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Caribbean Journal of Education

Inquiry and Participatory Action Research in Primary School

Publication Date: 
March 2021

In Jamaica, learner-centered instruction is commended for teaching a curriculum focused on environmental education and sustainable development. This study investigated the potential of participatory action research (PAR) as an inquiry-based instructional method in a sixth-grade Jamaican classroom. Mixed methods compared the academic performance of students between teacher-led and PAR-driven groups, and analyzed key attributes of sustainable development. Though practicing PAR had no significant effect on students’ academic performance, perceived collaboration skills, and interest in science, participants displayed leadership skills, such as self-confidence, commitment, and teambuilding. Moreover, the inquiry group conducted cross-curricular research towards place-based environmental improvement. These assets correspond to the Jamaican educational objective of integrating multiple disciplines and stakeholders in the equation for a sustainable future and warrant a further evaluation of PAR in Jamaican schools. 

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