The teaching of literature in the primary school: Teachers' perceptions and practice

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This study examines the teaching of literature in public primary schools of Port of Spain and Environs, Trinidad, with respect to teachers' views on how literature should be taught and actual practice, up to the close of the 1989/90 school year. The focus is on teachers' orientation to the student's literary development from Level 1 to 2 in primary education, represented by Standards 1 and 3, in accord with the Primary School Syllabus 1988. Data were gathered from 70 teachers in 36 schools, using a survey questionnaire and observation schedule. Findings revealed little articulation between teachers' views on how literature should be taught and what obtained. Although teachers felt that their teaching should be based on a clear rationale, this was lacking. Their objectives were not supported by a network of adequate training, guidance, supervision, and materials. Five of their objectives, including their most important one--to improve the student's skills in reading and writing--were not being satisfactorily attained. Teachers felt that the teaching of literature should be central to the child's entire primary education, but it seemed constrained to the periphery and appeared to be minimally taught


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