Special Schools and the Search for Social Justice in Trinidad and Tobago

Dennis A. Conrad, Nicole Paul, Margaret Bruce, Suzanne Charles, Kirk Felix


This study shares the perspectives and experiences of members of staff from two established special education institutions in Trinidad and Tobago on the issue of how they are responding to national calls for inclusive educaton. Methodology within the case study tradition included narrative analysis of responses to open-ended questions, observations, document analysis, and the critical experiences of the co-researchers. Findings reveal resilience as one characteristic displayed by the staff of special schools in addressing inclusive education. There is also a concern about whether social justice is possible with an inherited elitism. Staff identified challenges, which include building and sustaining collaborative relationships, resourcing and utilizing technology for education, culturally responsive teaching, early identification and intervention, and teacher preparation. Recommendations for moving forward include more local and Caribbean-wide practices that address culturally responsive curricula, action research-based interventions, a continuum of professional development systems targeting teacher dispositions, and public mobilization regarding the role of education in social justice.


Special Education Teachers; Teacher Attitudes; Inclusive Education; Cascade School for the Deaf; Wharton-Patrick Special School; Trinidad and Tobago

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