Volume 9 (2002)
Mass Media and the Diffusion of Curriculum Innovations
It is imperative that curriculum planners understand how the mass media operate when they are used to disseminate information about innovations. Three press reports of a proposed curriculum innovation, the introduction of the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), were subjected to critical discourse analysis, within a framework proposed by Fairclough (1992). The study, which focused on intertextuality in the reports, sought to understand how meanings were constructed about the examination, and about the identities and relationships of participants involved in discussions about the examinations. The study also sought to identify ideological perspectives reflected in the reports. It was found that these reports of the public discussions minimized unequal relations of power and conflicting ideologies in the education system, and represented the educational community as united in its rejection of the examination. The findings suggest that strategies for diffusion of curriculum innovations should acknowledge that while the print media constitute effective channels for communicating information, in constructing their representations of reality they may also help to create resistance to change.
Keywords: Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations; Adoption of Innovations; Curriculum Development; Secondary School Curriculum; Mass Media; Trinidad and Tobago