much withthe stencil. But, if it is something that I really need I would stencil it, other thanthat I use the board.. . . Drawbacks, the drawback is when you have the slowlearners. With the slow learners who have to take a longer time to take it [notes]down [from the chalkboard], but the positive part is helping with the handwritingand such. .. . That’s the positive part.. . . That’s the positive part of it. I wouldsay the negative part is the slow ones.... [hf we had the materials you would say— well then I could say page so and so and you write this. . . But even thequestions I have to write it on the [chalk] board and whatever examples, I have todo it on the [chalk]board.Learning environmentTied to this issue of resources and its impact upon the intended curriculum, is thatof the general learning environment. This was a particular concern for Mrs. Sweeting. Infact, my impression of Central Primary School, seen through the lens of her classroom,with its uneven floors and extreme heat, raised several questions. As Mrs. Sweeting put it:I wish my classroom. . . I don’t know I seem to have a problem with the correctsetting of the classroom. I seem to be switching all the time. Right now I changedit again thinicing that I’m doing the best, and Urn looking at it yesterday and I couldhardly move around comfortably. I want to change it again. Probably if I hadgood furniture I wouldn’t have this problem... . I felt I was giving myselfmore space [when I rearranged my classroom], and then I had some children whowere having problems with seeing the [challc]board, and I wanted to bring themcloser to the [chalk] board, and to alleviate me having always having to close thewindows.Addressing the wider question of the learning environment beyond her classroom, shecontinued:Well you know it’s always been my belief that learning takes place in anenvironment that is conducive to learning, and it must be a comfortableenvironment. If you’re in classroom where the desks are falling down, hitting thefloor with a noise, it’s going to annoy the children. The children are going to beannoyed when they are writing and the desk is rocking and moving.. . . Right now109we’re doing the best; learning is taking place; but why is the Ministry taking solong? [The Director of Education] said that they’re going to finish furnishing outthe new school. .. and until that is done we won’t get anything. He also feels thechildren have not taken care of the furniture.. . vandalism, the children are just nottaking care.. . . I don’t know what school that was, but it surely was not [Central]Primary.. . . Terrible floors. Do you see the floors? The holes and the dentsgoing down. I think it’s just wear and tear. Those [pieces ol] furniture were withus for some time. I have wooden desks that are termite-ridden. So I don’t thinkiCs mishandling of furniture when it comes to us [Central Primary].Mrs. Sweeting was not the only teacher at Central Primary School who hadconcerns about the conditions under which classroom teachers and students must work.The following field note entry relayed my observation that even the school’s administratorshad similar concerns.I walk over to the front by the principal’s office and we greet each other. She talksof the mosquitoes and foul smell in the classroom area where I am. I indicate thatthe heat is the biggest thing for me [as it must be for the students and the teachers]especially yesterday. She indicated that she would check into the [electrical]switches as they are faulty in most of the classrooms in the block where I am (Fieldnotes: October 8, 1991).Attributing poor working conditions as one of the reasons why the morale of teachers in thecountry was so low, this classroom teacher at Central explained that:Some are not satisfied with their working conditions... . Those who were here along time ago, they are now settled in this. They’re satisfied. Those that were herea long time ago and watched the place deteriorate, they are looking back at the goodold days when it wasn’t so bad. But, if you just come into it, you look around andyou’re appalled. So you say ‘This is where these children have to be all day? Thisis what these teachers are working with?’ But, for those who were here, teacherswho were here long ago when things were better, buildings were better, they hadnot deteriorated to this extent, they just look back and say, ‘Well it wasn’t alwayslike this.’ [But,] they’re [teachers] not inclined to do anything. They’re satisfied;it’s a place to work and at the end of the day, it’s where my bread is buttered. Olddesks, old chairs. . . these were here forever more. For a long long time these oldthings were here.Internal dynamicsLike all schools, Central Primary has internal dynamics that have an impact uponthe way it functions as an organization, how teachers function within it, and therebytranslate the intended curriculum. The greatest dynamic centres around the fact that the110classes were academically-streamed. What influence does the academically-streamedsetting have upon the translation of the intended curriculum? The frustration of teachers inthis setting, particularly those of the lower groups, became evident to me during my firstdays at Central Primary. I reflected upon the extent of this frustration in my field notesfollowing my attendance at a school’s staff meeting:[Mrs. Sweeting] says that as far as the curriculum is concerned, she often finds,when with a top stream, that she is always ahead. So where do the two otherstreams fmd themselves? Is it important to these teachers that they complete therequirements of the curriculum at all costs? I recall the frustration of one[classroom] teacher in the staff meeting on Wednesday re: her children not ‘gettingconcepts’ and that they were having parents do their homework for them as a result.How do teachers address these dilemmas? (Field notes: October 8, 1991).An interview with a classroom teacher of a third stream shed light on the subject ofstreaming and its impact upon the implementation of the intended curriculum.[lit causes me to push a lot. It causes me to push much harder. That’s one [thing].Seeing that the children of this stream are not able to do it as quickly or even asgood as. . . the top stream or even the middle stream. I wouldn’t say the middlestream.. . because there are some children in th[at] stream I would put them upagainst this group. Because number one, when my children come to read, I am oneof those olden teachers, I would sit and talk with them and I will say ‘Now lookhere, the reason why you are here is because you are not working. You don’t dowhat the teacher says.’ I point out to them that, ‘You are the same age as [those inthe top] and the [middle] groups. What they can do you can do also.’ I make themunderstand ‘What they are doing, you have to [do].’ This is what I bring up tothem. We have to be on the same level with them. Ijust push them.Then, Mrs. Sweeting presented the perspective of the teacher of a top stream.Well I think too it’s all to do with the teacher and the flexibility of the curriculumbecause where I would be ahead, [a lower group] probably is just behind me. [Thebottom group] of course they’re going at a slower pace. We try to get ineverything; the only subjects I would be more ahead of the others would begrammar and math, but for the other subjects when you’re looking at science andsocial studies, we teach the same topics. We give the same information... . We goat the same pace... . The only thing is that I would give more information becauseI am one, I love to talk and I tell the children more. But when you’re puttingtogether the end of the year comprehensive test, I would write certain questionsdown and they would say well ‘Oh I didn’t tell them about this I didn’t give themthat.’ So I’m saying to them, ‘Well I did, so I would put some of yours and someof mine.’ We just pool our questions.111Still, there was the added notion of the ‘streaming within streaming’ that posedparticular problems regarding the implementation of the intended curriculum, especiallywhen we consider the case of reading instruction. As Mrs. Sweeting continued:Yeah it is a problem. You could have a group on Step Right Up. You have agroup of kids coming to you on Step Right Up. They are my two books: StepRight and Flying Hoops. Flying Hoops is Grade 4 and Step Right Up is Grade 3So you’ve gotta deal with two reading groups. At least [the principal] tries herbest not give us more than two different groups. If you find yourself with one ortwo children who are probably on a book that is higher or lower, she would say toyou ‘Find a teacher who is on that same book with a lot of kids on the same bookand let those children go over [to that teacher’s class] during the reading period.’Later, the principal addressed the debate concerning how the students fared in this kind ofsetting, and what that meant for the implementation process.You know all of us say we don’t like to stream, but it ends up that way. We decideto say, put them in groups where they could work better together. They put them inworking groups where they work well together, I guess.. . . It just depends onhow you [the principal] want to operate. .. . I mean sometimes it [academicstreaming] makes it easier for the teacher, but then again I say, all it takes is goodteachers. And you know our teachers are realistic. They teach to that middle.They don’t teach for the gifted, and they don’t for the very, very slow. They goright down the middle, and so that too could be a problem. Maybe that could be thereason why we have, in the schools we’re seeing so many children who are slowbecause of that [‘teaching down the middle’], but we can’t get to teach that [lowerlevel].Teachers also had a fear of labelling students. As Mrs. Sweeting phrased it: “I don’t wantto put them [two slower students] close together, ‘cause the other kids will pick up andpoint them out as the ‘dumb’ ones.”Another dynamic tied to this issue of streaming is that of class size. Besides thelarge amount of marking of students’ assignments that teachers complained about, classsize posed further problems for the teacher of the lower streams, even if the numbers fallbelow the average. As this teacher of the third group put it: “I’m overworked. Eventhough my number is not say full 35.. .. [It’s] 27, what the administrators mustrecognize is it is a slow group and no matter, you need a help. You need help somewherealong.”112The structure of the timetable is an additional internal dynamic that has an impactupon curriculum implementation. Several times I observed Mrs. Sweeting making changesin her schedule. But, as she explained, she found that this was unavoidable.We try to stick to the timetable as closely as possible especially when we have theperiods when the children go out to the specialist teachers; so we stick to it. Thereare times, however, when I fmd that I go over and you keep hearing me say,‘You’re causing me to work on another subject’s time.’ But my principal is reallynot rigid in that you must stick to it, I must say. She wants us to get our sectionsin; she wants us to stick to the timetable as closely as possible; but you as a teacherin the classroom, you know where your kids are at, and so you can exercise that bitof flexibility there. . . . Math, I love to do math and grammar. I fmd the childrenneed this; they need a lot of math and grammar ‘cause they’re much slower than theother group, so I dedicate even though it’s a single period, I find if they’re notgrasping that concept, I would spend some extra time. If I find where they’re stillnot getting it, I would put it down and I would go on and I would go back to it. Sothat’s what I’d do. I get in most of the subjects though. But it’s hardly ever at theend of the week I would say I did not get in what was forecasted or set out in my[lesson plan] book.Yet, Mrs. Sweeting speaks from the perspective of a teacher of the top stream. Thesituation at the lower levels is potentially more problematic as this teacher revealed:I told them [administrators] again and again. ‘When we have to go over thecurriculum,’ I said, ‘as a slow group they should allow us to move at our ownpace.’ You know, my timetable is full right out, and this half hour is not sufficient.You can’t get through what you want to get through in half an hour time for certainthings. Like if you are teaching concepts in math, don’t let them move until youknow they get that. It is not so... . Take reading, you have some children whoreally are not able to read. .. . They need extra time and I am not able to that. I amonly one person here [but], when the time says move I got to move whether theycan do it or not. So this is the disadvantage. You see, we have to move along withthe others.Extracurricular activities also have an impact upon the translation of the curriculum.At Central Primary School, I observed this dynamic at work in several contexts. Thesituation when the principal suspended the classes of the specialist teachers (arts and craft,physical education, and music) because of the Junkanoo competition was one instance.Another involved a science exhibition held during November. Then there were severalevents that the school’s choir was preparing for, as well as the interruptions when theschool’s sports teams travelled for games. Although, many teachers expressed that they113were not against extracurricular activities, they felt that they often impinged upon theinstructional time for other subjects. Mrs. Sweeting disclosed:Well, I have no control. I don’t want to say no you can’t have them and then Icreate a problem between the p.e. [physical education] teacher and myself. Thenthe children they love going to p.e. and they love taking part. .. . I just don’t haveany control because these seasons come up, and the school seasons are basketball,volleyball and like right now it’s softball season, and these kids are chosen torepresent the school. So I think I would create a problem not only between [thephysical education teacher] and myself, but also the office.... [Yet,] duringschool hours. . . you find how they lose out, hey? Important things. . . you seehow it is; [the physical education teacher] calls them and they are gone from lunchtime, after lunch until a few minutes before three. The same with music, youknow. When the music festival comes up next year, it’s the same thing.The question of assessment also plagues teachers, and influences their teachingpractices in certain directions. In fact, assessment is a primary concern. Teachers of theupper primary levels (Grades 5 and 6) feel the pressure to ensure that students are preparedto take the Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) during their sixth year of primary school.This is cause for anxiety not only for the students, but for classroom teachers as Ministryofficials and parents often hold them accountable, although administrators and Ministry ofEducation officials state otherwise. As this teacher from Central revealed:I think all of them are under pressure. All those teachers are under pressure.All the sixth grade teachers. I think. . . because the GLAT, because their teachingis geared towards that in getting those children ready for that examination and that’sa national examination... . In a sense the examination helps them to stream thechildren when they go to junior high school. So they use the GLAT exam to putthose children in the different grade levels. I don’t know, but the way I felt, boy Itell you, ‘If these children don’t get a certain grade they’re gonna look down on meas not doing my job’; even thinking, ‘Lord what am I going to do? What am Igoing to do with these children. What I’m going to do next?’ All this sort of thing.Teachers avoid the phrase ‘teaching for the examination,’ yet, that most classroomteachers do this came through clearly in most of my discussions with Mrs. Sweeting, andother teachers at Central Primary School. Assessment is undoubtedly a primary cause forconcern and thereby affects the implementation of the curriculum. As Mrs. Sweeting put it:[W]hen it comes to the GLAT. . . I don’t want to say ‘teaching for the GLAT,’ butyou have to cover as much as you can, so that the child when he sits the exam,he won’t be lost! I find that it is very much important because.. . I test becauseI want to see what I’ve been doing, if the children have grasped it, if they havelearnt it. I want to know: ‘What are these children doing?’ ‘Where do I go from114here?’ and ‘Where do I need to go back?’ So for the GLAT, I want to make sure Icover the material, because that is a big exam. I’ve never seen the GLAT exam, butrye spoken to the grade three and the grade six teachers, and they are concernedand I say, ‘Why not start here, at grade five; why not start gearing from here?’Later, Mrs. Sweeting pursued this idea of ‘teaching for the examination’ and explainedhow teachers adjust the content of the curriculum to meet the requirements of the GLAT.I wish they [teachers] honestly would [‘teach for the examination’]... . At least ifyou would, the children would be more prepared. I am not saying that theyare not prepared for the exam, but the curriculum you go by, just as it is set out,you try not to divert from the curriculum. But I have never seen the grade three orthe grade six’s exam, the GLAT exam; but hearing from teachers’ meetings, thesubjects, the content that comes up in the GLAT is what the children are doing. Iknow in grade six, they teach a particular subject in maths, that’s gonna come up.If you go according to the curriculum, when the GLAT comes out, the grade sixstudents would not have touched that area yet; so they would bring up some, youknow, like percentages or bring it up a bit so that they would have some knowledgeof that particular area in math to be able to do the GLAT. As far as the English forboth grades three and six, they do a lot of essay writing. And then you know, wedo a lot of the objective-type questioning where they read the questions and thereare three or four answers. . . . Do you think it is wrong, very wrong to teach forthe exams? I mean, if we can teach and get [students] prepared for the differentthings that are coming up on the GLAT? You don’t want to just present a paper tothe children.Beyond the content of the curriculum, another teacher explained how classroomteachers changed the structure of subjects, and even the time allocated to subjects in thetimetable, in preparation for the GLAT.We really were concentrating on — the former principal she told us that we mustreally — we used to cut down on some of it, some of the subjects, just to get inthose things. . . grammar, vocabulary, spelling all of these are subjects that we hadto do separately. Even though they come under the banner of language arts.Yeah, they separated it [language arts]. They come under the banner of languagearts, but then we had to do them like that because in the GLAT there is a subject ofspelling; we had to do spelling — that’s one subject. We come back and do wordstudy and there’s vocabulary and then there’s this writing; I think an essay orcreative writing. And all these are separate. We have to do each of these separatelyI think it [the GLAT] took away from the other subjects... . It took awayfrom the other subjects because, like I say, everybody was just concentrating onthis GLAT and the other subjects ‘just what buck up goes.’ With r.k. [religiousknowledge] we just tell the stories and ask questions because we have to get downto those GLAT subjects to get them in if you want your children to do well. Socialstudies I think you have to do three [periods], but then you couldn’t take away fromthe social studies because the social studies is included in the maths examination; sothings like for health I used to cut down. I think we had two periods and I use tomake it like one because I needed the extra time to get in those language arts andmaths.115Teachers also expressed their concern that the assessment of the students alsoincluded an evaluation of them as teachers. This serves as a further impetus for teachers to‘teach for the examination.’ Mrs. Sweeting talked about this concern and the importance ofcurriculum revisions taking the content of the GLAT examination into account:That’s why I wanted to know if you think, it’s bad that we teach for the exam;‘cause they point to schools where the results are being. . . where the results arepoor and schools where the results are good. They know.. . . These [curriculumguides] are in dire need though. .. the curriculum is in dire need of beingreassessed. I think, with the GLAT and everything else they need to reassess thecurriculum so that we can enter these exams [content] into them... . because theGLAT is done, I think in March, and I would hope when they do reassess themthat by March the children would have covered ‘x’ amount of topics. These topicsare going to be the same topics that would be on the GLAT.The academically-streamed setting at Central Primary School makes the issue ofassessment and the implementation of the intended curriculum even more complicated.Besides the pressures that the teachers stressed about examinations generally, there wereparticular anxieties that teachers of the lower streams revealed.Teacher AIt’s a push for them [lower streams] and I think it’s a lot of pressure on them too.Those poor children; because the top stream, the children they are really bright andcatch on very quickly. But for those poor children, you have to keep pushingthem, pushing them whether they get it or not, you have to go on which I think youknow is unfair for them. But they have to know it because that’s what coming inthe GLAT. But we were saying, we had a discussion one time just among thegrade six teachers, the three of us. We said ‘These children aren’t ready why letthem do the exam?’ But then the Ministry [of Education] says every child, all thechildren that are in grade six in The Bahamas must do the GLAT. So that if thechildren were ready or not, we have to let them do the exam; and so you try toexpose them to like all the aspects of it. You have to teach them everything whetherthey get it or not.Teacher BIt is important that I know the format and the topics that would be covered [on theGLAT] so that you could gear [lessons]. The children of this [lower] level, if youdon’t tell them exactly what is going to happen, when they get to that [GLAT] theyare lost. You must prepare. You got to prepare them for that. You can’t, nottoday, Ms. Davis. It is not like your time, or my time or maybe other children’stime, to say all they have to do is hear, or they read to have that understanding andconfidence. These children you can’t do that. If you don’t give them the exactthing they go contrary. They would come and say ‘Teacher, you say so and so.Teacher we had this.’ If they go there and see a different word, they would be lost.116SummaryMrs. Sweeting, the teachers, and setting of Central Primary School presentedcomplex dilemmas concerning the state of the intended curriculum in The Bahamas, and thenature of the implementation process. It became evident through my discussions with, andobservations of, teachers at Central Primary, that curriculum policy has had an impact uponthe practices of these classroom teachers. Yet, simultaneously, their practices have alsoinfluenced curriculum policy in many ways. The availability of resources, academicstreaming, the examination system, and support services were key issues in the curriculumequation for the teachers of Central Primary School. Still, several questions loom in thebackground. How can teachers implement the objectives of the government’s‘independence plan,’ and its 1982 Curriculum Guides, when most of the resources thatthey have available for use are foreign? Are the politics of textbook purchasing deliberate?If so, how sincere are policy makers about their curriculum policies? Are policy makersdoing everything possible to facilitate the implementation of the intended curriculum? Theinternal dynamics of individual schools are crucial! Are policy makers aware of theconcerns of teachers? And, do they plan to incorporate these concerns in future revisionsof the curriculum? Have researchers investigated the role of the specialist teacher,specifically that role that she plays in curriculum processes? These questions re-surface inthe next profile. Then, later in the dissertation, when I try to draw implications based onthe data of this study, I propose answers to these questions.Mrs. Mary Alburv and Eastern Primary SchoolIt’s an institution that, to me — [Eastern] is multiple — a social institution with anautocratic principal. What else... Oh boy. What a.. . I think that sums it up.I think the teachers want to do something, but sometimes they are — it’s like arebellious thing, you know, because sometimes they can do better... . But it’sbecause of— [the attitude that] ‘there’s no use me doing this, you know. Theprincipal wouldn’t let us do this, or she wouldn’t tell us, or she wouldn’t let us do117this thing.’ So there are lots of undercurrents. (Ministry of Education official,1991)This opening statement reflects much of what teachers and administrators revealedto me about Eastern Primary School. Indeed, Eastern’s principal was a dominating forceand the cause of much of the tension that I witnessed at her school.Situated in a predominantly lower income community, Eastern Primary School is aGrade A school (over 1,000 students). At the time of my data collection, 7% of thestudents were from the Haitian community while the remainder was Bahamian. Theteachers of Eastern Primary instruct their students within a team teaching setting. There aremore than 60 teachers at Eastern, and an administrative staff comprising of a principal, twovice principals and three senior mistresses.The grade levels at Eastern Primary School are divided into centres. These centresconsist of smaller groups of approximately 30 students. On the average, about four to fivegroups of 30 students are in each centre. There may be, depending on the number ofstudents in a given academic year, more than one centre per grade level. The teachingteams include the team leader, who is responsible for the immediate supervision of hercentre, and the members of the team. The principal has divided the general supervision ofthe school among the members of the administrative staff who have the responsibility ofchecking lesson plan books, and dealing with other matters that team leaders refer to them.The groups are academically-streamed. I worked in the only sixth grade centre that year,with Mrs. Mary Albury who had the top group. The four other groups in the centre had anaverage of 30 students per group.The sixth grade centre is on the top floor of the three floor, pentagon shaped schoolbuilding. Although one can enter this centre by walking through the main southernentrance at the front of the building, teachers and students of the sixth grade centre usuallyenter through the back northern stairwell. Upon entering this back entrance, one walks intoa smaller area that is divided into two sections, separated by a bookcase and shelves, and118used by two of the 30 student groupings. Chalkboards, one in each of these two areas, areon the northern wall. Student desks face these chalkboards. This area, apparently onesection in the original design of the building and intended for small group sessions, can beseparated from the rest of the centre by sliding glass doors.Beyond the sliding doors the centre opens into the main section of the centre wherethe teaching team holds large group or input lessons for the whole centre. This section wasalso used by one of the five groups of 30 students, and was where the team leader set upher working area. A chalkboard faces the sliding doors and hangs on a wall partition,beyond which the reading specialist held her group sessions. East of this middle section,another teacher set up her 30 student grouping, and ‘established her territory’ by similarlyseparating her area using cabinets and shelves. A door leads from this area into one of thefifth grade centres. One set of student bathrooms is at the back of this teacher’s area.Mrs. Albury’s group occupied the western section of the centre. Her area isdivided by a movable bulletin board and chalkboard. She has a second chalkboard thathangs on the western wall of her area. A door leads from her area into the second fifthgrade centre. The second set of student bathrooms is in the northern section of Mrs.Albury’s area. The walls of Mrs. Albury’s area, as well as those throughout the centre, aredecorated with various displays. These displays ranged in subject content from languagearts (grammar rules) to mathematical tables, topical newspaper clippings, and students’social studies and art projects.I first met Mrs. Mary Albury when the principal introduced us during August of1991. The teachers had returned to prepare for the beginning of the fall term. Theprincipal, an opinionated, middle-aged woman of about thirty years teaching experience,had recommended Mrs. Albury. Gaining access to Eastern Primary School was moreformal a process than the other two schools. The principal informed me that before visitingthe sixth grade centre, I would have to notify both the team leader and the administratorresponsible for the sixth grade.119Mary Albury, a divorcée, is a mother of three. She has had 22 years of teachingexperience, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree. During our first meeting, we discussedmy study and her possible participation. She was cordial, outspoken, and verycooperative. I looked forward to speaking and working with her, as our first encounterwas promising. She was very frank, forthcoming with her views. The principal’s choiceof Mrs. Albury was not indiscriminate. As she confirmed in our closing discussion, herchoice of Mrs. Albury was based on several criteria:Her personality, the way she handles herself in the classroom, and how she isoverall. I thought — I needed you to have a person, she’d be here. Herattendance is good. She’d be with her students always, and that’s the group one,too. I knew she was going to have them [group one]; and I thought that wouldhave been the best. . . . She stands out. . .. [She’s] above average. Herperformance, yes.. . [her] sincerity.. . She’s a genuine person. She’s not, youknow, she’s working all day — if I’m on the floor or not. . . And she has theinterest of the students at heart — unlike other areas within the group, you will notget it, you know. I know my people. I know who works for me, who workswhen I come and who will bull skate. And it disturbs, although I don’t say it. Butnot all of them are as serious as [Mrs. Albury] and probably one or two others.Mrs. Albury’s commitment was noteworthy. A revision of my field notes revealedthat several entries commented on her presence in the centre as early as eight-thirty in themorning and during both morning and afternoon breaks. The following entry noted herconscientiousness:8:55 am: I arrive to find students [the whole centre] lined up on stairs preparing togo down to an assembly. [Mrs. Albury] is the only teacher present. [Anotherteacher] arrives shortly after she and I settle the students. [Mrs. A] remarks that theother teachers of the centre do not come early in the morning as they hate having toconstantly talk to [discipline] the students. She does come early despite thishowever (Field notes: December 2, 1991).Mrs. Albury had great pride in her organized approach to her teaching practices andher unwavering nature. Her students were important to her, despite her dissatisfaction withthe general state of the teaching profession in the country.Only thing I would leave teaching for is a better salary. That’s the only problem Ihave is that my salary is very poor for the amount of years I’ve been teaching; butother than that I like it, and I love working with children. If I was to go into a jobnow at the office to get off five o’clock just not being around those children I wouldbe lost.120A big point of contention at Eastern Primary was that of the excessive ‘teachingresponsibilities’ that the school’s administration required. Many teachers felt that the timeentailed for those responsibilities infringed upon time that they could use for more pressingtasks such as preparation and marking. The ‘responsibilities’ that came up most oftenduring my discussions with Mrs. Albury and the other teachers at Eastern included: patrolduty, morning and afternoon duties, and the detailed lesson plan and mark books. Duringone of our interviews Mrs. Albury talked about the ‘duty days’:Duty days, when you have your duty day, to me that doesn’t make sense becauselike for example when you are on duty and you have to take the children downstairsat the end of the day, take them through the gate, out of the gate, and to the crossingand see them across the road — and you know that’s the most foolish part of it in away to me because they walk here to school in the morning. Who walks withthem? Who’s on duty with them coming here? So why should when they’releaving in the evening you have to see them across the road? See them out of thegate? That doesn’t make any sense. No sense whatsoever; and then only someteachers do it anyway. Only some teachers do it. So no matter how much she [theprincipal] rows and carries on, you never seem to get all teachers to do that. Never,never. I do part of it, but I don’t do all of it because the part where you’resupposed to go out with them break time I stay in here and do something. I don’talways go outside.Teachers’ feelings concerning such duties relate directly to the larger picture ofcurriculum implementation. The school administration’s insistence that teachers performthese duties, in turn, influenced the general disposition and attitude of the classroomteachers at Eastern Primary. The Ministry of Education’s policy concerning lesson planbooks was another source of frustration and disgust that many classroom teachersdeveloped. As this Eastern teacher explained:There are times when you have to change certain things. . . ‘Oh, I’m not going todo it that way this time, I’m going to do it another way,’ Ok? But then everythingis there, so why in the world do I have to keep writing up [lesson plans] over andover and over? You know? To me that just does not make sense. I have a feelingthe Ministry [of Education] just wants us to do something. The detailed lesson,it’s only one. When I write that lesson, and I pass that in on a Monday, if I want toteach that lesson on a Monday, my senior mistress is going to have my book. Pmteaching that out of my head anyway. You know, to me that just don’t make anysense. It’s too detailed; it’s too much work. And the thing is that you don’t findthe time. Most of us sit down on a Sunday afternoon to sit down and write downour lesson plans, and believe me, I am complaining. Because I am saying, ‘Youknow, give and take another six years, eight years, when I reach 30 years, the121Ministry [of Education] will have no more use for me. They’re not going toconsider the extra time that I’m putting in, planning on Wednesday afternoon untilfour [o’clock when team members are supposed to plan together], which they don’tpay me for. They’re not going to take into consideration the time I’m spendinghome making charts and writing lesson plans, which they don’t pay me for....’But I have learned over the years to plan my work to suit me, you know. So then,in those non-teaching periods, I get as much done as I could; because on weekendsI don’t really have time. There’s really too much work. The Ministry [ofEducation] needs to do something about it.The low morale that the preceding quotation relays is indicative of the widerteaching population, and not only of those teachers at Eastern Primary School. Besides theissues of salary, working conditions, and the lack of materials, the belief that this lowmorale has resulted because teachers are no longer respected by the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy and the general community, was prevalent. A classroom teacher at Easternexpressed her concern about the general attitude of the public toward teachers in thefollowing way:On the Family Islands where I grew up, the teacher, you know, he [the teacher]was held in high esteem in the community, in those small communities. But here inNew Providence it doesn’t happen that way. There are some of us who don’tconduct ourselves, you know, in a professional manner. But then I don’t think allof us should be branded because of that. But I think in a way the leaders of thecountry need to change their attitude towards us as teachers. We’re professionals,no matter how they look at it. We’re professionals. You know, treat us as suchand let the public know. Because they [the leaders of the country] know better!That’s what annoys me, they know better. They are in those positions nowbecause of people, somebody like us, along the way. You know? I think theirattitude needs to be changed.ResourcesPlaced against this team teaching, administrative-pressured background, EasternPrimary School presents a challenge for the implementors of the intended curriculum,particularly because of its size and the resulting dynamics that reveal themselves. To begin,the availability of resources at Eastern Primary was a prime concern. Classroom teachersmust often find materials for use in their lessons wherever and however they could. Thegroups within centres shared the mathematics, language arts and reading texthooks that122were available. This called for a scheduling of subjects, that would facilitate this sharing.With the integral component of the ‘lead’ or ‘input’ lesson that the whole centre participatedin, this scheduling detered from the very flexibility that advocates say the team teachingsituation should promote. The availability of materials was a good starting place for mydiscussions with Mrs. Albury about the impact of the team teaching context upon theimplementation of the intended curriculum. As she stated:Most of the times they’re [the textbooks] not available in the first place. You’d seethem listed in the scheme [of work] as books that you should use but they’re nothere.. . . Well, we usually get some books from the Ministry. [The principal]orders books as well and teachers buy their own books or use their own children’s[sons’ or daughters’] books sometimes. I’ve used my own children’s [sons’ ordaughter’s] books.At Eastern Primary School, the onus on teachers to buy, or acquire however theycould, their own materials was a practice that I pursued, as it surfaced several times duringmy stay. Perhaps because a Ministry of Education supervisor was visiting the school at thetime, teachers discussed such matters more frequently. Indeed, the presence of thesupervisor was itself an interesting topic of discussion, as it has implications for howpolicy makers use supervisors’ perceptions of curriculum processes. Do they take theseperceptions to represent the status of policy implementation? I reflected upon this issue inmy field notes, as it paralleled questions that I continued to have about my presence in theclassroom and my dual role as participant and observer.The discussion that [Mrs. A] and I (day #1) have centres around.., how hecticand busy things have been with the [Ministry’s] supervisor present, violinpractices, Junior Junkanoo, marking of student books, family commitments,softball games. How does [Mrs. A] feel about the presence of the supervisor in thecentre? Does the supervisor get a ‘true’ picture of what is going on? What of mypresence in the centre? Do I get a different picture? (Field notes: November 11,1991)The question of teaching supplies did surface during our discussions of thesupervisor’s presence at the school, and I took the opportunity to pursue the connectionbetween supplies and teacher evaluation with Mrs. Albury.Well it puts me under pressure, because there are lots of things I would like to dofor my class, and Ijust don’t have the money... . And I did not want to ask the123students to bring the money because you know there’s a lot of red tape around here.If you want the children to bring anything, you have to write letters home and allthat; then the parent might ask what does the teacher want this money for and allthat. So I don’t want to go through that. But these are things I would like to havein my class, but I just can’t afford them. There are only certain things that we aregiven. Sometimes I even need markers. Well, this term we got some markers.But usually you have to buy those things yourself.... [Wje have like chart paper;all those things come from the Ministry [of Education]. They would send like alarge roll of [masking] tape that [the team leader] sends [to us when we need it];and then we have like four markers, just four different colours. That’s for all of us[five teachers], the whole centre. . . . those things are for us to share. We havebeen given a ruler. We get some supplies at the beginning of the school year —chalk; and that’s all that they give us. We don’t get much variety in chart paper.There’s not much variety at all; basic colours. Most of the time white; the whiteones. . . . Well, we got a few coloured ones this time. But anything you don’t get,you purchase. .. . [BJecause they [supervisors and administration] grade you a loton how your classroom looks and what you have in your classroom.This practice of teacher evaluation, based on classroom appearance, annoyed manyteachers. Mrs. Albury addressed the practice of placing so much credence on the visits ofMinistry of Education supervisors, and described the ‘shows’ that some teachers put on fortheir benefit:It doesn’t make any sense. It’s just a show. See, I don’t believe in a show —anything being put on for a show. I believe in real living, what’s actuallyhappening. I don’t believe in a show, because [for example] that agriculture[period] was just put on [the schedule] when the supervisor came in, because wewere supposed to be doing it. It just stops after she leaves, and I don’t believe inputting on a show. I deal with real life. I don’t put on any extras. Whatever I’vebeen doing before she came, I don’t do anything different; I just do the same thingthat I’m doing all the time. But then for the person who’s going out to buy $50worth of things for the walls and stuff like that, or just write up a special lessonwhen they hear that she’s coming — that’s a different situation.The content of textbooks is another area that shed interesting perspectives oncurriculum processes at Eastern Primary School. The use of predominantly foreigntextbooks to translate the Bahamian curriculum was a dilemma that teachers at EasternPrimary found problematic at several levels. In the following statement, Mrs. Alburyreflected upon the use of Bahamian and foreign materials in the classroom teacher’slessons:Well, I feel as though it is very, very important that as much as possible to get asmuch Bahamian materials as we can. The most I’ve seen in Bahamian material herein school is literature. For example, we have books in the library. You haven’t124seen me using them because I used some before you came when I did Bahamianstories — stories like Telcine Turner, and I had Derek Burrows and Kayla Edwards;and like when I do poetry again I would get like Susan Wallace and all those, andJames Catalyn. He has been here to speak to the children and we’re planning ongetting him again. So you know I would say in literature we have more Bahamianbooks in literature than we had in any other subject. . . . I don’t teach socialstudies, but the topics now are more Bahaniianised than before; because nowyou’re doing agriculture and, you know, you do fishing and farming, and all thatsort of things that the children never did before, and tourism. But as for textbooksyou know, I haven’t seen any actual Bahamian textbooks; we have the Bahamashandbook [and businessman’s annuJ], but to say the actual textbooks on tourism,or actual textbooks on agriculture I’ve never seen it. But I’ve seen the teachersusing their own resources.Indeed, the central role of the teacher as implementor in the translation of the intendedcurriculum, particularly when it comes to the incorporation of Bahamian content, surfacedrepeatedly. As the sixth grade coordinator at Eastern Primary School acknowledged:The need [of incorporating Bahamian content] is being — it’s coming into theschools, filtering — especially in social studies, but in math and many areas in thehealth science, some of them in the new programs like the family life programs, theteachers can use their initiative to bring in Bahamianised ideas. But it’s not enoughof it in the curriculum. .. . The teachers have to use their initiative to break downall these [foreign] ideas and the vocabulary, so that the children can understand thelanguage. But I think if we had Bahamian writers who were writing for ourchildren, it would be much much better for all of us.Still, despite the attitude that there was a need for more Bahamian resources, mostresources that the classroom teachers at Eastern Primary School used were foreign.Reading, language arts, and mathematics series by the American funis, Harcourt BraceJovanovich, Inc. and Silver Burdett, Ginn Co., were mainstays. I was anxious to find outjust what the policy was concerning the selection and purchase of textbooks for use in theschools. Eastern’s principal explained one reason why there were so many Americantextbooks at her school.They [American firms] are aggressive and they’re on the spot. Oh, and they’revery generous. Their lunches, their dinners, their promotions — first class! Andthey just sell it. Now when this other company, another reading company,Houghton Mifflin wanted us to adopt their books, they brought in a man from, withno education background, a good speaker, from Chicago. . . . He worked with acivil rights group; and to promote their book, they had him talk. But he knewnothing about the book, you know. . . You see, so it’s just style and they just sellit. . . And our curriculum people buy that, you know? Just like anything else, it’sthe way you sell your product. And I think America. . . the Americans are sellingtheir product more than the Caribbean [firms]. Not to say that their texts are better.125I think both of them [American and Caribbean firms] have something to offer, [but]I think we should be associated more closely with the Caribbean.Despite this state of affairs regarding resource materials at Eastern Primary School,I was curious whether classroom teachers tried, generally, to coordinate their use ofresources in the team teaching setting. Was there a sense of uniformity that the teamteaching situation generated, and could thereby potentially enhance the implementation ofthe intended curriculum? I was to discover that teachers were left pretty much on their ownas they sought to cater to the various ability levels of their groups. Mrs. Albury explainedher rationale behind the selection of the resource materials that she used with her top group:No we don’t really decide as a team you know. Each one of us uses —sometimes we’ll be doing a particular topic and [one of the teachers] might useone book. I might use another one. It depends on the level of your group as well.But what I do is if I know we’re doing proper nouns next week, I would gothrough all the books on proper nouns, all the textbooks, and I would look in all the[table of] contents for proper nouns. I’ll have them opened up in front of me andwould say look at them and think about my class and look at the format of theexercises, and then I would decide if I will use this book, and the students do anoral exercise in their books. That’s what I do.The implications for the translation of the intended curriculum, when such coordination islacking, are similar to those found in self-contained classrooms where teachers have evenfewer opportunities for networking with other teachers.Mrs. Albury’s preceding comment regarding the use of ‘oral exercises in students’books’ introduces the dynamic of students having to do extensive writing from thechalkboard. As I observed, very often students had to copy exercises or notes from thechalkboard. The team teaching setting of Eastern Primary School magnified the practice ofextensive note taking from the chalkboard. During input sessions, five of the groups in thesixth grade centre, 153 students, sat in one section of the centre. Team teachers becamevisibly irritated as they waited for students to copy notes from the chalkboard. Commentslike: “You must learn to write more quickly,” and “It’s a lot of writing, I know; but that’swhat happens when you get in Grade 6. You need notes to study for exams,” were not126uncommon. Yet, teachers readily admitted, as the following teacher did, that it wasdifficult for those at the back of the room to see what was going on:[B]ecause of the size of the children, you know, they have to extend so far back tothe back of the room. Those at the back can hardly see what’s going on up there [inthe front by the chalkboard]. We’ve tried to get the classes smaller, but to no avail.Support services, including those that the Ministry of Education and EasternPrimary School’s administrative staff offer, relate directly to the larger picture of resourceavailability, and ultimately to curriculum processes. My experience at Eastern Primaryleads me to conclude that, generally, the availability of resources was a problem that has anegative impact upon the classroom teacher’s daily implementation of the intendedcurriculum. I addressed this issue with the principal, as I was curious about how EasternPrimary School filled the obvious void that existed.