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Teachers' Experiences of Implementing a new National Curriculum in Primary Schools, Trinidad and Tobago

Managing Curriculum and Policy Issues

Author Information:

Ann Eva Bahadoorsingh
School of Education, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
Ms. Shahiba Ali
School of Education, UWI, St Augustine


curriculum change, curriculum implementation, primary curriculum rewrite, phenomenology, Fullan?s model of change

Presentation Information:

Presentation #: 3
Date: 3rd June, 2015
Time: 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Location: KHAIROON EAST (Room 1)


A new primary school curriculum, the Primary Curriculum Rewrite (PCR) was implemented by the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago in 2013. From the perspective of a principal, teachers in a school do not seem to be implementing the curriculum as designed. This research examines teachers? experiences of a curriculum change using the interpretivist lens of phenomenology. ?Purposive sampling of four teachers, three females and one male was selected for this study at one primary school in the southern education district of Trinidad. ?Data was collected over a six month period through semi-structured focus group interviews, field notes, observations and document analysis to facilitate triangulation of data. Analysis was guided by Fullan?s (2001) model of change using the inductive content analysis method which entailed the abstraction process of open coding, creating categories and themes. The results of the analysis were communicated in a rich thick narrative format. The major findings of this study revealed that teachers are struggling with curriculum content and resisting implementation as a result of inadequate training and resources. Low self-efficacy was evident in expressions of feelings of anxiety, incompetence, disequilibrium, stress and self-doubt. Recommendations for implementing the PCR are the need for strategies to close the gap between initiation and implementation with emphasis on building teacher capacity through modelling, mentoring, in-service training and relevant professional development activities, and for further research on curriculum implementation.