Creating a constructivist learning environment: The challenge of Jamaica's Revised Primary Curriculum



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School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine


For two decades, Jamaican primary school children were exposed to a curriculum which, though conceived as integrated in its approach to teaching, in actuality was more discipline-based, accentuated by the use of didactic pedagogical strategies in its delivery. In re-engineering this curriculum, a child-centred, integrated holistic curriculum was adopted at the lower primary level, with a more subject-based approach at the upper levels. A constructivist pedagogical approach was adopted. The changes expected in the learning environment included a change in the role of the teacher, the use of questioning techniques that stimulated higher-order thinking in the children, a more activity-oriented environment in which children were frequently engaged in collaborative learning, and changes in the mode of assessment. The revised curriculum was implemented in schools in 2001. This paper explores the extent to which such changes are evident in the classrooms of Grades 1-3 in selected primary schools. It pinpoints challenges such as resources, contextual factors, and examinations, which some teachers can overcome to ignite a passion for learning in their pupils


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Primary education, Primary school curriculum, Curriculum development, Constructivism, Classroom environment, Jamaica


Jennings, Z. (2008). Creating a constructivist learning environment: The challenge of Jamaica's Revised Primary Curriculum. In L. Quamina-Aiyejina (Ed.), Reconceptualising the agenda for education in the Caribbean: Proceedings of the 2007 Biennial Cross-Campus Conference in Education, April 23-26, 2007, School of Education, UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago (pp. 231-240). St. Augustine, Trinidad: School of Education, UWI.