[E]ach [Ministry of Education] subject officer tries to get books into the schools fortheir subject, based on the ratio of the school, the population of the school. Whathappens though, because of the amount of money they have to spend per year, theycannot bring in all the grade levels, so they introduce grade levels [one or two] at atime... sometimes they start at the bottom and sometimes they start at the top. Butonce the subject officer sends you the book, and you know the book is available,you can purchase on your own, out of your own school funds, and it doesn’t haveto be a problem.. . . Right now I am owing over $15,000 for language and readingprograms. It’s on the school. You see, they [the Ministry of Education] will giveyou the initial set to start with, but no way can the Ministry [of Education] supplyall; so we get it from the school. Some people [students] can purchase them andown the books, and others will have to borrow from the school. So it’s on theschool. So if you want to be around and crying and say the Ministry [of Education]didn’t do this and that, it’s entirely up to you; but once I know that that’s whatthey’re using I will try to get them.Yet, Eastern Primary School’s principal did not feel that the Ministry of Education shouldbe held accountable for this negligence. It is the school, or more specifically the principal,who must spearhead whatever fund raising was necessary. Indeed, parents must be toldthat education is not free at all. As she put it:It’s impossible. Although this is what we say, ‘Education is free, everything isfree,’ but it’s impossible for them [the Ministry of Education] to supply everythingfor every child. The cost of education is just too costly for any country to take thaton. .. . And I wish they [policy makers] would come out and say to the parents,because the parents have the wrong concept that education is free; and when wesend, or have books for sale, they want to know why they have to buy. So theyhave the wrong concept of what’s happening. But it’s impossible for the Ministry.127So we have to supplement Ministry supplies in all areas; but they do give us thebasics — an initial supply, I shouldn’t say basics. . . . I can’t see any principalsitting in a school and not coming up with something for the school. That’s your[the principal’s] purpose for supplying it for your school, you know? So yousuffer ‘cause you want to suffer. You have to make a way to make it happen. Thatis why you have [a principal].... [But,] you’re fund raising all the time, [and] ifyou don’t mind, if you don’t be careful, you’ll be fund raising and not teaching.The tense atmosphere that existed between the classroom teachers and the school’sadministration, and among administrators at Eastern Primary School, clouded the issue ofsupport services, especially in the way that the principal would like to see it evolve. It wasquestionable whether the classroom teachers were willing to participate in the type of fundraising that the principal referred to above; or, for that matter, whether they were inclined toparticipate in anything that they considered to be outside regular teaching responsibilities.This, in turn, must affect the nature of the relationship between Eastern Primary’s teachersand the Ministry of Education bureaucracy. Most of the teachers at Eastern were reluctantto discuss the nature of the teacher-administration relationship at the school. Despite this, Iobtained several comments concerning the general state of communication at all levels ofthe educational system, and the implications for the decisions that teachers made about theirdaily teaching practices at Eastern.Teacher ASome things I wouldn’t go by. See, no matter what administration says as much asI want to do what we are told to do, I also think about the children. I’m alsothinking about their welfare as well. So if they were to say to me something, and Ifeel as if well the welfare of the children. . . no matter what they say, I still thinkabout the welfare of the children. . . . Yes that’s the bottom line.Teacher BI think it [the unruliness of the students] stems from the lack of unity between the[teaching] staff and administration. They don’t show the concern that they used tofor the students. It’s so hard to say. Sometimes teachers tend to take things out onthe wrong person or persons, you know, because they don’t feel that they are beingtreated fairly; so they are not going to do the best that they can; they are only goingto do what — just the basics, and they’re not doing anything extra. Sometimes Ithink that the teachers lack the — they don’t lack the ability. We have very fewteachers here who lack the ability to control these children if a concerted effort wasbeing made to discipline these children. But sometimes you may say something,and [the principal] would come and would say something else. There is no unity.It seems like we are not all working for the same goal.128Teacher CThere are days when, you know you just can’t be bothered because of their[administrators] attitude. They come to you, they knock you off, right off the top,and they try to treat you as if you were the child. . . . There was an incident...when she [the principal] got up and she blasted out the entire staff in front of thekids. I don’t remember what was said, and I don’t remember why it was said; Iwish I did you know, but when I got home, you know. . . all of us were annoyedabout it because I think it was unprofessional. You know, if you wanted to saysomething to me, you want to blast me, take me in the room, close the door,we can have a good session in there, and both of us are going to come out smiling.That’s the way I see it, you know; say what you have to say, but not in front of thekids. And I told somebody afterwards, I said, ‘The very next time she does that, Iam going to be the one to get out and walk out the auditorium, because she’s notspeaking to me. You know? You want to talk? Talk to me as a professional on aprofessional level. . . . If they’re not going to respect me, I’m not going to respectthem either.Without exception, each day I could expect to witness, in the sixth grade centre, at least onevisit, often several visits, from members of Eastern’s administrative staff. This, accordingto many classroom teachers at the school, although perhaps not intentionally, had the effectof alienating them from the members of the administration. Coupled with the attitude thatseveral administrative members expressed about the lack of unity or coordination amongadministrators regarding the school’s purposes or goals, the obvious impact on theintended curriculum within such an environment was not encouraging.Learning environment: A case of complex dimensionsA school the size of Eastern Primary is bound to have problems related to themaintenance and upkeep of its physical facilities. Yet, it was somewhat disconcerting,when I learnt that at the time of its establishment, policy makers outfitted Eastern PrimarySchool with ‘state of the art’ equipment, most of which has now disappeared. In addition,because the school building is without windows, and therefore air-conditioned, at leastsometimes, presented additional problems for teachers and students in this context. Duringmy time at Eastern Primary, I experienced a learning environment that ranged from extremecold to extreme heat. Utter darkness and that which bordered on short bouts of129pandemonium resulted when the electricity was disrupted. The plumbing system, in direneed of attention, made it unhealthy whether inside or outside the school building. Duringthe last weeks of my stay, the sewerage system, at the back of the building, had beenoverflowing into an area where the students sometimes played. Just how do teachers andstudents function in such an environment, and what are the implications for the translationof the intended curriculum? It is difficult to appreciate what one must endure in such asituation unless one experiences it. As this teacher explained:I have had other teachers, I have had a family member who teaches at anotherschool, she and I were annoyed with each other for about a week, because she feltthat we get special privileges. The air conditioning’s shut off and it’s reallydisgusting in here. You know that. And she is saying, ‘How come the Ministry[of Education] is allowing you all to be home when the air conditioning is shut off?Just because it’s [Eastern]?’ And I said, ‘It’s not so! You have to be in there! It’sunhealthy!’ But she is thinking it’s [Eastern], you know, and every other thing,you know; it’s [Eastern]. But it’s not so. I don’t feel, you know, as if I’m at anyadvantage because I work in this building.Right up to the end of my five weeks at Eastern Primary school, the sewerage problem hadyet to be resolved, and the air conditioning system was not functioning properly. ThisEastern teacher summarized the problem:That problem [repair and maintenance] has been in this. . . talking about thisparticular school now, for years. We, every year when we write a school report,we mention all of these problems, and we ask that something is done about it. Butvery seldom is anything done... . Sometimes the [air conditioning] unit breaksdown and sometimes when the unit breaks down, teachers are required to stay here— long hours. Yeah, you know, just sweating it out. And that’s not good. It isn’thealthy, breathing in the stale air and all that. It’s not healthy. .. . That’s one of thereasons why the morale is so low in teaching, you know.Eastern Primary School principal’s comments regarding the physical facilities were nomore encouraging. When I suggested that the idea of the open classroom might have beena mistake, she defended its continued existence.Now these schools initially were equipped with emergency generators, but the lastten years the emergency generator at [Eastern] has not been working, and nobodycould give me answer as to why. I’ve just addressed it with an estate officer in lateDecember, and they say something may happen, but... . It has to be worth it. Wehave the buildings; we can’t close down, and they [the Ministry of Education] don’twant to relocate. So it has to be worth it because so many children are beingeducated; because if you close them down, you’ll be closing the door on so many130thousands of children.. . . And they have no plans for relocating, or coming out ofthese two type of buildings and building other schools. I think they prefer payingthe enormous bills and leaving the frustration to principals who would like to takeit, you know, instead of them having to relocate. .. . Yeah, but if you come out of[these schools] you’ll have to build another school anyway. What are you going todo with these structures? It might have been a mistake that we went and followedthe Americans with these buildings; but my concept of it is, you have them now.Just try to make the best out of it. Let’s make them work. That is why I take thepunishment [emphasis added], because that’s what I believe.Internal dynamicsSome aspects of the impact of the internal dynamics at Eastern Primary Schoolupon the implementation of the intended curriculum have already become evident,particularly through the earlier discussions of resource availability, support services, thelearning environment, and teacher evaluation. Still, there are additional aspects that deserveconsideration. First, there is the impact of extracurricular activities on the daily practices ofclassroom teachers at Eastern Primary. The administration’s stance, specifically theprincipal’s, toward extracurricular activities was a perpetual issue for many of Eastern’steachers as they fought to complete the curriculum and maintain a sense of continuity intheir instructional practices.During my visit to Eastern, I was dismayed by the number of interruptions foreither Junior Junkanoo, choir practice, violin practice, or softball games. Despite what oneconsiders to be the ‘aim’ of education, it became obvious that the balance between theacademic and social was far from equal at Eastern Primary School. How do teachersaddress this imbalance? Mrs. Albury responded:[L]ike I was telling you that with the lesson plan books, she [the coordinator]would ask, ‘Well how come you didn’t teach this? How come you didn’t get toteach that?’ And I would say ‘I don’t have any control over children going up anddown because the principal has said she wants the children to be well-rounded andlet them go.’ I’ve seen teachers get in trouble when someone sends for the childrenand they didn’t let them go. That’s right. The first time I saw that happen was...when we were in the centre over there; a girl in her [a teacher’s] class was sent fordance practice during class time.. . and she told the child ‘No you’re behind inyour work you can’t go.’ And it was reported to [the principal] and the mother131came in and the teacher. . . was really reprimanded about not letting the child go.I always remember that incident; that was the first time I saw something like thathappen. And she [the principal] has told us over and over that the children must bewell-rounded and she wants the children exposed to these things; so when theteacher sends for the children, let them go. But, if the children don’t catch up withthe work, don’t do well, you are blamed. Parents will blame you and theadministration wifi blame you, and the Ministry [of Education] will blame you.That’s the way it is.Similarly, the following classroom teacher, stated that although she was not completelyagainst the notion of extracurricular activities, she would prefer if these activities would notinterfere with the instructional time of the other subjects.The majority of those kids cannot cope with academics and this extracurricularactivity. . . . I think they should get involved in things, but not when I have toteach my math lesson, and I’m fmding out that three of my children are having togo, and I have to teach that thing, that topic, over again, because those kids werenot here. You know, I’m really not to blame, I’m here! . . . They’re going toooften. I know my principal wouldn’t want me to say that, but that’s the way I feel.Anything extra you want to do, do it after three [o’clock]. Because in the longrun what happens is, when those GLAT [Grade Level Assessment Test] resultscome back, nobody’s going to remember that they were in Junior Junkanoo;nobody’s going to remember they were missing for music. They’ll come and lookat me and say, ‘Oh, that’s [this teacher’s] name on the top there. These are herkids. She didn’t do anything with those kids, because they scored low.’ So I’mreally going to take the blame, you know? And it’s really not fair.Often, I witnessed this frustration and a sense of helplessness of the classroomteacher because of this situation with the extracurricular activities. Teachers complainedabout being in a never-ending struggle to perform their daily teaching of the curriculum. Iwanted to fmd out how the principal would defend the philosophy concerningextracurricular activities that she upheld at Eastern Primary School, and so I asked her atthe conclusion of my stay. She explained:You know, we do our post school hours activities. We have stressed, yes andno, with music. We do impose a bit on the academics for music activities if we areperforming. [But,] I see a jealousy. When it’s time for music, you see people sayone thing; they want their school involved, and then when they see the schoolinvolved and they’re getting — a person is getting recognition, then they startgetting jealous or getting upset. Then they try to hinder the progress.. . . Theyhold on to the children; they hold the children hostage, and they don’t let them go,or they threaten to give them marks and all sorts of things. It’s a bit of jealousy,and it’s terrible. .. . But I know it’s happening and Ijust try to ignore them [theseteachers]. But it’s a bit ofjealousy between the extracurricular people and theothers; and they could do the same thing; if [the music teacher] could get them to doit and [the Junkanoo Coordinator], she could get them to do. . . you [the classroom132teachers] who have them a longer time, you could do with them, but you can’t justsit and give orders and no — they won’t be successful. They [teachers] need to putmore into their lessons.The principal’s perception differed from that of most of the classroom teachers with whomI spoke. And, if teachers are dissatisfied with this arrangement, it is obvious that there aregoing to be implications for the implementation of the intended curriculum.The team teaming setting is another internal dynamic that influences theimplementation of the intended curriculum at Eastern Primary School. The practice of teamteaching at Eastern, at least in the centre that I spent most of my time, is what manyteachers there would prefer calling ‘turn teaching.’ As this teacher explained:If team teaching was being done as it had been when I first started in the teamteaching school, in the team teaching situation, I think then it was much much moreeffective than it is now. . . . Because all of the teachers participated in planning allof the lessons, so each teacher knew what he or she had to do for any given input[or ‘lead’ lesson]. We’re talking about an input lesson now. And all of them hadgraded activities for their levels of students, whatever they were doing. It’s not aseffective now, because many times one teacher is left to plan the entire lesson, andthat one teacher will make up the activities. And you know that teacher is going tomake up activities for her grade, for her class, for the level of her students, totallyignoring those who may be above hers or below hers. So, and I find that the otherteachers, they don’t usually plan [follow-up] activities. They try to use the same[follow-up] activities for their class, instead of creating new activities or. . . avariety of activities.In addition, the inputs or ‘lead lessons,’ given to the centre as a group, were of particularconcern as many classroom teachers questioned the suitability of these contexts foreffective student learning. I asked another teacher at Eastern about her perception of theinputs and the impact that they have upon the translation of the curriculum.[T]hey [inputs] could be better if the individual teacher worked with a smallergroup. Now [as they are presently practiced] they could be, you know, if all of theteachers were prepared to work in that setting [to help with] whatever the teacherwho’s at the chalkboard or in front of the class, whatever he or she misses, and toassist with the general discipline in the centre, seeing to it that the children who areat the back or those who are missing the point pay attention. You know, if they dothat, get all of those children, if they surround those children and have theirattention focussed on whatever is going on at the front, it’ll be much better. Butthen we find that when one person is teaching, when one person is teaching, theothers find something else to do, and that shouldn’t be.133This practice of ‘turn teaching’ and the organization of the inputs were not,however, the only objections. Mrs. Albury told me of her disillusionment with the openclassroom setting generally, and her preference for the self-contained classroom.Well see if I was to stay in with my class I could perhaps go to the reading roomand fmd enough copies of one particular one [book] like the Scholastic paperbackbooks you know. But then it’s an input; we’re doing that as an input, you’retalking about 153 children. So I would never be able to have books for all of them.That’s what makes it different you know; if you were dealing with just yourindividual classroom, like I say being an input. . . because you know if I was inmy own classroom in my own self-contained classroom, I could move at my ownpace. I could overlap subjects as I see fit. I could eliminate this subject; I feel that Icould leave it out that day and put something else in that’s more important. All theactivities I would like to do with my class I can do. Because lots of activities Iwould like to do here, but I’m always wonied about my children disturbing theother class. That sort of thing. So I am suppressed. My ideas are suppressed.Many times you know I can’t do what I want to do because I’m in this open setting.Despite the claim by advocates that the team teaching setting promotes flexibility intime-tabling, the general problems relating to timetables were not negated as a dynamic atEastern Primary School because of its setting. In fact, these problems were even morecomplex because of the team teaching setting. Many teachers at Eastern Primary expressedthe attitude that, because of the team teaching setting, they felt even more pressured tocomplete subject instruction within the allotted time, and because of this the intendedcurriculum suffered. Mrs. Albury explained:We’re rushing, rushing all the time. And then, well, I guess you find it more of arush because of our setting — being in the centre, open centre like this where you’removing with a lot of children. You know if you were in an enclosed classroom andthey didn’t have to move anywhere you know, you could switch the subjects whenyou like. Whereas you can’t do that in here.. . . I don’t think you do it [implementthe curriculum] as effectively as you should, because you’re under a lot of pressureall the time. You know I’m under pressure all the time trying to get the work donein time for this group to finish off this, and that group to finish off that. You knowthat’s how I am all the time. You’re under that pressure to get the work done.Because I’m a very responsible person, I always want to know that I’ve done mybest for my children, for my students. So that causes me to be under pressure.What are administrative perspectives about the timetable? Is this issue complicated by thesetting at Eastern Primary School? An administrator at Eastern gave me her opinion:To be honest with you, in my opinion I think there are too many subjects in thiscurriculum to begin with, for children at this level. They have too many subjects;our timetables are too crammed for an elementary school; primary school, as we call134it. And no, a lot of them [teachers] don’t get through with the lessons they haveplanned. Sometimes the classes are interrupted for numerous reasons. Some ofthem are justified, some of them are unjustified.. . . sometimes you are teaching alesson, and it’s going well. And the time comes for it to end, but you just can’t cutoff your lesson just like that. You’ve got to go over into the next time, into the nextsubject, so you’re borrowing some time from there, and that subject is left out.Ok? So next week I might, if it’s not scheduled again on the timetable, I might seethat appearing [in lesson plans] as we did not complete this lesson because of suchand such. . . . It is, I mean, it’s frustrating sometimes when you can’t get what youhave planned accomplished.A final internal dynamic, academic streaming, also complicates the implementationprocess. Classroom teachers do not elude this issue, whether they use academic streamingor the mixed-ability setting. As Mrs. Albury explained:[E]ven when you have academic streaming, you still have mixed-ability in yourgroup, but that’s enough to deal with. But if you didn’t have academic setting whathappens, the children you know who are below the level of other children, they getleft behind because then you know you’re catering to the entire class and especiallywith your timetable how it’s hectic and rushed, there’s no time to give thosechildren the individual attention that they need. So if I was to have some of mychildren now, some from group four and five — some children in groups four andfive are way behind these children [in my group]. There’s no way I can give all ofthem the same work. It wouldn’t be fair. Either I will be frustrating some and theothers I will be boring them because the work is below their level; they wouldn’t beable to work together. I could only do that if I had 10 to 12 children, and youknow work individually with them.What happens to that student in group four or five? How does the classroom teacheraddress the dilemma of varying ability levels while trying to implement the curriculum?One teacher at Eastern offered her analysis:It [academic streaming] puts undue pressure on the teachers who are teaching at thelower levels, especially, because they try to keep up with the people who can moveat a faster pace. When they see that their children are not achieving, they getfrustrated. The child gets lost. [S]he loses [her or] his desire to learn; so a lot ofthem [students] go home. They quit coming to school, or they become disciplinaryproblems. They just get turned off.ExaminationsThe examination system interrelates with the practice of streaming, and has a furtherimpact upon the implementation of the intended curriculum. Many dilemmas expressed by135classroom teachers of the lower groups, concerning the practice of streaming, were basedon the pressures surrounding assessment. How then, do teachers address the challenge ofcompleting set curricula for an examination, when students may be experiencing problemswith concepts? Mrs. Albury expressed her opinion about this dilemma:Well we’re always told that although they’re in the academic groups that they’resupposed to be doing the same work and they’re supposed to be doing the sametest. But still you know sometimes the other groups would be ahead.. . . butwe’re supposed to be working on the same level, because at the end of the term, allof the children are doing the same test.. . . [Yet,] it doesn’t make sense to say thatyou’ve covered the curriculum, and the children haven’t really grasped what you’vebeen teaching. At the same time, I don’t think you should drag, drag, drag alongbecause these basic subjects the children have done them before. ... [Still,] itdepends too on the persons in charge of us.... some persons who are in chargewould say to you, you have to get it finished, and then another person would comeanother school year and they wouldn’t say that... . But my personal opinion is thatI’m not rushing to complete my curriculum. I move the children as fast as theycould go, and I push my class you know. I work them hard, but then I don’t rushto say I’m rushing to finish any particular curriculum. I don’t think that makessense.The sixth grade Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) adds to this compleximplementation picture. Indeed, the format and content of the curriculum, particularly atthe sixth grade level, is admittedly driven by the format and content of the GLAT, as thisclassroom teacher explained:Well you wouldn’t see much catering towards that now because it’s [the GLAT]down in next term. But coming towards the time for the exams, then we doemphasize exercises that are similar to the GLAT exercises. We do that.because the children should, they should have been exposed to the format that theyuse in the GLAT. But then I use the format throughout the year as well. But thengetting closer to the test we emphasize the format even more.Then, the question of the GLAT results was a sore spot with classroom teacherswho felt that they were held accountable for the performances of their students. Mrs.Albury revealed that:Yes in a lot of cases [teachers are evaluated according to how their studentsperform] which I think is very unfair. Because, ok, for example, this is group one;these children are brighter. It means that I can come here now, and if I want to Ican sit down and read a book all day because these children are brighter. [Whilea teacher of a lower group] may kill herself over there working. And becauseshe has the bottom group, when the children do the same test, my children scorehigher. Then they can say well [Mrs. Albury] has been working and [the otherteacher] hasn’t been working. So, you know you can’t go by that.. . . and then136you have children in some groups who they have parental assistance and somechildren don’t. You have got to think about all of that, because the child who’sassisted at home and whose parents see that they sit down and do work and all ofthat, that child will do far better than other children. And that has nothing to dowith the teacher. