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The teaching of Spanish as a Modern Foreign Language in Trinidad: A case study of the Spanish Initiative Implementation in the Primary Classroom

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posted on 2016-05-19, 15:07 authored by Desrian Wilson
The focus on human capital development in the republic of Trinidad and Tobago may be viewed as an instrumental economic imperative. This government position has brought with it changes to the educational landscape of the local primary school. Recognition of the impetus for improved trade within the region has brought with it a new curricular focus, that of a modern foreign language at the level of the primary school. It is generally noted that policies are often imported and implemented in the local context without an evaluation of their efficacy. This study thus considers the issue of the implementation of Spanish at the primary school level in a quest to describe the perspectives and experiences of educational stakeholders locally. The research questions that directed this study were 1) How is Spanish taught at the primary level in Trinidad? 2) What are the factors that impact on the initiative's implementation? 3) How do teachers, principals and curriculum officers perceive the introduction of the primary Spanish initiative? 4) How do teachers and principals describe their experiences of implementing the primary Spanish initiative? and 5)What are the students' perspectives on learning Spanish at the primary level? Given the study‘s overarching aim to determine how Spanish is delivered in Trinidadian primary schools, the research concentrated on the teaching-learning process as it was conceptualized and implemented by generalist primary school teachers. The study‘s objectives and research questions required a qualitative-dominant methodology within an interpretivist paradigm. A multiple case study was undertaken at two primary schools within the southern region of Trinidad. Data were collected through pre-observation and video-stimulated recall interviews with teachers, structured classroom observations, focus group interviews with students, interviews with principals and curriculum officers and a school questionnaire. The findings point to the critical success factors of available, qualified teachers, administrative support, resource readiness and clear policy direction as variables that impact on the initiative‘s successful implementation. On the other hand, the learners‘ infectious enthusiasm for the language heralds the opportunities that can be grasped from a successful, sustainable initiative.



Cajkler, Wasyl; Smith, Joan

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Author affiliation

School of Education

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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