Understanding the Ecologies of Education Reforms: Comparing the Perceptions of
Secondary Teachers and Students in Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago
This mixed methods study examines how secondary school teachers have implemented educational reforms in Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. The major sources of data were surveys for sample teachers and students in sixteen to twenty schools in each country. Teacher and student surveys asked questions on how often a teaching or evaluation strategy was used in a given course. Teachers were also asked to describe the major changes in secondary education in their respective countries. Classroom observations were made in three sample schools in each country to triangulate results from the survey data. In addition, results from open-ended questions were also used for triangulation. The mixed methods approach was selected as this approach lends itself to stronger explanations of a phenomenon and adds to the reliability and validity of the study. The study concluded that although some teachers struggled with transitioning, most were able to make the necessary changes to adopt the majority of the reforms. Even though teacher-directed lessons still dominated, student-centred learnings were incorporated. Tests, classwork, homework, exams and performance tasks were used for student evaluations. However, classroom management and integration of technology need increased attention due to the new challenges of transitioning. More resources and in-service professional development are needed. Policymakers and educators in all jurisdictions can learn from the reform efforts in the Caribbean.