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the teacher.Still, it is the classroom teacher’s name that appears on the student’s GLAT answer andresults sheets, and it is the classroom teacher who must defend the results. Manyclassroom teachers viewed this practice as unfair, particularly to those teachers of theslower groups. A member of administration disclosed that:They say so in no uncertain terms, ‘My name is going to appear on this’; and that’swhy you find a lot of teachers they are hesitant in accepting slower learners. Youknow, they don’t want this to appear badly on their file. It seems as if they’refailing in some way, and I don’t think they’re failing. Not if they have slowerlearners. If they have done the best that they could with those children, if they...even if they have achieved whatever objective that they have in their lesson plans, ifthey achieve that for their children, even though they don’t score well on theGLAT, I don’t depreciate them for that.But, what about other school administrators, the Ministry of Education bureaucracy,parents, and the public? In the end, who is really held accountable? This emphasis onassessment and assessment results has an impact in very defmitive ways upon theimplementation process. It influences the daily practices of classroom teachers and whatthey include in the content of their lessons at Eastern Primary School. Many of Eastern’steachers used testing as the final arbitrator of learning achievement. Almost invariably,teachers built in a test or quiz as a part of the lesson or unit. I reflected upon this practice inmy field notes:[The] science teacher writes brief notes on board after some discussion (2 types ofcircuits — series and parallel). She then asks students to put [note] books away andshe erases [the chalk] board and gives out [a] short quiz on [the] notes. Thereseems to be a heavy concentration on the idea of testing. The part that testing orexaminations play in the teacher’s daily planning of [the] curriculum and [her] dailypractice is considerable (Field notes: November 12, 1991).The reasons teachers gave for this practice most often centred around their perceived needto practice for the examination situation, and to obtain the required number of studentgrades in their mark books. Teachers constantly threatened students with the possibility of137having a low grade entered in these mark books if they did not perform, as they preparedthem for the ultimate assessment, the GLAT, at the end of the sixth grade year.SummaryMrs. Albury, other classroom teachers, and administrators of Eastern PrimarySchool function in a very tense atmosphere, and far from conducive physical learningenvironment. Several issues come to the fore when I consider the implications for theintended curriculum in such a context. The key issue, though, involved the limitedchannels and opportunities available for the classroom teacher to communicate withmembers of the school’s administration and ultimately the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy. The importance of teacher input at various level of the curriculum is crucialfor the implementation process. In addition, that many classroom teachers in this teamteaching setting were dissatisfied with the effectiveness of team teaching as a vehicle for theimplementation of the intended curriculum points to the need for an investigation of thispractice in the schools of The Bahamas. Such an investigation must be immediate if theeffects of team teaching, in whatever form, on curriculum processes, that the teachers atEastern revealed, are widespread. Also, policy makers cannot afford to ignore thedependence on foreign resources to translate an indigenous curriculum. Finally, thequestion of the balance between the academic and the social in the school setting needs tobe considered, especially as it influences the implementation of the curriculum.Nonetheless, despite these issues, evidently, just as curriculum policy influencesthe practices of the teachers at Eastern Primary School, their practices, too, have an impactupon curriculum policy in many ways. It is the classroom teacher who must fmd most ofthe resources; it is the classroom teacher who decides what she does and does not teach;and it is the classroom teacher who, by the very nature of the teacher evaluation system,reacts to the pressures of the system in ways that policy makers may or may not envision.138Crucial questions remain. Are policy makers aware of the concerns of classroom teachers,especially those that directly affect their implementation of the intended curriculum? Inturn, are policy makers doing everything possible to facilitate the implementation of theintended curriculum?Chapter synthesisAlthough different in some ways, Western, Central and Eastern Primary Schoolsintersected at key points, especially with matters that pertain to the implementation of theintended curriculum. The issue of resources was foremost. This included textbookavailability, indigenous content, and student access to textbooks. The nature of the supportservices was also similar in the three schools as there was the sense that there were too fewattempts at on-going communication, especially between the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy and classroom teachers. The learning environment of two of the schools,Central and Eastern, pointed to complications that could result because of poor physicalfacilities. Many teachers expressed concern about the pressures of assessment practicesand the impact that they have upon the implementation of the curriculum. Then, linked tothe issue of assessment, there was the mixed-ability or academic setting and its impact.Teachers in two of the schools, Central and Eastern, were also concerned aboutimpositions on their instructional time, particularly by extracurricular activities, althoughthe larger issue of overtaxed timetables entered many of our discussions. Finally, the teamteaching situation at Eastern presented a unique situation in which many of the precedingissues met.In the next chapter, I explore the meaning of the descriptive profiles of this chapterfor a country such as The Bahamas. Indeed, although one might also find elements ofthese profiles in contexts of the developed world, the meaning and the explanation of theseactivities for curriculum implementation are different for developing countries because ofthe very particular sociohistorical context in which they are located.139140CHAPTER 7INDIGENOUS MATERIALS AND A MORE COLLABORATWE SUPPORTNETWORK: TOWARDS THE REALIZATION OF THE INTENDED CURRICULUMIntroductionFindings presented in the development literature, the teacher effectiveness literatureand studies of the implementation of curriculum innovations, point to the need toinvestigate and to describe teaching processes in a wider range of contexts. Thequestionnaire data used in this dissertation, and the teacher-school profiles of Eastern,Central and Western Primary Schools have offered glimpses into the classrooms of TheBahamian Primary School System.Based upon the premise that teachers may be a main deteminant in curriculuminnovations (e.g., Doyle & Ponder, 1977; McConnelogue, 1975), and that they areimportant agents in the process of innovation implementation in the school (e.g.,Spaulding, 1975), I am interested in decisions that teachers make when acting uponinnovations within the educational setting, and what influences their decision makingprocesses. Doyle and Ponder (1977) proposed that teachers use three major criteria indeciding how, or whether, to implement an innovation: its instrumentality in terms ofclassroom contingencies; its congruence with current conditions; and the costs involved inusing the innovation. Hurst and Rust (1990) extended this model and suggested that inchoosing to adopt an innovation teachers use one or more of the following criteria:information, relevance and desirability, effectiveness and reliability, feasibility, trialabiity,and adaptability. Finally, the teacher effectiveness literature has identified four researchconcerns that underlie the concept of teacher effectiveness: teacher skills and behaviours;141teacher patterns of decision-making at both the instructional and managerial levels; teachers’modes of thinking and how they interpret teaching situations; the interrelationship betweenteaching purposes and pupils’ interpretation of these purposes; and teacher-pupil tasks.Drawing upon these insights, I now turn to a theoretical analysis of thequestionnaire data of the present study, the teacher-school profiles of Western, Central andEastern Primary Schools, and what light these data shed on the state of the intendedcurriculum in The Bahamas. Through my discussions with teachers and my observationsof these contexts, issues that relate to the state of curriculum policy and the implementationof the intended curriculum became evident. Despite the nuances in each school, there arecommon features. These revolve around the issues of resources, support services, theinternal dynamics of the school context, assessment practices, and the personalbackgrounds and professional experiences of teachers.ResourcesEducators consider textbooks, and resources generally, as important instruments inthe daily practices of teachers. The Bahamas Ministry of Education’s 1982 CurriculumGuides were the government’s attempt to provide national curriculum guidelines for itseducational system. As Cohen and Ball (1990) argued, in such nations where the schoolsystem offers prescriptive guidance for content coverage, “textbooks and curriculum guidescan offer extensive and focused guidance about instructional content.... [As a result,]textbooks might be quite a potent agent of policy in school systems of this sort” (p. 332).Similarly, Psacharopoulos (1990) argued that textbooks and writing materials areparticularly crucial in the educational systems of developing nations. While I findPsacharopoulos’ concentration on output, as ‘the superior way of measuring schoolquality’ disconcerting, I must agree with his argument that:142Aside from hardware (classrooms), school inputs, such as textbooks and writingmaterials, contribute to student learning. . . . In a developing country... [t]hestudent has to rely [more] on school rather than family to provide learning, and theevidence shows that this translates into increased learning. (p. 374)Yet, this must not suggest that classroom teachers do not exercise a certain degreeof agency in their daily implementation practices. Indeed, as Cohen and Ball (1990)warned, some research has supported the contention that “even when teachers use the samerequired texts, the content that they cover varies considerably from one teacher to the next”(p. 332). Still, this does not deny the importance of instructional materials if policy makerswish to enhance the conditions under which policy implementation takes place.The data of the present study highlight resources as a key issue. In particular, theforeign content of textbooks and their limited availability make it difficult for teachers tobetter meet the requirements of the intended curriculum. Teachers cited in the teacher-school profiles report, and my observations concur that, the content of most of thetextbooks that they use is foreign. Agreement with this fmding echoed through the analysisof the 1991 questionnaire responses, as 49% of the respondents indicated that there wasless than adequate use of Bahamian resources material, and 6% indicated that there was nouse of Bahamian materials.The opinion of the respondents of the 1991 questionnaire, as well as the teachersand administrators whom I interviewed, that there was a shortage of Bahamian resourcematerials was in agreement with that of the Ministry of Education 1985 study. During the1985 study teachers requested more indigenously related activities and materials to use intheir teaching. Furthemore, while the general availability of textbooks has improved overthe years, according to the fmdings of both the 1991 questionnaire and the Ministry ofEducation’s 1985 study, as well as from what teachers told me in our discussions, therehas not been a satisfactory improvement in student access to textbooks.The availability of textbooks, and resources generally, is crucial as classroomteachers with whom I spoke revealed that they must scramble daily to get what they need to143assist them in the translation of the curriculum. The 1991 questionnaire data and myinterview and field note data concur with the observation that except for mathematics,reading, and language arts, there are insufficient books to ensure that students have accessto individual, or shared, copies. The case of literature instruction in three of the schoolsthat I visited demonstrated most clearly the negative impact upon the implementation of theintended curriculum when students do not have this access. A most important consequenceis that teachers make the decision whether they will incorporate indigenous aspects.Indeed, this situation serves to highlight the importance of the classroom teacher in thetranslation of curriculum policy, particularly in Third World contexts (see also, Kapansa,1990; Okou, 1990; Okpala, 1990; Vicars, 1990).The absence of sufficient textbooks, reference books and other teaching aids alsoresults in the reduction of instructional time as teachers spend much of their time writingmaterial on chalkboards. In turn, as I observed several times, students spend even moretime copying this material into their note books. In addition, the onus on the teacher topurchase general supplies that she needs to enhance the teaching of her lessons istroublesome. Many of these teachers have families and struggle to maintain a comfortablestandard of living on salaries that are comparatively lower than their contemporaries inother professions.The question of whose responsibility it is to provide the materials for the dailyeducational practices is one that policy makers need to address as it relates not only to theimplementation of the intended curriculum, but directly to the larger question of providing aquality education. The question of quality, one that governments world-wide are asking, isfurther complicated when we acknowledge that most countries of the world fmd themselvesunder fmancial constraints. As Psacharopoulos (1990) reported: “though a free educationpolicy was sustainable during the first half of this century, the increased social demand foreducation has created strains on the public fmancing systems of both developing andadvanced countries” (p. 377). Although the detailed examination of priorities set by the144Government of The Bahamas falls out of the domain of the present study, it seemsimperative that I note the need for such an examination. This examination should be one offirst tasks of the newly elected Free National Movement Government as they readythemselves to assume the management of the country in the late summer of 1992.Production of indigenous materials: The issue of textbook contentThe almost total reliance on non-Bahamian school materials throughout theCommonwealth vitiates the Bahamianisation process and hinders learning forcountless numbers of children. The development of a modest, yet effective,production unit for the purpose of producing low cost instructional materials,Bahamian in content and context, is indispensable to the fulfilment of a schoolprogramme which meets the social and educational needs of the country. (Educationfor national progress, 1976, p. 14)Little has changed since the commission team wrote the above in 1976. Yet, whilethe availability of indigenous material is crucial to the translation of an indigenouscurriculum, I would be remiss if I did not place the issue of the production of indigenousmaterials within the larger issue of what Altbach (1984) termed ‘the distribution ofknowledge in the Third World.’Altbach (1984) claimed that the Third World imports more ‘knowledge products’than it exports, and that it is dependent upon industrialized nations for “books and journalsand also for much of the knowledge in the major scientific and technical fields, for appliedfindings, and often for the results about the Third World itself’ (p. 230). This argumentrelates specifically to the production of indigenous materials for use in The Bahamianeducational setting, as publishing is a key element in the distribution machinery. Theestablishment and support of indigenous publishing houses is therefore crucial if thedistribution of knowledge in the Third World is to be challenged. As stated by two otherThird World researchers (Dodson and Dodson, 1972):To establish an indigenous publishing house is an act of liberation, and therefore, anecessity because it breaks the control, indeed the monopoly, which the white raceshave had over world literature, for which reason they have controlled the mind ofthe African. (cited in Aitbach, 1984, p. 231)145Still, despite the attractiveness of such arrangements, we must consider the costeffectiveness of ventures like these. The issue goes beyond a simple shortage of books foreducational programmes. There is a limited market for indigenously produced books,small library systems in Third World contexts, a reliance on the oral tradition for certainkinds of communication, and infrastructural factors. In addition, the costs of publishingare high and as governments or private firms are unlikely to consider publishing as a viableindustry, loans are unlikely to be forthcoming. Simultaneously, one cannot ignore theargument that, in Third World nations such as The Bahamas, importing foreign bookscosts valuable foreign-exchange earnings and, in turn, limit the potential for growth of anindigenous publishing industry (see for e.g., Mshama, 1992).The goal for Third World nations to establish viable means of book distributionamong themselves has particular relevancy and feasibility for the Caribbean Region inwhich The Bahamas is located. This is particularly noteworthy when we acknowledge thatother researchers (e.g., Howell, 1984) have reported that similar shortages of indigenousmaterials exist in other parts of the Caribbean and that the interests and intentions of manycountries in the region are common (see Miller, 1990). Indeed, The Bahamas Ministry ofEducation’s policies regarding the selection, purchase and production of educationalmaterials, must be examined with the larger issue of ‘the distribution of knowledge in theThird World’ in mind. It is, undoubtedly, encouraging that the former Bahamian Ministerof Education stated in his opening address to the World Confederation of Organizations ofthe Teaching Profession Conference on Education and Culture in The Caribbean, held inThe Bahamas during September 1991, that: “Through joint ventures we need to produceindigenous teaching materials and textbooks. We must encourage our poets, novelists,song writers, musicians and artists to become involved in preserving our heritage throughpublications, exhibitions and regional festivals” (p. 7). Yet, it remains to be seen whetherfuture policy will incorporate the philosophy of regional cooperation. It is too early todetermine the direction that the recently elected Free National Movement (FNM)146Government will take in this regard. The only reference that the FNM made to educationalmaterials in their Manifesto ‘92 (1992) was that the expenditure of the budget allocation foreducation would be directed “so that all classrooms are adequately equipped and suppliedwith quality teaching and learning materials at a reasonable cost” (p. 19). Just how thiswill be translated into policy and its resulting practices will unfold over their five year termin office.Support services: Towards a more collaborative atmosphereUsing data collected on teachers and teaching in the developing world, Hurst andRust (1990) extended their analysis of factors that influence innovation implementation toinclude the importance of teachers’ pay, status and self-esteem, and working conditions.They disagreed with the thesis that the failure to adopt an innovation is because of poorlymotivated teachers. Instead, they maintained that teachers “make rational decisions aboutthe relative advantages of the innovations to them and their students” (p. 170). Theirrecommendation was that if teachers are to be encouraged to try out new ideas andpractices, innovations, there must be “a more collaborative atmosphere and set of workingpractices in schools” (p. 170).In this dissertation, I viewed support services in a broader sense, and includedassistance teachers get from the Ministry of Education bureaucracy, the school’sadministration, as well as the wider issue of communication among educators at all levelsof the educational system. Through my analysis of the questionnaire data, and the morein-depth study of the three schools, I found the notion of ‘a more collaborative atmosphere’lacking. The absence of widespread support regarding resources notwithstanding, manyteachers talked to me about their opinion that the Ministry of Education bureaucracy doesnot take the views of the classroom teacher seriously. In addition, the relations withinschools themselves raised questions. While there was evidence in one school, Western147Primary, that the relations between the classroom teachers and the school’s administrationwere affable, relations in the other two were less congenial.The analysis of the questionnaire responses concurred with this general attitudetoward the state of the educational system’s communication network. Not only did 69% ofthe respondents indicate that they had not received feedback since the Ministry’s 1985study, but only 26% of the respondents indicated that channels of communication wereopen.What, then, is the nature of the support and communication that teachers receive intheir attempts to implement the intended curriculum? While the questionnaire, field noteand interview data indicated that there were attempts by the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy to communicate with classroom teachers, this has not been as effective aspolicy makers might desire. The following discussion of the operation of the CurriculumSection of the Ministry of Education serves to shed even more light on the issue ofcommunication.Curriculum Section: A functioning support unit?The way governments go about change within their own organization is afundamental part of the implementation process. Stated another way, ifgovernments are poor at launching new programs or at bringing about changeswithin their own ranks, how can they possibly criticize schools for not changing?I suspect it is this more than anything else that turns teachers, administrators, andothers off in dealing with government personnel. (Fullan, 1991, p. 253)Many teachers with whom I spoke viewed the Ministry of Education curriculumofficers as sporadic liaisons, offering little reassurance in the classroom teacher’s dailyimplementation of the intended curriculum. In fact, one core subject at the primary schoollevel, mathematics, is without an officer and has been without one since the inception of the1982 Curriculum Guides. In addition, curriculum officers are, after all, subject to thedirectives of the Ministry of Education bureaucracy and can only generate resources basedupon the finances that the Ministry of Education allocates. Furthermore, as a Ministry of148Education official explained, the very organizational structure of the Curriculum Section,does not lead to the efficient management of curriculum matters.