Volume 9 (2002)
Managing a Paradigm Shift in Language Arts Pedagogy: A Case Study of Effective Literacy Practice
The language arts syllabus of Trinidad and Tobago was revised in 1999 to incorporate the latest thinking in literacy practice. Consequently, primary teachers must adopt pedagogies that recognize the holistic, integrated nature of language learning. However, there is still great fragmentation in the teaching of the language arts, despite the syllabus writers' recommendations for integrated teaching. This has resulted in dissonance between the objectives of the revised syllabus on the one hand, and their implementation on the other. This paper presents a case study of one teacher whose pedagogical practices were consonant with what the literature describes as effective literacy practice. Principally, the data that were collected revealed that the teacher's effectiveness derived from: (a) her provision of affective motivation for student to engage in literacy activities, through the use of interesting themes; (b) her use of skill-building in specific areas of the syllabus, such as process writing; (c) her organization of her classroom for literacy immersion; (d) her use of an integrated holistic approach to instruction; (e) the provision and use of varied resources; and (f) her creativity. The paper argues that primary teachers in Trinidad and Tobago can successfully manage the paradigm shift in language education brought about by the revision of the language arts syllabus, if they adopt the elements of effective practice.
Keywords: The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine; Language Arts; Primary School Teachers; Literacy Methods; Trinidad and Tobago