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Journal of Education and Development in the Caribbean

Finding the Culture Space in the Classroom in Trinidad and Tobago since Independence

Publication Date: 
December 2010

Recent comments that the school curriculum of Trinidad and Tobago is “culturally irrelevant” prompted this research project. The research was undertaken through a series of focus group discussions with community artists, curriculum officers and public figures interested in education, to explore the following issues:
1. a definition of and justification for the concept of ‘cultural relevance’
2. evidence of its existence or lack of existence in the current school curriculum
3. how it could be promoted in the curriculum and the associated challenges. These conversations revealed the similarities and differences in stakeholders’ perspectives, from issues of content to qualms about pedagogy, and suggestions of actions to promote ‘cultural relevance’. Despite the diversity in opinion, all agreed that culture could and should be used to increase student interest in the schooling process and to encourage student performance and achievement.

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