[lit’s really not the Curriculum Division. It’s a Curriculum Section, because it’snot structured. It’s not really structured; we do not have all of the required officersin the subject areas, so it’s referred to just as a section. In this new structure that’ssupposed to be coming up this year, we are looking at a Curriculum Division wherethe curriculum officers are together and there is much more structure and there is acloser interrelation of what they’re doing rather than [having them] scattered hereand there.Even the Learning Resources Unit (LRU), the building in which the CurriculumSection is located, presents problems for the administrator, particularly when it comes to itsintended function as a support service. One of the Assistant Directors of Education, whoseportfolio is curriculum, is also responsible for the four sections within the unit. Thesesections include: the media library, housing the hard software and reference material; the in-service section responsible for teacher workshops; the printing section responsible for theprinting of curriculum materials; and the educational broadcasting section that takes care ofthe production of educational programmes. A senior officer should head each of thesesections and should have several support staff to assist her or him. Yet, as a Ministryofficial informed me:It hasn’t been like that for a very long time. The support staff isn’t here. So we donot have skilled personnel. And you know, that has made it very, very difficult.We do all the in-service programmes, we do the educational broadcasting, and wehave the media library and the printing section.This means that the Assistant Director of Education in charge of curriculum has to concernherself with curriculum matters, and also oversee the administration of the four sections ofthe Learning Resources Unit (LRU). Such a situation is likely to result in some neglect ofcurriculum related matters as the responsibilities are far too wide in scope for oneadministrator to manage. Considering the state of the support services, specifically the keystructure established for that purpose, LRU, it is not surprising that classroom teachersquestion the feasibility and efficacy of the intended curriculum policy in The Bahamastoday.149Professional development opDortunitiesBesides the challenging task of making teaching materials available for classroomteachers to use in their daily implementation of the intended curriculum, the issue of in-service opportunities deserves closer consideration. Although the rhetoric of theeducational documents, that I examined in chapter four, adopted the stance that the teacheris central in the implementation process, my interview data and observations of the settings,illustrate that policy makers do not translate this rhetoric into policies concerningprofessional development. Such practices are more in tune with what Darling-Hammond(1990) describes as the view of the teacher as ‘a conduit of policy,’ and not as an actor.Darling-Hammond (1990) argued that:As a consequence of this view, policy makers have tended to invest a great dealmore in the creation of control systems for teaching than they do in the developmentof teacher knowledge. Preservice teacher education programs are funded less wellthan virtually any other college or university program area investments in staffdevelopment are paltry compared to those that occur in other professions or inbusinesses; schools are structured so that teachers have liffle opportunity to learnfrom each other in the course of their work. (p. 345)This is further disturbing when we consider the research findings of Verspoor andLeno (1986) who assessed the World Bank projects directed toward educational changefrom 1964 to 1983. These researchers concluded that “teachers are at the core of theeducational change process” (cited in Rust and Dalin, 1990, p. 313). They argued furtherthat systems where any effective change has occurred have a successful in-servicecomponent and high teacher commitment and motivation for change. Yet, the averageallocation for in-service training, they observed, is less than 4% of the cost of the project.While I cannot confirm the percentage of funding available for in-service training in TheBahamas, there are several conclusions that I can draw based upon my 1991 questionnairedata, observations of the setting, discussions with teachers, and the apparent policies thatthe Ministry of Education bureaucracy employs in this regard.150When discussing the issue of professional development opportunities, Ministry ofEducation officials usually refer to workshops that are school-based and, occasionally,system-wide. While Ministry officials often conduct the system-wide workshops duringthe summer months, the school’s administration conducts the school-based ones during theschool year. During the time that I spent at Central Primary School, its administrationconducted a Staff Development Programme. The topic for discussion, “Ways teachers caninvolve parents in the teaching-learning process,” while worthy of examination, mayprovide little immediate direction for teachers in their daily implementation of the intendedcurriculum. Indeed, as I recall comments teachers made at the time, many suggestionspresented were perceived as additional work for the classroom teacher who afready feelsoverworked.Nonetheless, as the Ministry of Education stipulated in a 1991 directive, suchsessions are to be conducted once per month. Central Primary School’s administration hadset aside the first Wednesday afternoon of each month for this purpose. On thoseafternoons, students would be dismissed at two o’clock while teachers remained, after aday of teaching, to discuss topics selected by members of the school’s administration.Efforts to conduct these workshops are encouraging. However, there is a need foreven more professional development opportunities if, as the supervisors with whom Ispoke indicated, using the categories on the teachers’ Annual Confidential Report, average,above average and outstanding, most of the teachers in the Bahamian educational systemfall within the ‘average’ category. If, in addition, as teachers whom I interviewedadmitted, there are certain subjects that teachers feel less confident about, professionaldevelopment opportunities should extend beyond the confines of afternoon sessionsconducted by members of the school’s administration, and even those conducted in thesummer months for those teachers selected to represent their respective schools.Furthermore, the potential for extending these arenas for the purpose of producingindigenous materials is feasible. As this Ministry of Education official noted:151[TJhe only way you’re going to be able to get materials of that nature, Bahamianmaterials, is to allow teachers to have sabbaticals or to be released for a certainperiod of time. The Bahamas Union of Teachers years and years ago were askingfor this, and you know, it just does not seem to be heeded. We must be prepared torelease teachers to come out to do the research and, you know, give them two orthree months, six months.Also, professional development opportunities can begin to address the issue ofstress that classroom teachers experience daily in their teaching practices. Indeed, thenature of teacher stress is more complicated than it might appear. Huberman (1983) hasdescribed the stress that teachers encounter daily as the ‘classroom press,’ the press forimmediacy and concreteness, for multidimensionality and simultaneity, for adapting toeverchanging conditions or unpredicatability, and for personal involvement with students.Because of this ‘classroom press,’ teachers focus on day-to-day effects, they have fewopportunities for meaningful interaction with colleagues, they exhaust their energy, andthey have limited opportunities for sustained reflection about what they do. Such ananalysis highlights the inadequacy of the structure of the traditional educational setting toencourage networks that support sharing and communication among classroom teachers.As a result, teachers’ dependence upon experiential knowledge for day-to-day coping mustincrease as there is little time to explore the possibilities outside the classroom context.This notion of teacher isolation has tremendous implications for the implementationof an innovation such as that incorporated in the cuniculum policies of The Bahamas. Myobservations of the educational settings indicated that there were few opportunities fornetworking among classroom teachers. This observation concurs with other researchfindings that have shown that teachers say they learn best from each other, but that theyinfrequently interact with each other (e.g., Lortie, 1975; Stallings, 1989). This observationhas particular relevance for Third World nations as teachers in these contexts face evenmore demanding situations. As Jennings-Wray (1990) put it, as compared to teachers inthe developed world:somehow teachers in the Third World are expected to be so buoyed up by their ownenthusiasm for hard labor that they will willingly take on additional work with no152reward or incentive in sight.. . . These [Third World] teachers, in fact, needstronger support because they are emerging from a state of dependency onmethodologies of teachers who taught them, dependency on ideas borrowed fromabroad, dependency on foreign textbooks, etc. (p. 140)Teacher inputWe’re an important part of this whole system. We are the people who make thingsrun. You know those people in [the Ministry of] Education they shuffle aroundpapers, in my opinion, and we’re the people who make things run. We’re the oneswho make the doctors and the lawyers, and even the other people — the criminals;because if we fail, they fail. So we’re important. I think we are most important.(Teacher, Eastern Primary School, 1991)Despite the Director of Education’s appeal in 1982 for teachers to “submitcomments and suggestions to the particular subject committees so that the work that hasnow commenced may continue and quality education may be achieved in all our schools,”many classroom teachers feel that their input about curriculum concerns is not beingaddressed. The question of communication and feedback employing teacher input isanother concern that relates to the broader issue of support services. As a Ministry ofEducation official informed me, it was the Ministry of Education’s intention, in the yearsfollowing the release of the 1982 Curriculum Guides, to seek and act upon the input ofclassroom teachers, but it is, apparently, only now that the Ministry bureaucracy isconsidering this input. In response to questions about teacher input a Ministry ofEducation official explained that:[T]he plan was there [in 1982] for teachers’ feedback. . . . it was not in thecurriculum guidelines as such. It wasn’t really structured in such a way so thatthey would be able to complete a form or something and send it back. It just saidthat you may send feedback. We had a plan that was very well outlined, but wasnever put into action for the teachers to be able to do that. But some of them didanyway. As the years rolled on, this became an automatic path; they did itautomatically. But the difficulty with that [incorporating teacher input] is that it hasnot been structured.153Then, although she was unable to explain why the Ministry did not put its plan for teacherfeedback into action, she disclosed what they have done since the 1985 study regardingfeedback to teachers:After the ‘85 study, the feedback that was collected again was supposed to havebeen included in the curriculum. I know this doesn’t sound very good, but eachyear, each succeeding year, the whole purpose, the idea was this year we will getthe curriculum rewritten. And it has not been rewritten. So what would havehappened, the feedback that came back to the curriculum officers was beingcollected; and some of them would. . . I don’t know, I don’t think all of themwould, because I don’t think all of the feedback may have been suitable, but thecurriculum officers have within their subject areas been incorporating it with theirsubject committees. [In fact,] there are plans to incorporate some of that feedbackthat they collected in ‘85 in this new [proposed for 1992] curriculum.As she explained, these subject committees, comprising the curriculum officer andclassroom teachers whom the principal recommends, act as filtering channels foraddressing curriculum issues. Yet, the Ministry bureaucracy has not structured thisprocess so that they can address these issues in a formal and uniform manner, and therebyincorporate them in official curriculum policy documents. In addition, all schools are notnecessarily represented on all committees. This might explain why most of the classroomteachers with whom I spoke indicated that they have yet to receive feedback about generalconcerns that they submitted in the early years following 1982. Similarly, 69% of therespondents to the 1991 questionnaire indicated that they had not received any updatedinformation from the Ministry of Education concerning revisions to the curriculum since the1985 curriculum study.It is logical, then, to infer that the reason so many classroom teachers feel that theirinput is not being valued is because they do not receive any indication that the Ministry ofEducation officials are acting upon it. Such an oversight, if indeed it is an oversight, needsto be investigated for as has been shown in other Third World contexts such as Trinidadand Tobago (Jules, 1990), Nigeria (Okpala, 1990), and Papua New Guinea (Vicars,1990), the very success of curriculum reform depends upon the involvement of classroomteachers in the curriculum development process. Teacher input and involvement must go154beyond the mere representation of a handful of teachers on curriculum committees. Policymakers need to establish viable channels of communication so that the teaching communityat large can make an impact by voicing their experiences as implementors of curriculumpolicies.Such practices as those employed by the former Bahamian Minister of Educationand the Ministry of Education bureaucracy regarding the introduction of a new examinationserves as a further example of the inadequate lines of communication between the Ministryof Education and classroom teachers. Announcing the new secondary school examinationat a District Education Officers’ conference held for district officers, school principals, andministry officials, the Minister of Education proclaimed that:Perhaps the most challenging initiative this year will be the preparation of ourstudents and our teachers and our schools and our administrators and yourselvesfor the BGCSE [Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education].. . . In thesuccessful introduction of this examination, the Ministry [of Education] meansbusiness. We are committed to it. There is no going back. It is going to happen.So whether it happens successfully or not is going to depend a lot on the people inthis room, because we have no choice. It will come in May of 1993. Advantagesmust be emphasized and it is up to you as leaders to shape this response in yourteachers [emphasis added] so that students are given confidence and are introducedto the new exam with ease. (“Students have,” 1992)It is disturbing that policy makers did not invite classroom teachers to attend a forum suchas the one at which these remarks were made. But, even more crucial is their apparentperception that the success of the implementation process is one that only needs the‘shaping of teachers’ responses’ after policy decisions have been made.The present description of the existing informal channels of communication accessto the Ministry of Education bureaucracy does not encourage the establishment of links thatare strong enough to enhance the process of policy implementation in The Bahamas. Theonus is on policy makers to ensure that channels of communication remain open and active,otherwise a grave injustice is done to the process of curriculum implementation, evaluation,and what should be its resulting re-development. Support services, in the broader sensethat I have used it in this study, calls for the establishment of a sense of trust between those155who make policy and the implementors of policy, the classroom teachers. It calls for whatHurst and Rust (1990) termed ‘a more collaborative atmosphere and set of workingpractices in schools.’ This must be a major goal of The Bahamas Ministry of Educationbureaucracy as they go about the process of cuniculum development in the wake of theirattempts to revise the 1982 guides, ten years later.Internal dynamics of the school contextThe educational context in which teachers translate the curriculum is of keyimportance when one considers the state of policy implementation. I submit that theworking conditions in which classroom teachers are expected to function are as importantas the teaching competencies that they possess. In talking about working conditions Iextend the concept to include not only physical surroundings, but also the socialenvironment or, what I have termed, the internal dynamics of the school context. Yet,because it is the physical surroundings of the Bahamian schools that are more visible, Ibegin there.The state of the physical facilities in the schools of developing nations, such as TheBahamas, presents a dimension that is not often faced to the same extent by those indeveloped nations. The complexities of economic conditions are more extreme indeveloping nations. Recently more ethnographic studies have begun to give researchers aclearer idea of the severity these conditions. The profiles that I present of Western, Centraland Eastern Primary Schools are my contribution to the descriptions of educational contextsin the developing nation of The Bahamas.The profile of Eastern Primary School presents the most disturbing ‘snapshot’ of aschool building in disrepair. Whether the structure that Eastern Primary, and schoolssimilar to it, represents is economically viable is a pressing question. And, even morewidely, that 65% of the respondents in my survey indicated that there is insufficient space156in their schools for effective learning to take place is cause for concern, especially if theseresponses are reflective of the larger Bahamian educational context. Yet, as discussedearlier in the dissertation, there is a difference in the responses on this questionnaire item asthe less qualified teachers of the sample were more critical. The reason for this differencedeserves further investigation.A common misconception about the teaching profession is that its working hoursare shorter. However, when we consider the number of daily instructional hours, extrainstructional responsibilities such as break supervision, preparation time, marking ofstudents’ assignments, staff meetings and other administrative chores, we must construct avery different picture. In addition, according to Hurst and Rust (1990):We must also calculate the number of days each week that the teacher works, thenumber of weeks each year the teacher instructs, and the number of weeks theteacher is obliged to be on the job when students are out of school. [And still,]these figures [would] typically refer to the number of hours a teacher must be inschool and do not reflect out of school hours devoted to their profession. (p. 162)The profiles that I presented of three Bahamian educational contexts illustrated justhow taxing the time of teachers can be, in terms of both physical and emotional energy. Inparticular, the issue of lesson plan books is an area that warrants attention. All theclassroom teachers with whom I spoke felt that this was simply an exercise in bureaucraticcontrol, and their time that could be better spent on more practical teacher preparation tasks.Certainly, the number of working hours and the inherent stress that accompanies itmust have a negative impact upon a classroom teacher’s willingness to follow the intendedcurriculum. While this argument might be contentious, if the experiences of the teacherswith whom I spoke are any indication of the state of the teaching profession throughoutThe Bahamas, it is not assuming too much to conclude that their professional commitmentto the implementation of the intended curriculum wifi suffer.One factor that researchers cite as crucial in their investigations of the schools indeveloping nations is that of instructional time. According to a World Bank report (1990),Policies for the improving the effectiveness of primary education in developing countries:157Research from a number of countries has shown that the amount of time availablefor academic studies is consistently related to how much children learn in school.In general the more time teachers spend actually teaching, the more students learn.While learning time is valuable for all students, it is especially important for poorstudents, whose out-of-school time and opportunities for learning are limited. (p. 9)During my discussions with classroom teachers, instructional time surfacedrepeatedily as a concern in the implementation of the intended curriculum. Instructional timecan be influenced by the length of the official school year in hours, the proportion of thesehours assigned to the subject, and the amount of time lost through school closures, teacherabsences, and other interruptions. Besides these influences, which are common to bothdeveloped and developing nations, Bahamian classroom teachers cite additionalinterruptions that they experience. Interruptions for non-academic activities, inclementweather, morning assemblies that sometimes extend into first and second period classes,public and school holidays, and time for teachers to complete end of term reports andmarking are common.Inclement weather can be particularly disruptive especially during hurricane seasonin The Bahamas. During my data collection, the weather bureau issued a ‘storm watch’that resulted in the cancellation of school for one day. During hurricane season suchcancellations can occur whenever there is a perceived danger to the islands. In addition,often students will not come to school if it is raining heavily, as flooding can result intraffic delays for those who are driven to school, and additional difficulties for those whomust walk. Also, the flooding can hamper activities on the school grounds, as it may bedifficult to get from building to building when necessaiy.Besides the problems of inclement weather, non-academic activities, extendedmorning assemblies, public and school holidays, and administrative tasks, there is also theissue of the allocation of instructional time. The time allocated to each subject relatesdirectly to what policy makers perceive to be the focus of primary schooling. Education fornational progress (1976), explicitly stated the amount of time that should be available foracademic studies, and what those academic areas should be. The commission team158responsible for the writing of this document reduced the number of subjects to the basiclearning areas of communication, mathematics, social and environmental studies, andpractical arts. They further recommended that: “A multiplicity of subjects is bothunnecessary and undesirable at the beginning stages of learning” (p. 28). Yet, despite thisrecommendation, there has been an increase in subjects at the primary school level. At thebeginning of the 1991-1992 school year, the Ministry of Education issued a proposedsubject breakdown for the upper primary level that included two new subjects, family lifeand health education (2 class periods) and agriculture (2 class periods). This is in additionto the following subjects: mathematics (7 periods), language arts (11 periods), reading (4periods), social studies (2 periods), physical education (2 periods), science (3 periods),religious knowledge (2 periods), music (2 periods), art and craft (2 periods), and libraryscience (1 period).These additions deter from the original intentions of policy makers regarding thegoal of primary education. As the White paper (1973) stated:An effort will be made to improve the cultivation of the arts of communication, thelearning of skills which are appropriate to the primary level and the strengthening ofsuch areas of the curriculum as mathematics, science, health and citizenship. (pp. 4-5)Indeed, the objective of functional literacy and numeracy is one that the 1976-198 1planning guide (Education for national progress) highlighted as key in its primary schoolprojection. Yet, many classroom teachers and Ministry of Education officials with whom Ispoke agreed that the primary school timetable, as it is presently structured, is overtaxed.Consequently, classroom teachers, although trying to work within the Ministry ofEducation’s timetable framework, must often infringe upon the instructional time of othersubjects, particularly if they feel that they need extra time to complete the curriculum of‘core subjects.’ As this Ministry of Education official revealed:The teachers try to work within that [Ministry of Education] framework, but inreality, things don’t happen the way you see it on paper there. Because some ofthem find that they are spending. . . or they don’t have sufficient contact time incertain relevant areas or essential areas, and so they tend to rob from certain other159areas, but they do that without the Ministry of Education knowing it. I do think thatthe timetable at the primary level is overcrowded... . [Wjhat you want to do is togive them [students] the basics. .. . We need to get in a lot of contact time in thelanguage arts and develop our language skills and computational skills. So theymust have a lot of contact time in mathematics and language [arts]. They are key,and I don’t think these two areas should be sacrificed for any other area.Still, despite this prevailing attitude, the higher levels of the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy make decisions regarding the composition of timetables. In fact, Ministry ofEducation officials whom I interviewed readily expressed their helplessness about beingable to effect changes regarding timetable issues:We’ve brought that [timetable issues] up also, but then we don’t make the laws; wedon’t do it, so we [supervisors] would have to try and talk with teachers and tellthem do their best to see that they cover what they can.If, this is indicative of the general approach to policy formulation, there is a problem notonly for the issue of timetables, but for policy formulation practices generally.Nonetheless, as instructional time and its use is a key factor in any effective model ofschooling, and as the original intent of policy makers was to strengthen the areas ofliteracy, numeracy, and ultimately nourish a sense of national pride and identity (WhitePaper, 1973), it seems imperative that the bureaucratic decision makers review the currentstance on the structure of the current Bahamian primary school timetable.It follows that after a discussion of the current constraints upon instructional time,and thereby upon the implementation process, that we turn to the impact of extracurricularactivities. While there are undoubtedly a range of purposes for schooling, educatorsgenerally agree upon two major ones. Fullan (1991) labelled these as thecognitive/academic and the personal/social-development purposes of education. A majoraim of extracurricular activities is to extend the student’s personal/social-developmentoutside the regular classroom context. The term ‘extracurricular activities’ refers, then, tothose events that lie outside the ‘regular’ curriculum. By the very nature of its definition,these events are meant be conducted outside the times meant for the ‘regular’ curriculum.160Yet, as my data reveal, in the Bahamian schools very often these events infringe upon theinstructional time of the regular curriculum.In the case of the Bahamian primary schools, extracurricular events include after-school programmes, sports teams, choirs, dance groups, music instrument groups, andany event that members of the school’s staff decide to organize for student involvement. Inpractice, ‘after-school programmes’ may include both academic activities that aim to assiststudents who are having problems in core subjects such as reading, language arts, andmathematics, as well as programmes whose aim it is to expose students to non-academicactivities such as sports, dance and the like. Undoubtedly the non-academic programmesattract more students. Two big events around which extracurricular activities centre at theprimary school level in The Bahamas are the annual Junior Junkanoo Competition and thePrimary Schools Music Festival. In addition, during the year that I collected data, therewas the first ever Primary Schools’ Science Exhibition that occupied much of the scienceclass time, and student spare and after school time.Both the Maraj Report (1974) and the subsequent Education for national progress(1976), included references to extracurricular activities, although they did not use this term.The Maraj Report stated that one of its terms of reference was:To recommend a programme of external assistance to supplement local manpowerand financial resources to meet present and anticipated future needs in the areas ofeducation, youth, community development, culture, sports and all other relatedsubjects included in the portfolio of the Ministry of Education and Culture. (pp. 3-4)The subsequent planning guide pursued this reference by specifying the following objectivefor primary education:OBJECIIVE TWELVE: TO DEVELOP A PROGRAMME OF HEALTH,PHYSICAL EDUCATION AN]) RECREATION INTHE SCHOOLS.50. Physical education builds much more than sound bodies. Many importanttraits — physical, mental and emotional — are best developed through organizedphysical and sport activities. No school programme is complete if physicaleducation and recreational sports are absent or neglected.16151. During the planning period 1976-81 an adequate programme of physicaleducation for all pupils should be established. The Bahamas is an ideal country forthe growth and development of recreational sports. (p. 30)In addition, the 1982 Physical Education Curriculum Guide extended the objective of itsprogramme to include more diverse activities. Stating that one of its goals was to stimulatestudents to participate in and enjoy recreation during leisure time, the guide declared that“Where class time may not allow many of the skills of games to be taught well enough,teachers can organize clubs that will cater to them during lunch breaks andperhapsfor anhour after school time” [emphasis added] (p. 88).While the preceding excerpts refer only to physical education and recreationalsports, since 1982, extracurricular activities have extended to include much more. In fact,the 1982 Physical Education Curriculum Guide stated that:[T]here is no reason why afternoon club, (which was a another way of saying“AFTER SCHOOL ACTIViTIES” ) may not be given a special period every twoweeks or so and a whole afternoon 1-3 be devoted to just extra curricularactivities. (p. 89)Still, it is important to note that such activities are meant to be conducted during times otherthan that allocated for the other subjects of the primary school curriculum.Although I did not have access to any Ministry of Education circulars, since 1982,that address this issue of extracurricular activities, Ministry of Education officials withwhom I spoke voiced similar concerns about the practices that some schools follow in thisregard.[un some schools I don’t like what I see, because it’s just a matter of childrensitting back and this teacher has a few in there, and there’s nothing reallystructured. The program.. . the course work that you’re going to do, it should besort of remedial, that you will use to strengthen these children that are taking thiscourse. I don’t think that’s going too well. I really don’t.. . . I worry about thattoo [other extracurricular activities], because these things that will get publicscrutiny and public approval, people tend to spend a lot of time on that. Andthey’ve got energy, boundless energy, to put into that, but that worries me. Ifyou’re going to do it, then I used to say to my teachers, ‘Make a list of thevocabulary, the material that you’re going to use, and then bring it into theclassroom so the children will be benefiting from what they’re doing. But if you’rejust going to spend your time on that, it’s not good enough. Fair time, harvesttime, whatever the extra thing that you were doing. . . incorporate it into what the162children are doing; you’ll be much better off.’ But when it’s over, some peoplecan’t write the word ‘Junkanoo.’The case of Eastern Primary School was, as I discovered, and as this Ministxy of Educationofficial agreed, even more disquieting:[A]t [Eastern], they have a lot of extra-curricular things going on, and that is why Ijust stopped [my supervisory visits] during the Christmas, because they.. . when Iwas at one class, there were some other things going on with the other areas, so Iknew they were preparing for Junkanoo. That seems to have been priority. Andthere are other little things, so I just stopped.. . . There’s no balance [between thesocial and academic]. When you put it with the academic there’s just too muchemphasis on the culture, the social side of it. They have to go this way and theyhave to do that, and the music and the. . . you know, there’s too much emphasison that, and I think the academic is being neglected.... [Diuring my time ofobservation, especially in the grade six, the top grade [group], you would fmd thatduring a math lesson the children are called out to go to do some music orsomething, or to go for p.e. [physical education] practice or something like that.Not during math! You have your p.e. period or your music period, so you do thatduring that time. I mentioned it to the principal. She’s always trying to defend it,but I still feel that there is too much emphasis on that, and too much disturbancetoo, especially in the top grades. And they’re the ones that they are really leaningon to do that, and so they’re always pulling out the children, especially during thecore subjects.Such comments point to influences, and indeed impediments, to the process ofcurriculum implementation. Furthermore, it is obvious that there has been a deviation fromthat which the drafters of the 1982 curriculum policy guidelines initially envisioned wouldbe the purpose of extracurricular activities. Classroom teachers and Ministry of Educationofficials alike, have begun to question the ‘balance between the social and academic spheresof the curriculum.’ Many teachers expressed their concerns regarding the impingement onthe instructional time that they should have to cover specified areas of the intendedcurriculum. That teachers identify these concerns as impediments to curriculumimplementation points to the need to address the issue of extracurricular activities whenformulating curricular policy directives. Yet, as far as I was able to discern, the Ministry ofEducation has not produced a policy directive to address this issue. It is crucial that policymakers address these concerns if the implementation of the intended curriculum is theimprove.163Criticism abounds in the research of schooling in developing nations regarding theemployment of foreign models (e.g., Ejiogu, 1980; Heyneman, 1984; Jennings-Wray,1984a; Kay, 1975; Vulliamy, 1981). Arguments have articulated the danger ofincorporating the ideals of industrialized nations into the unique contexts of newlyestablished nations. Still, many times through the support of international aidorganizations, such models are indiscriminatingly transposed into these contexts. The teamteaching/open classroom concept was one such model that crept into the Bahamianeducational system during the early 1970s, just as it was losing favour in the United States.There are four team teaching schools on the island of New Providence. Eastern Primary, aschool in this study, is one of them.Team teaching has its origins in the United States of the mid-1950s. The originalintent of team teaching was to divide student time into three groupings. As Warwick(1971) explained:Forty per cent of the scheduled time might be spent in large groups of about onehundred, where the emphasis would be on pupil stimulation, motivation,enrichment, planning of activities, etc. Teachers in this area would be specialistsand a wide range of audio-visual aids needed. Another forty per cent of the timewould be spent by pupils in small groups of twelve to fifteen, the teacher acting ascounsellor or consultant. Finally, twenty per cent of the time available would bespend on individual study or in groups of two or three. Here a variety of activitieswould be involved — reading, research, experimentation, writing, listening topre-recorded tapes, viewing photographic material, and so on, under the guidanceof a tutor. (p. 14)By 1965, team teaching had become even more sophisticated. Its organization anduse of material dictated that a wide rage of equipment would not only be necessary, butadvocates argued that “the instructional set-up is not complete without appropriate tools”(Trump, 1965, cited in Warwick, 1971, p. 15). Such materials range from overheadprojectors, to televisions, recorders, projection screens, chest microphones, public addresssystems, study workrooms, and printed materials. This elaborate array of ‘appropriatetools’ extended to specially-designed schools with the ‘appropriate’ rooms for large and164small group meetings, resource materials, teacher preparation and other componentsconsidered necessary for the team teaching programme.Team teaching was introduced into contexts of the developed world for variousreasons. Among these were the perceived need to address staffing problems, inadequatefacilities, and in order to structure a framework for mixed-ability groupings. It is doubtfulthat Bahamian policy makers identified similar concerns in its educational system. It ismore likely, as Ejiogu (1980) argued that policy makers in Nigeria did when implementingteam teaching in its student teaching practices, that:In a blind imitation of practices elsewhere, the educational planners in these[developing] countries advocate changes which bear no relevance whatsoever to theneeds of the consumer society. Team-teaching, for example, is irrelevant in asociety with an acute shortage of teachers. (p. 165)As with Nigeria, at the time of the introduction of team teaching into its system, TheBahamas was struggling with the problem of a shortage of qualified teachers, in addition tothe shortage of resources and inadequate physical facilities. Nonetheless, policy makersproceeded with plans for two elaborately designed structures that included all the‘appropriate tools’ to which Warwick (1971) referred.The general format of team teaching lessons, as it was originally intended, beginswith the preparation of a scheme that builds in both the general and individual needs of thestudents. Then, through the ‘lead’ or ‘input’ lesson, teachers attempt to capture theinterests of the students. Activity-centred follow-up work is also built into the programme.Team members hold meetings with the intent of evaluating student reception of the inputlesson, and ultimately to plan further lessons.There are several key premises upon which this whole concept lies. As Warwick(1971) explained:It is a process which involves — among other factors — matching size andcomposition of the group to the task in hand; a far more flexible organization as faras time-tabling and lesson periods are concerned; resulting from this, newutilization of audio-visual material, equipment, and teaching spaces; and radicalre-thinking of pupil assessment. (p. 20)165Yet, as Warwick (1971) noted, while team teaching requires that such organizationalchanges are necessary for team teaching to occur, many administrators simply try to fitteam teaching techniques into a conventional framework. The result is the adoption oforganizational aspects of team teaching, without the intended educational implications.Team teaching, of the kind that I witnessed at Eastern Primary School, was of thekind that Warwick (1971) described above, with organizational aspects but without theintended educational implications. It is further arguable that this student-centred innovationwas doomed from the beginning as it was incompatible with the teacher-centred setting thathas persisted in the educational context of The Bahamas. Other researchers have leviedsimilar arguments against curricular innovations of Jamaica (Jennings-Wray, 1985), PapuaNew Guinea (Vulliamy, 1981), and team teaching attempts in Nigeria (Ejiogu, 1980).Besides this basic criticism, the practice of team teaching presents a complex set ofchallenges for the implementor of curriculum policy in the Bahamian context. Indeed,during the time of the introduction of the 1982 Curriculum Guides, teachers in teamteaching settings had to grapple not only with curriculum reform, but also with instructionalreform. Currently, unless the classroom teacher is new to the team teaching situation, thereis a sense of routine about her daily practices. However, I uncovered a complexity when Ireviewed the relationship between team teaching and the government’s intended curriculumpolicy.First, and foremost, the structure of the physical building of Eastern PrimarySchool is of immediate concern. Policy makers not only imported the concept of teamteaching, but imported the open classroom concept that went with it. In 1972, policymakers outfitted Eastern Primary School with all the audio-visual material, equipment, andteaching spaces to which Warwick (1971) alludes. This translated into millions of dollarsduring the initial construction phase in the early 1970s, and has continued to drain onnational and, in turn, educational budget funds. Indeed, the costs of maintaining buildingssuch as Eastern Primary are enormous. These costs are led by the expense of an air-166conditioning unit, with which the school was originally equipped, as the building has nowindows. While the three floor, originally carpeted, pentagon-structured, concretebuilding remains as a monument to the PLP GovemmenCs early educational endeavours,many classroom teachers and Ministry of Education officials alike expressed the concernabout whether the initial and continued expenses benefited the larger educational system inThe Bahamas.In addition, as compared to the more elaborate organizational structure of theteaching teams of the 1960s in the United States, the teams at Eastern Primary Schoolinclude only the team leader, responsible for the immediate supervision of her centre, andthe members of the team. As there are no provisions for teacher or clerical aides, in thesense that team teaching advocates originally conceived it, members of the team mustprepare lessons, mark student assignments, perform administrative chores and otherteaching responsibilities, in addition to coordinating with team members. The absence ofteacher or clerical aides certainly contributes to the fact that teachers in the sixth grade centreat Eastern Primary have reverted to the practice of ‘turn’ teaching instead of ‘team’teaching. In the absence of the needed assistance and support, classroom teachers havereverted to a practice that has served them well in the past, and continues to do so in thepresent.The views of both classroom teachers, administrators, and Ministry of Educationofficials concerning this practice of ‘turn’ teaching as compared to ‘team’ teaching areremarkably similar. It was the original intent of team teaching advocates that one memberof the team would introduce the ‘lead’ or ‘input’ lesson given to the larger group of about100 students. A second member would then take responsibility for the middle section ordevelopment of the lesson, and a third member would conclude the lesson. Each memberof the team would then be responsible for follow-up activities in smaller groups.The practice in the sixth grade centre at Eastern Primary School differs, as each ofthe five team members takes the responsibility for either, literature, religious knowledge,167social studies, family life, or health education. The other team members, then, aresupposed to help with the discipline of the group while that team member teaches the inputsubject for which she is responsible. The team member responsible for the individualsubject does most of the preparation for the lesson, and all the marking of studentassignments that she gives. In addition, there are specialists for science and physicaleducation. Smaller groups of students also rotate their group visits with the readingspecialist.The flexibility of the scheduling, to which Warwick (1971) and other advocatesrefer, does not exist at Eastern Primary School. First, while team meetings do take place,usually they are not built into the timetable, as was the intent of team teaching advocates,but instead members must arrange to meet one afternoon a week, after school hours.Additionally, a class period is usually a half hour, although there are double periods builtinto the schedules for some subjects. Finally, teachers, most often than not, rigidly complywith the time constraints, especially when the whole centre must attend an input lesson.In addition to these organizational dilemmas, and the issue of resource availabilityaside, there was a widespread attitude among the teachers with whom I spoke that thepractice of team teaching at Eastern Primary School does not facilitate the implementation ofthe intended curriculum. Foremost among the objections were the issues of studentcontrol, varied student abilities within the large groupings, and instructional methods.Teachers complained continually about the problem of discipline in the large group lead orinput lessons. Many questioned whether team teaching was suitable for all studentabilities. Finally, many teachers felt that the open classroom setting inhibited theirinstructional creativity.It was the original intent of team teaching advocates to enhance the teaching processby expanding learning possibilities for children, building flexibility into timetables, andtaking advantage of the range of technological advances of the time. Yet, as teachers atEastern Primary School revealed, there is little evidence of these advantages at Eastern. If,168then, the situation at Eastern is any indication of other team teaching experiences ineducational system of The Bahamas, policy makers need to re-examine the impact of thisinstructional innovation upon the process and content driven elements of the intendededucational policies of the independence era. They need to reconsider the educationalworth of team teaching and whether it is advantageous in the fairly traditional system ofThe Bahamas.The systematic streaming of students has occupied considerable focus in theeducational research literature since the early 1900s. Although analysts argue that thissorting function has a degree of importance, the greater controversy surrounds whethereducators apply sorting procedures universally to all persons despite race, gender, socialclass, or religious preference. Depending upon which of these factors educators perceiveas more salient in a given