The Sixth Form Geography Project, Jamaica

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1981

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This study reports on an attempt to involve Jamaican teachers in the development of curriculum materials for the teaching of geography at the sixth form level. It was an attempt to replicate, in a modified form, a model for developing material through the work of practising teachers used in Britain in the Schools' Council 'Geography 16-19' Project. The active phase of the project spanned the period April 1979 to June 1980, during which time six teacher consortia were established, each to produce a curriculum unit on a topic in the sixth form syllabus, which would be developed through Jamaican or Caribbean examples. Possible explanations are advanced for the failure of the consortia to produce these curriculum units. It is postulated that the initiator of the project may have made a number of tactical and strategic errors in implementation, and was hampered by the constraints of an unfunded and unsupported project. The teachers, on the other hand, did not appear to view curriculum development as part of their professional functions and may, in consequence, have given low priority to such work. Despite the failure of the project to achieve its main goal, some compensations are identified: 1) the research made a group of teachers aware of the need for curriculum reform and involved them in aspects of the process; and 2) curriculum units were prepared as exemplars, which made possible some tentative comments on the relative efficacy of a centre-periphery mode in comparison to the teacher-based strategy on which the research focused

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