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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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


This study examined the ‘intended’ curriculum and the processes of its translation into classroom practices. The ‘intended’ curriculum is the rhetoric incorporated in state documents of the independence era in The Bahamas. These state documents included three key general educational policy documents in which policy makers presented persuasive arguments and strategies for the nation’s development, and the curriculum guides based on these earlier policy documents. Since these documents represent the educational intentions and objectives of the nation, it was assumed that an examination of their rhetoric would produce a portrait of the government’s ‘independence plan.’ However, because one cannot assume that rhetoric is translated into practice, this study also examined the extent to which teachers in the Bahamian Primary School System have translated this ‘independence plan’ into their contemporary practices. The methods of investigation included documentary analysis, participant observation, informal interviews with classroom teachers and other Ministry of Education officials, and a teacher questionnaire. The documentary analysis revealed a continuity of themes ran throughout the major educational documents. Foremost among these themes were the move toward the Bahamianisation of the educational system, the production of indigenous materials, the recognition of the classroom teacher as central in the reform process, and the importance of communication between policy makers and teachers. Field investigations revealed a divergency between the rhetoric of the educational policy documents and the practices within the contemporary educational context. The study identified five major factors that influence the success of the curriculum implementation process. These factors include resources, support services, the internal dynamics of the school context, assessment practices, and the personal backgrounds and professional experiences of teachers. The evidence reported in the study pointed to several components that would enhance success in the implementation of the intended curriculum. The question of resource availability, specifically resources of an indigenous nature, was the most significant issue uncovered by this study. In addition, the need for a more collaborative support network for teachers was evident. Finally, the study highlighted the importance of two components that are directly related to the formulation of policy. These include the need for policy makers to use teacher experience and insight, and be more cognizant of the factors that have an impact, both internally and externally, upon the school context.

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