context, the nature and extent of the sorting practice vary. It isnot my intention to review the body of literature that addresses these arguments. Instead, Iwish to apply the concerns about streaming and non-streaming, that teachers in my studyvoiced, to the larger picture of curriculum implementation.Few researchers have sought to relate this aspect, the practice of academicstreaming or mixed-ability, to the larger issue of innovation implementation. The impact ofeither practice, as my interview and field note data show, is one that needs to beconsidered. Two of the three schools in which I collected data used the academically-streamed setting, while teachers in the third instructed in a mixed-ability setting. Allparticipants with whom I spoke, except for the principal of Western Primary School,expressed their preference for academic streaming. Invariably the reasons for thispreference centred around the perceived ease with which teachers felt that they could caterto students of similar ability levels in one setting. Many teachers expressed the perceptionthat, although there may still be ‘streaming within streaming,’ they could make adjustmentsin their teaching practices more easily than if they had extreme ability levels in oneclassroom, as in the mixed-ability setting.169It is difficult to determine the effectiveness of either setting, academic streaming ormixed-ability, based on the data that I have collected. Stifi, the concerns of teachers in thisregard should be noted. These concerns have particular significance when we consider thelower ability students. If, as teachers of these lower ability students expressed, they feelunduly pressured to complete specified components of a curriculum, sometimes to the pointthat they feel they must push students on whether they have grasped concepts or not, thishas serious implications for the implementation of the curriculum innovation.Are classroom teachers inclined to comply with the guidelines of the innovation atall costs, or are they more concerned about the welfare of their students? While manyteachers with whom I spoke stressed their commitment to their students as paramount, wecannot overlook the constraints that assessment imposes. Yet, the crucial question is: Arestudents given the opportunity to fully grasp, if indeed this ideal is attainable, the content ofthat intended curriculum if they are constantly pushed to meet a deadline? Such a questionis relevant for all ability levels, but is better considered within the larger issue of theexamination system, particularly as it manifests itself in the Grade Level Assessment Test(GLAT).During the last decade, educational researchers have begun to consider the impactthat assessment has on curriculum practices, and the implementation of innovationsgenerally (e.g., Broadfoot, 1983; Jules, 1990; Morris, 1985; Okpala, 1990). Among otherthings, such research has concluded that assessment procedures are one of the greatestconstraints on classroom practices. In particular, teachers have pointed to the need to coverthe syllabus in the time available and the expectations of their students.The nature of my data limits my analysis, and resulting discussion, of the influenceof assessment on teaching practices. A more detailed analysis might look at a comparisonof the actual content of the Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) and how thatcomplements or differs from the intended curriculum of the 1982 guides. Although mydiscussions with teachers suggested that teachers did include some GLAT topics that were170not in the curriculum guides or written schemes of work, it is difficult to make more thantentative observations. For example, while the topics listening and speaking (labelled“listening comprehension” on the GLAT), spelling, grammar and usage (included in asection labelled “language” on the GLAT), and written composition were topics in the 1982Language Arts Curriculum Guide, teachers have placed them in separate time slots on thetimetables as they represent distinct sections of the GLAT. Yet, the Ministry ofEducation’s proposed subject breakdown that they released at the beginning of the 199 1-1992 school year did not include separate time slots for topics within subject areas, butonly stipulated general breakdowns for each subject. That is, Ministry officials listedlanguage arts and mathematics and gave the proposed number of periods, but they did notbreak these down into the assignment of topics or areas within these subjects.On the other hand, the topics that the 1982 Mathematics Curriculum Guide outhnedwere: problem solving, estimation, mental arithmetic, and informal geometry. The sectionsthat appear on the GLAT are: “Concepts of Number,” Mathematics Computation,” and“Mathematics Application.” Whether the differences in topics represent substantialdifferences in the general content needs closer scrutiny. Still, if this teacher’s remark is tobe taken to be indicative of the general practices of classroom teachers throughout theeducational system of The Bahamas, the urgency of such scrutiny is noteworthy:[un grade six, they teach a particular subject in maths, thaes gonna come up. Ifyou go according to the curriculum, when the GLAT comes out, the grade sixstudents would not have touched that area yet; so they would bring up some, youknow, like percentages or bring it up a bit so that they would have someknowledge of that particular area in math to be able to do the GLAT. As far as theEnglish for both grades three and six, they do a lot of essay writing. And then youknow, we do a lot of the objective-type questioning where they read the questionsand there are three or four answers because the GLAT is an objective test.The importance of a more thorough analysis of the content of both the 1982Curriculum Guides and the GLAT aside, I do have sufficient data for an analysis usingMorris’ (1985) model of influences that affect teaching practices. This model places theexamination system as a central dynamic in the implementation of an innovation. It draws171attention to five components that inform my analysis of the Bahamian educational context.These include: the ability of the students, student expectations, teacher accountability,colleague conformity, and the school administration. I extend the last influence, the schooladministration, to include the administration of individual schools and the Ministry ofEducation bureaucracy.During my discussions with classroom teachers, many pointed to assessmentpractices, both internal and external, as being integrally tied to streaming and non-streamingpractices. The pressure to prepare students, despite variations in ability levels, for unit,mid-term, end of term, end of year, and the GLAT examinations looms over their practicesas an ever-threatening obstacle. The practice of including the name of the teacher on thestudent’s examination paper further compounds this pressure. Classroom teachersindicated their reluctance to instruct lower ability groups, and administrators confirmed thisreluctance as expressed by teachers. Teachers further expressed that they felt pressured to‘cover the syllabus’ so that they were not blamed for examination failures. Often, as manyteachers admitted, the ‘covering of the syllabus’ did not necessarily mean that students hadadequately grasped the concepts in question.As I reflect upon the reasons that principals gave for their choices of the teacherwith whom I would work, I propose that perhaps the status of the teacher is one that hingesupon the perceived competence of the teacher, and ultimately her examination pass-failurerate. As evidenced through my discussions, principals undoubtedly have pride inexamination results as a measure of the school’s reputation. The Ministry of Educationbureaucracy and the Bahamian community can determine a school’s academic profilethrough the annual Grade Level Assessment Test technical reports that compare schoolswith each other, by individual island, regionally, and with other schools throughout TheBahamas. Finally, students themselves exercise a degree of pressure as they, and theirparents, expect that the teacher will fulfil examination requirements, which in their mindsmeans that the student should pass the examination.172These influences, student ability, student and parental expectations, teacheraccountability, colleague conformity, and the school administration/Ministiy of Educationbureaucracy, fit into the larger picture of the implementation of the 1982 CurriculumGuides in very explicit ways. First, they point to major criteria that teachers consider indeciding whether to follow the intended content of the guides. Then, in turn, such ananalysis has implications for the content of both the curriculum and that of examinations,particularly the GLAT as it is a major element in the implementation equation. If the GLATexamination, and the topics that comprise its syllabi, influence classroom practices asgreatly as my data suggest, then, the potential of this examination to promote and enhancethe intended curriculum must be harnessed. In this regard, Lewin’s (1984) comments, inreference to Malaysia and Sri Lanka, have efficacy:Decisions on teaching methods, content objectives, and the use of the curriculum,are clearly not wholly circumscribed by public examinations. None the less, insituations where a primary motive in going to school is to be selected for moreschooling and acquiring qualifications, examinations are likely to exert considerableinfluence on the curriculum at both design and implementation stages; more than,for example, exhortation, rhetoric and prescription contained in texts andguidebooks. (cited in Morris, 1985, p. 15)Simultaneously, we must be careful that policy makers do not use examination results as ameasure of a teacher’s success. It is indeed disturbing, that the former Prime Minister ofThe Bahamas, the Right Honourable Sir Lynden Pindling, proclaimed as recently asFebruary of 1992 that:Parents pay a vast amount in taxes every year for the education of their children andthey are entitled to an evaluation of how their children’s schools are performing.Therefore the examination results of different schools in different subjects will bepublished each year so thatparents would be able to evaluate what teachers arepeiforming better in what schools [emphasis added]. (The Tribune, February 27,1992, p. 12)A second implication relates to the varied student ability levels that classroomteachers must contend with in their daily implementation of the intended curriculum. In thisregard, we must consider the reality of the classroom teacher’s constraints when dealingwith ‘slower’ groups and somehow incorporate this in curriculum policy. Finally, the173larger question, whether the academically-streamed or mixed-ability setting is morebeneficial to the student, and the success of the innovation, must be investigated morethoroughly.Personal backgrounds and professional experiences of teachersFullan (1991) has argued that policy makers must “understand the subjective world— the phenomenology — of the role incumbents as a necessary precondition for engaging inany change effort with them” (p. 131). Implicit in this recommendation is the idea that thesubjective world of the ‘role incumbents,’ the teachers, is multifaceted. The subjectiveworld of teachers comprises not only their immediate classroom environment, but also thepersonal realm of their daily lives. Teachers bring their personal and practical experienceswith them to their classroom practices. Their daily routines and rhythms, are thereforeexpressions of their personal practical knowledge. According to Clandinin (1986) “if weacknowledge the existence of experiential knowledge, the importance we attribute tounderstanding the influence of her [a teacher’s] past experience is enhanced” (pp. 3-4). Inturn, we recognize that a teacher’s purposes and values shapes this knowledge.Several implications of this stance as it pertains to policy implementation should benoted. Foremost among these is the importance of viewing practice and policy asintimately interrelated. Practice has a profound influence upon policy just as policy has animpact upon practice. Findings by policy researchers (e.g., Cohen & Ball, 1990;Jennings-Wray, 1985) have suggested that teachers do not simply assimilate innovations,but instead enact new policies as they fit into their existing knowledge, beliefs, andpractices. Similarly, classroom teachers in my study claimed to teach from what theyknow, and claimed to use practices that have worked for them in the past. The practice of‘turn’ teaching as compared to ‘team’ teaching is an example of this ‘reliance upon thatwhich works.’ In addition, teachers consider much more than the principles of policies that174policy makers pass down to them. All the factors that I discussed above, includingresources, support services, and the internal dynamics of the school context have a directbearing on what teachers decide to do in their classrooms. Furthermore, the larger societalcontext, local, national and international, has an impact in ways that we need to begin torecognize and appreciate.Central to an investigation of the larger societal context is the status of the teacher inthe Third World. Such an investigation must include a discussion of teachers’ pay,perceived self-esteem, and professional status. While my data is somewhat limited in thisregard, Hurst and Rust (1990) did offer some insights that serve to contexualize manycomments that classroom teachers made during my discussions with them.Hurst and Rust (1990) reviewed studies that provide data using comparisons ofteacher incomes with each other; comparisons of the level of pay of teachers with a cost-of-living index; comparisons with other officers in the public administration services holdingequivalent qualifications; contrasts with other sectors of the work world; and assessmentsof attitudes people have about teaching. According to Hurst and Rust, this data have donelittle more than highlight the obvious fact that teachers in the Third World are poorly paid.The consequences have been drastic for the education systems in these countries. Thebetter teachers in the Third World have tended to leave teaching, and militant action byteachers’ associations has resulted in power struggles between teachers and governments,and within the ranks of teachers. Additionally, while moonlighting and the lack ofpromotion prospects have offered little hope, the working conditions of teachers in theThird World have served to complicate matters even further.Hurst and Rust’s (1990) argument that the above fmdings are common in the ThirdWorld concurs with much of what teachers revealed to me during our discussions. Theimpression that I have, based on my discussions with the teachers of the study, is that themorale of the teachers in The Bahamas is at an all time low. The feeling among manyteachers is that this situation has compounded itself since the teachers’ strike in the early1751980s. This strike pitted teachers against the Progressive Liberal Party run government,and ultimately the public at large. Relations have improved very little since the early 1980s.Consequently, the status and self-esteem of teachers have suffered serious set-backs.Indeed, Hurst and Rust’s (1990) conclusion that it is doubtful if teachers in theThird World will ever achieve a professional status, is, although ominous, reflective ofhow many teachers, and former teachers, in The Bahamas view the state of the teachingprofession today. This view is reinforced because teachers do not control entiy to theirprofession, they do not regulate the price charged for their services, they do not have wideoptions for mobility and promotion, they do not formulate their disciplinary codes, andthey do not enjoy high regard for entering the profession (Hurst & Rust, 1990). Yet, it iscrucial that policy makers pay considerably greater attention to the state of teachers and theteaching profession, particularly because it is the teachers on whom they depend toimplement policies. As Fullan (1991) has stated so succinctly, “For both stability andchange, the mental health and attitudes of teachers are absolutely crucial to success” (p.117).SummaryResources, support services, the internal dynamics of the school context,assessment practices, and the personal backgrounds and professional experiences ofteachers are key issues that influence the implementation of the intended curriculum in TheBahamas. In this chapter I have outlined various aspects of these issues that the data of thisstudy have highlighted as crucial. Improvement in the curriculum implementation processin The Bahamas depends on how seriously policy makers take these issues. A greatercommitment must be placed on those components that enhance success. The analysis ofthe data in this study has led me to conclude that these components include the productionof indigenous materials, a more collaborative support network, respect for teacherexperience and insight, and a re-examination of the factors that have an impact, bothinternally and externally, upon the school context. In the next chapter I highlight thesecomponents as I outline the implications of the findings presented in this dissertation.176177CHAPTER 8SUMMARY AND iMPLICATIONSSummaryHeeding the call of developmental theorists (e.g., Jennings-Wray, 1980; Miller,1983; Watson, 1984) to examine the nexus between policy and practice in educationalsystems of the Third World, I have attempted to uncover the multifaceted dynamics ofcurriculum processes in the Bahamian educational system. The initial examination of thepolicy documents in chapter four presented the general structure of policy guidelines thathave served, up to the time of the general elections of August of 1992, as the backbone ofthe Bahamian educational philosophy. Then, I sought to determine how closely therhetoric of these educational policy documents matched the contemporary practices ofBahamian classroom teachers.I conducted this exploration by observing the practices of classroom teachers andengaging in discussions with them, and other Bahamas Ministry of Education officials. Inan attempt to place these voices into the larger context, I also administered a questionnaireto a larger group of classroom teachers and compared my findings with those of theMinistry of Education’s earlier 1985 study on the same theme. Finally, I compared theanalysis of the data from all sources, documents, questionnaire, field notes, andinterviews, with that of earlier research on educational reform generally, and theimplementation of curriculum innovations specifically. The following section presents anoverview of the implications that I have drawn from this investigation.178Curriculum Reform: A ‘Mukivariate Business’Managing social change is indeed a multivariate business that requires us to think ofand address more than one factor at a time. While the theory and practice ofsuccessful educational change do make sense, and do point to clear guidelines foraction, it is always the case that particular actions in particular situations requireintegrating the more general knowledge of change with detailed knowledge of thepolitics, personalities, and history peculiar to the setting in question. (Fullan, 1991,p. xii)The intent of this dissertation from the very beginning was to do just what Fullan(199 1) suggested above. I have attempted to integrate the more general knowledge ofeducational change with the detailed knowledge of the educational context of The Bahamas.Such a charge has led me to uncover the extremely complex nature of curriculum processesin this setting. Although the rhetoric of the policy documents I examined in chapter fourwas proclaimed by Bahamian policy makers up to the August general elections of 1992, thecontemporary practices that classroom contexts yield, as evidenced in this study, areinconsistent with the intended policies. Many factors have led to this divergence betweenpolicy and practice.The question of resource availability, specifically resources of an indigenousnature, was the most significant issue uncovered by this study. Both questionnaires (1985and 1991) and my field note and interview data indicated that classroom teachers felt thatthere was a scarcity of Bahamian materials for use in their daily practices. Even whenmaterials were available and supplied by the Ministry of Education or through schoolfunds, students had limited access to these materials. Additionally, the pressure thatclassroom teachers expressed about their having to purchase resources that they needed tofulfil their daily responsibilities complicated the question of resource availability evenfurther.The importance of a collaborative atmosphere between the ‘support arm’ of theMinistry of Education and classroom teachers, within the schools, between the179administration and classroom teachers, and among the members of the teaching professionis crucial. This study uncovered several problems related to this issue.First, it is a serious accusation that the Curriculum Section of the Ministry ofEducation is not adequately fulfiling its role as a support service. Yet, data collected forthis dissertation indicated that this was the situation. Currently, teachers do not perceivethis body as serving its intended support function. In addition, curriculum administratorsreported that there are too few trained support personnel. Finally, members within theCurriculum Section of the Ministry of Education revealed that its administrative staff isovertaxed with responsibilities that detract from efforts that could be devoted to curriculummatters.Second, there are few professional development opportunities for classroomteachers. The data of this dissertation indicated that classroom teachers do not perceive theopportunities currently available for them as adequate. This fmding is in direct oppositionto the intentions of policy makers as articulated in the educational documents that Iexamined in chapter four. Furthermore, if, as previous research has indicated (e.g.,Darling-Hammond, 1990; Fullan, 1991; Jennings-Wray, 1990; Rust & Dalin, 1990),educational structures do not encourage networking and interaction among teachers, theneed to make professional opportunities available is paramount. This is especially so ifteachers claim, as some do in my study and in other studies discussed earlier, that theylearn best from each other.Besides a functioning Curriculum Section/Division and professional developmentopportunities for teachers, a third component of the support network that the data of thisdissertation indicated was neglected is that of teacher input. In contrast to the 1982 rhetoricappealing to classroom teachers to submit their concerns regarding the curriculum, thefindings of this study indicated that either teachers felt that the Ministry of Educationbureaucracy did not view their concerns as legitimate, or that their concerns were notconsidered at all. Indeed, as I noted earlier in the dissertation, a Ministry of Education180official admitted that while they solicited such concerns, there was no formal machinery toaddress these concerns other than the standing curriculum committees established duringthe initial formulation period of the 1982 Curriculum Guides. Also, that not all schools areroutinely represented on these committees, and as a result not all classroom teachers haveaccess to these committees, is reason for concern.Furthermore, if the attitude of the former Minister of Education toward theimpending Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examination isany indication of the perception that policy makers have of the implementation of reform,the business of curriculum reform is not likely to improve until these perceptions change.Although The Bahamas and many other Third World countries have modified the complexplanning models of the 1960s and 1970s, and realized that planning takes place in a broadernetwork of social and political forces, the process itself has remained a centrist activity (seeAnderson, 1982).Unfortunately, while policy makers might view limitation and control through thecentralization of power as ideal, centralization has not translated into firmness oforganization, authority, or accountability. Murray’s (1979) analysis of another Caribbeannation, Jamaica, summarizes this dilemma:It is evident also that concern with the daily mechanics of the administrationoverbalances understanding of “content” — an observation which might justly bemade of similar institutions elsewhere. (By “content” is meant the goals, thefoundation, and the practice of education.) (p. 174)While the internal dynamics of each school context may vary, the fmdingspresented in this dissertation show that there are common factors that