Volume 18 (2011)
What are Upper Secondary School Students Saying about History?
This study sought to examine students' thinking about history to determine the extent to which their perceptions coincided with widely held views on the subject. The study employed a mixed-method research design aimed at triangulating quantitative and qualitative data obtained from questionnaires and focus group interviews. Four hundred and fifteen participants were randomly drawn from selected secondary schools in Tobago and the east/west corridor of Trinidad. Findings of the study revealed that while students largely rejected the notion that history is boring and irrelevant to contemporary life, many of them were still reluctant to pursue the subject further at the tertiary level. This apparent reluctance seems to be influenced by the perception that history becomes increasingly cumbersome and details-laden as one advances in study. Perhaps this perception could be adjusted if students were introduced to history differently at an earlier period. This study, therefore, has implications for curriculum policy and practice regarding the appropriate time history should be introduced as a subject in the school curriculum.
Keywords: Secondary School Students; Student Attitudes; History Education; Trinidad and Tobago