|An Analysis of Primary Teacher Education in Trinidad and Tobago: The MUSTER Project (CIE, 2002, 156 p.)|
|Chapter 4. The Curriculum - Documented and Espoused|
|4.3 Detailed Analysis of the Core Courses|
Unfortunately, only the coordinator of the Language Arts programme from one of the colleges was interviewed.
The coordinator indicated that the lecturers use the syllabus as a guide, but that they make their own plan of how they would teach the course. Each lecturer is free to plan for their delivery of the Language Arts curriculum in their own way.
Although the coordinator indicated that the syllabus is very comprehensive, some ambiguous feelings about the syllabus seemed to emerge in the discussion concerning the whole language or integrated approach to language versus the traditional approach of breaking up the teaching into parts, for example, grammar, spelling, and so on. All of these aspects are touched on in the syllabus, but there seems to be some uncertainty as to how to incorporate these contrasting approaches, and how to get this across to the student teachers.
The coordinator noted that there was a mismatch between the primary school syllabus and the teachers' college syllabus. In her view, the teachers' college syllabus had evolved whereas the primary school syllabus had not. It should be noted, though, that there is a new thrust toward using a more integrated approach to language teaching in the primary schools, motivated largely by a new Primary Language Arts curriculum which was recently developed, and which is now being implemented.
The old concern about time arose as the coordinator indicated that there is a great deal of detail in the syllabus and major limits in the time allotted to the subject.
Commentary on the Language Arts curriculum
The question of how to deal with the tensions between two opposing philosophies of language teaching appears not to have been reconciled, either in the Language Education document or in the minds of college lecturers. This is an issue that remains unresolved at all levels of the academic community. Part of the problem lies in the different understandings that exist about the nature of the special opportunities and challenges that learning English presents to speakers of English Lexicon Creoles. This may account, in part, for the uncertainty experienced by lecturers in deciding how to organise the content of the college curriculum for delivery.