A study of the institutionalization of an innovation: The use of self-instructional materials in PROJECT PRIMER

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This study sought to: (a) determine the level of use (LoU) of Language Arts self-instructional materials (SIM) in Grades 4 and 5 of the Project Primer schools in Jamaica; (b) determine the extent to which use of SIM was institutionalized a year after the project had officially ended; (c) identify factors that contributed to the LoU; and (d) identify the extent of institutionalization of the innovations. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect data from a sample of teachers (7), principals (7), and project staff (10) in five all-age schools situated in South Manchester, Jamaica. It was found that: 1) teachers generally did not display technical mastery of use of SIM, and did not use SIM as intended by the developers of the project; and 2) use of SIM was not institutionalized in the schools. Some of the causes identified were: (a) the change strategies employed by PRIMER were based on wrong assumptions about the schools, teachers, and principals involved; (b) failure of the innovators to recognize and address the real concerns of the users as they tried to implement the new ideas; and (c) lack of commitment to the project ideas by administrators, and lack of funds to carry on after the project officially ended


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