affect theimplementation of the intended curriculum in all schools of the study in similar ways.Foremost among these are the physical environment of the school, working hours ofteachers, streaming and non-streaming, examinations, instructional time and its allocation,and extracurricular activities. A fmal factor that must be noted, although only common toone school in my field study, is the team teaching and open classroom concept.181Assuming that the working conditions of teachers are as important as the teachingcompetencies that they possess, I explored how the various facets of the workingenvironment influenced the implementation of the intended curriculum. Although theresponses of the less qualified teachers to the questionnaire item that addressed this issueshowed that they were more critical than the more qualified teachers, the higher percentagesof both groups (70% and 62% respectively) indicated that they were dissatisfied with thephysical facilities. In addition, the condition of the school buildings and the playgroundareas was an issue that often surfaced during my discussions with classroom teachers. Inparticular, the situation at Eastern Primary School is one that raises serious questions aboutits continued viability. Even the teachers at Central Primary School expressed their concernabout the termite-ridden desks and floors that were in need of repair. The majorrepresentative body of the country’s teachers, the Bahamas Union of Teachers, has echoedthese concerns.The issue of working hours is one that is intertwined with the general workingconditions of teachers. It became evident through my interview and field note data thatclassroom teachers in The Bahamas are experiencing high levels of stress. The issue of thelesson plan books is one that is particularly contentious. More generally, the amount ofphysical and emotional energy that the teachers in the present study indicated that theMinistry of Education officials require of them may account for the cases of ‘bum out’ andhigh attrition rates that researchers have reported in many Third World counthes (Hurst &Rust, 1990). Such trends are bound to have negative effects upon the implementationprocess and business of curriculum reform generally.The practice of streaming or non-streaming is another internal dynamic of theschool setting that has implications for curriculum reform in The Bahamas. While the dataof the present study is limited in terms of allowing me to state definitively that one setting ismore advantageous than the other, the opinions of teachers with whom I spoke regardingwhich practice they prefer is clear. Except for one principal, all teachers with whom I182spoke preferred the academically-streamed setting. It would be advantageous if policymakers were to pursue the implications of this preference by classroom teachers.Certainly, it is not unreasonable to propose that if classroom teachers feel more comfortablein academically-streamed settings, then they are more likely to function better in thesesettings.In turn, however, the preference for the academically-streamed setting may serve toheighten the concern that many of teachers of the study expressed concerning the nature ofthe examination system. Specifically, it is the Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) thathas an impact upon the intended curriculum in ways that policy makers may not be fullyaware. The data of this study revealed that not only does this examination influence thecontent of the curriculum, but also what and how teachers teach, and even the structure ofsubjects within the curriculum.The examination system, both external and internal, plays a central role in thecurriculum reform business and even reaches beyond the immediate curriculumimplementation circle. That is, policy makers hold teachers accountable for theperformances of their students, and they are often evaluated by these performances, despitewhat some administrators and Ministry of Education officials may state. This practice ismade even more overt through the recent comment by the former Prime Minister of TheBahamas stating that, in the future, parents could evaluate how their children’s schools areperforming by scrutinizing the examination results of different schools that would bepublished each year. Additionally, the perceived close relationship between assessmentpractices and that of streaming practices is one that serves to add pressure to the alreadystressful lives of classroom teachers.The allocation and use of instructional time in schools of Third World nations suchas The Bahamas are crucial considerations. If the amount of time available for academicstudies is related to how much children learn in school, there is cause for concern when Ireview the interview and field note data of this study. Interruptions for non-academic183activities, inclement weather, morning assemblies, public and school holidays, and time forteachers to complete reports, marking and other administrative duties take up much of theinstructional time. In addition, many administrators and classroom teachers expressed agrowing concern that policy makers are adding too many subjects to the primary schooltimetable.The many non-academic interruptions and the continually expanding timetablecompounds the curriculum reform business. Many teachers and Ministry of Educationofficials with whom I spoke expressed their feeling that there was an increasing departurefrom literacy and numeracy which they felt were important foci for primary education. Inaddition, such a departure is in contrast to the initial intentions of the educational policydocuments that I discussed earlier in the dissertation. If these views reflect trends of thegeneral practices in the Bahamian educational system, then policy makers may want tore-examine the composition of primary school timetables.Besides the non-academic activities, the nature of the larger issue of extracurricularactivities is potentially problematic for the curriculum reform business. In two of schoolsin which I conducted field work, most classroom teachers voiced their opposition toextracurricular activities. The opposition centred around the time when these activities wereconducted. They are not conducted outside the regular school hours, but instead infringeupon the time allocated for the academic activities of the regular curriculum. Thisinfringement is a cause for concern not only for classroom teachers, but Ministry ofEducation officials with whom I spoke expressed similar views.Implications for the curriculum reform business when we consider the influence ofextracurricular activities upon teaching practices are noteworthy. In addition to divergencesfrom the intended purposes of extracurricular activities, as articulated in the Bahamianeducational documents, the issue of extracurricular activities is proding many Bahamianeducators to question the ‘balance between the social and academic spheres of thecurriculum.’184Despite the fact that team teaching is practiced in only four schools on the island ofNew Providence, these team teaching schools serve large numbers of students. Three ofthe four schools are Grade A schools, which means that they have a student population ofover 1,000. If, then, the data from Eastern Primary School are indicative of what happensin such settings, a re-examination of the practice of team teaching in the educational systemof The Bahamas might prove to be insightful. The basic problem areas for theimplementation of the intended curriculum in the team teaching setting include those of thephysical structure of the building, the organization of team teaching groups (teachers andstudents), resource shortages, and timetable complications.The similarity in the views of most of the classroom teachers, administrators, andMinistry of Education officials with whom I spoke concerning the perplexities of the teamteaching situation points to need for a closer examination of this practice. There has been adeparture from the original concept of team teaching in several ways. That is, while thebuilding and open classroom structures exist, there is insufficient support staff, resourcematerials, and the timetable flexibility that are all necessary for the intended educationalbenefits to be realized.Encompassing all these dilemmas of the school context is the subjective world,itself varied and multifaceted, of the classroom teacher. This subjective world of necessitygoes beyond the immediate classroom context and reaches into the personal realm. Themany tales and allusions to their personal lives that classroom teachers revealed to methrough our discussions support this assumption. That the personal experiences ofteachers have an impact upon their daily practices, serves to highlight the subsequentinfluence upon the implementation of curriculum reform. It points to the inter-relatednature of practice and policy as they affect each other. Teachers in my study revealed thatthey teach from what they know, and use practices that have worked for them in the past.They base their decisions to implement policies on much more than the fact that policy185makers pass down directives. Resource availability, support services, and the internaldynamics of the school setting influence their decision maldng.In addition, factors in the larger societal, local, national and international contextsare beginning to have an impact in ways that we may never have acknowledged. Manyclassroom teachers in my study expressed their concern about the way that the publicperceives them. The professional status of teachers has direct implications for howteachers view themselves and in turn is likely to affect their classroom practices. Manyteachers expressed the opinion that the morale of the teaching profession in The Bahamashas never been so low.The mental state and attitudes of teachers have obvious implications for cuniculumreform. Without improvements in this regard, it is unlikely that the implementation ofcuniculum reforms will improve. The experiences of The Bahamas resonate with those ofother Third World countries in this regard (e.g., Bude, 1982; Jennings-Wray, 1984b;Mshana, 1992). Such experiences point to the need to reflect upon, respect, and appreciatethe lived experiences of the classroom teacher.By integrating the more general knowledge of educational change with detailedknowledge of Bahamian politics, personalities, and the history of the Bahamian educationalsetting, the way ahead is challenging, but potentially promising. But, we must movebeyond rhetoric and good intentions. In the words of Fullan (1991), “the way ahead isthrough melding individual and institutional renewal. One cannot wait for the other. Bothmust be pursued simultaneously and aggressively... . We need to replace negativism andPollyanna-ish rhetoric with informed action” (p. 354). Armed with such insights, perhapswe can move beyond the rhetoric and on to action.186Policy implicationsThe curriculum reform business is one that involves not only a handful of policymakers, but classroom teachers, administrators, parents, students and the wider communityworking together in a collaborative atmosphere. If the school is to act as a viable changeagent in the Bahamian society, educational priorities need to be re-examined. Theimplications of the data presented in this dissertation are clear. Bahamian educationalpriorities must include a re-conceptualization of funding priorities, the production ofindigenous materials, a more collaborative support network for classroom teachers,channels for classroom teachers to voice their experiences and insights, and a considerationof the internal and external factors that have an impact upon the school context and itspractices.The question of the extent of the responsibility that the government in Third Worldnations such as The Bahamas should take regarding the educational systems is a timelyone. Discussions in the educational literature concerning the fmancing of education in thesecontexts have centred around privatisation, student loans, payment by results. Yet, theseare not without their drawbacks. For example, while private investment might be advancedas the solution, poorer families are likely to suffer. It is clear, however, that governmentsin nations like The Bahamas must seek to establish realistic goals regarding the number ofyears of education that they can provide for each child, and concentrate on putting itsfunding to the best use.In the light of this recommendation, while the traditional ‘textbook culture’ has itdrawbacks, textbooks, especially those indigenous in nature, must feature prominently inthe allocation of educational funds. Simultaneously, I do not wish to imply that we shouldnot pay attention to the affective side of learning, non-formal education, content bias intextbooks, coordination between curriculum development bodies, and the status of187teachers. Indeed, the fmdings presented in this dissertation point to the importance of thetwo last factors, coordination and status of teachers, in the implementation equation.The economics of the production of indigenous materials is one that has broadconsequences. Yet, if policy makers perceive the use of indigenous materials asworthwhile, then they ought to pave the way for the realization of indigenous publishinghouses. The establishment and support of indigenous publishing houses, whether in TheBahamas, or in the Caribbean Region, is a viable path to the production of indigenousmaterials.Focusing on the strengthening of the local resource base, not only in terms ofpersonnel, but also in terms of local materials could prove to be beneficial at national,regional, and international levels. This approach is part of what has become known asecodevelopment — “the umbrella concept for future growth [that] .. . must be fullyintegrated into national planning [which] . . . might be the only hope for peaceful andcomfortable survival of human population on small islands in the 21st century” (Bonnet &Towle, 1981). Ecodevelopment accepts the value of regional and international cooperationin formulating and implementing policies geared at reducing dependency, and implies aserious educational commitment and initiative, particularly by the political leaders.Resources are necessary if policy makers are to facilitate the job of curriculumimplementation. Simultaneously, we must be careful not to assume that once suchresources are available that teachers will uniformly follow policy directives. Still, thechances of teachers following the intentions of policy makers by incorporating indigenousmaterial in their lessons are more likely if such materials are available for their use.From an organizational perspective, it is possible that a restructuring of theLearning Resources Unit (LRU) might be beneficial. Although it is obvious that the foursections of the LRU are ultimately related to the curriculum, it is important that a separatebody responsible for the organization and administration of the curriculum function assuch. This body could maintain close liaisons with the other sections of the LRU, while188maintaining its own focus on services that enhance the success of curriculumimplementation, including those services that the LRU might provide. For example,professional development opportunities could be an outgrowth of the cooperativerelationship between the Curriculum Section/Division and the Learning Resources Unit.Researchers (e.g., Downey, 1988; Fullan, 1972; Harlen, 1977; House, 1980;Stem & Keislar, 1977) have documented the benefits to be gained through participation ofthose directly involved in the schools themselves, (including teachers, principals and theiradministrations and support staff parents through such bodies as Parent-TeacherAssociations, and the business sector through such bodies as Community Boards that mayexist already but lack the necessary impact on policy). Furthermore, the potential for suchinvolvement is almost limitless given the advantages of the comparatively small scale of theeducational system such as that of The Bahamas. There exists a situation of “closeproximity. . . between those administering the system, those teaching in it, and those whoare clients of it” (Brock & Smawfield, 1988, p. 232). Such accessibility could beharnessed as those involved can more readily share various needs and points of view, andthen act upon them.Additionally, the size of the country makes it easier for policy makers to observe theconsequences of policy decisions. The advantages to be gained by obtaining and acting onsuch immediate and reliable feedback once collected and evaluated is worth considering.Once policy makers secure the participation of teachers and clients, they can enhance andfacilitate implementation across the whole system. With this reasoning in mind, it wasencouraging to note that, in preparation for the August 1992 electoral race the Free NationalMovement proposed that they would create the environment necessary to establish adecentralised educational system, in which parents and teachers would have theresponsibility for governing schools at the local level. They stipulated in their educationalplatform that the Ministry of Education would be “ultimately responsible for setting andmaintaining national standards.... [but that] the FNM w[ould] put each school or group189of schools under the administration of a Board to include members elected from among theparents along with the principal and teachers” (“PLP government,” 1992). What remainsto be seen is whether such plans will become a reality.The power of the examination system, particularly the GLAT examination could beused in a positive way. However, it is important that we recognize from the onset that thesuccess and failure of students on a given examination is due to a combination of factorsthat may or may not be directly related to the classroom teacher’s practices. Thisrecognition at the fore, the power of the examination system could be harnessed in waysthat could enhance the implementation of the intended curriculum. The first and immediatestep would be to ensure that the content of the examination syllabi and the intendedcurriculum, and the resource materials for use in the classroom, are intimately related.The overarching challenge for policy makers remains one that is positioned towardsthe reversal of attitudes and philosophies regarding the nature of the curriculum, curriculumpolicy formulation, implementation and analysis. In the search for a balance between thedevelopment of an indigenous education system, and some measure of dependence onfinancial support and services provided by other countries, small nations like The Bahamasmust recognize those neocolonial links that hamper their national educational development,and failures that are of their own making. Many of the solutions rest not outside but withinthe former colonies themselves.DelimitationsThe connection between the micro and macro elements of a research picture is onethat, of necessity, must become focal. The present study has placed the primary focus onthe classroom teacher, one of micro components in the educational change process. WhileI did make attempts to explore views, experiences and attitudes of Ministry of Educationofficials and administrators, this exploration is limited in comparison to that of the190classroom teacher. In addition, I have neglected to examine the experiences and views ofstudents, parents and the larger community. Yet, this is not to suggest that these actors arenot important, but instead that the classroom teacher is a starting point as she is moreintegrally involved in the on-going process of implementation.Finally, this study is restricted to an examination of fifth and sixth grade classroomsin the public system on the island of New Providence. I did not attempt to investigate theprivate school system, nor the classrooms in the Family Islands of The Bahamas. Thefollowing section offers general and specific suggestions for future research that addressthe issues, contexts, and questions that the present study did not pursue.Suggestions for future researchThe exploratory nature of this study has resulted in the uncovering of severalaspects of the curriculum reform process in the primary educational system of TheBahamas. Many obstacles to greater implementation success surround the issues ofresources, the support network, and the decision making process. By examining theseareas more thoroughly, we could better understand the reason for the gap between therhetoric of policy documents and the practice of classroom teachers.An analysis of governmental policies regarding textbook selection, purchasing andproduction is an obvious starting point. Views that classroom teachers and Ministry ofEducation officials expressed in the present study revealed a certain degree of ambivalenceconcerning this issue. Yet, the data of this study highlighted the importance of theinclusion of indigenous materials if the implementation of the intended curriculum is to besuccessful.The issue of the support network is two-fold and includes not only daily supportservices, but also long range professional development opportunities. Therefore, anexamination of the Learning Resources Unit (LRU), including the Curriculum Section,191would provide planners with information about what they can do to improve teachersupport services and professional development opportunities. The findings of the presentstudy point to the immediacy of this kind of study that seeks to uncover the currentphilosophy of policy makers about the function of the LRU, and more specifically, aCurriculum Section. Tn fact, the general attitude of policy makers, especially those in topmanagement positions, towards teachers should be tied into this investigation as it couldreveal much about how they perceive curriculum reform.In addition, the importance of reviewing teacher education programmes and theirconsonance with primary school curriculum is particularly relevant. The nature of therelationship between the Teacher Education Department of The College of The Bahamas,the Ministry of Education Curriculum Section, and classroom teachers in the system, is onethat should be explored. The continued success of curriculum reform depends on the verynature of this relationship (see Mshana, 1992).A study that focuses on the complex issues of gender, class, and ethnicity is alsoimportant. The need to address the impact of gender upon a predominantly female teachingpopulation is obvious. In addition, the growing Haitian immigrant population in TheBahamas highlights the issues of class and ethnicity that are becoming more evident, notonly in the educational system, but the Bahamian society generally.In summary, as far as curriculum reform is concerned, future Third World researchshould serve the purpose of investigating reasons for the successes and failures ofinnovations. It should serve to extend insights gained through research and offerpossibilities of alternate approaches. Policy makers in the Third World have not fullyappreciated the value of monitoring innovations. As Murray (1979) has written of theexperiences in these contexts:Modular planning is weak in a great many [Third World] countries, and so ayawning gap remains between promise and fulfilment. Evaluation is too frequentlyregarded as a luxury... . Justification for a particular choice of action is usuallymerely intuitive, rarely ever empirical. Management rarely ever demonstrates the192logical rightness of any of its actions. Claims are asserted; action taken; andposterity looks back upon errors in resignation. (p. 178)The process of change is not without its pitfalls. The business of curriculumreform, in particular, is one that often involves changes in attitudes and practices. The needfor planned and systematic approaches to facilitate change involves the cooperative talentsof educational planners, classroom teachers, students, administrators, and the widercommunity. Policy makers in Third World nations such as The Bahamas ought to sharethe decision making process with those who are intimately affected, or they will witnessfew instances of success. Rather than protecting or seeking to enhance political position,policy makers must demonstrate a commitment to change and shatter the myth that ahierarchy exists among the participants in the implementation process. Finally, thereshould be monitoring, and public acknowledgment of both the successes and failures ofreform. The reform path is beyond rhetoric and toward action.193BibliographyAbbott, Janet S., & David W. Wells (1985) . Mathematics Today. Orlando: HarcourtBrace Jovanovich, Publishers.Adams, R. S. & Chen, D. (Eds.). (1981) . The process of educational innovation: Aninternational perspective. 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