The ever-changing needs of society justify the necessity for teachers to engage in continuous learning. Teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development activities that will help them develop the knowledge and skills that are required to meet the needs of a 21st century society.
Stakeholder involvement in curriculum reform is one component of decentralization in the education system. Decentralization manifests itself in various forms, but the general notion is that it refers to the transfer or sharing of authority, responsibilities and resources from centralized bureaucratic systems to involve smaller administrative units (Stewart & Davis-Morrison, 2002).
A growing body of research exists on preservice teachers' experiences in reading methodology courses in North America (e.g., Allen and Piersma 1995; Hayden 1993/94). However, their counterparts in the Caribbean in general and Jamaica in particular have not enjoyed similar attention. Lack of local investment in research may be because children of wealthy Jamaicans usually attend the more prestigious private schools, generally from kindergarten through grade 12, then resort to countries of the North for their higher education (Goulbourne 1988.