Vol. 15 (2008)

Addressing Social Participation As a Major Goal in Social Studies: A Case Study of a Fifth-Form Group Pursuing the CXC/CSEC Social Studies Programme in a Barbadian School

Anthony D. Griffith
The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill
Sonia St. Hill
Lodge School


  • Secondary School Students,
  • Social Studies Education,
  • CXC Examinations,
  • Participation,
  • Student Attitudes,
  • Teaching Methods,
  • Case Studies,
  • Barbados
  • ...More


This paper, in the form of an exploratory case study of a select group of fifth-form students, employs triangulation techniques to (a) examine the extent to which the Caribbean Examinations Council's Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) programme addresses social participation, and (b) explore the students' responses to opportunities to engage in active involvement in the social issues and affairs of their community. The findings revealed that, at the school involved, social participation is one of the goals least emphasized during the teaching of social studies. There is also a general heavy emphasis on traditional modes of instruction such as reading and notetaking. After the use of more participatory activities introduced during the unit, there were some noticeable behavioural and attitudinal changes among the participating students. The students themselves also expressed a preference for more active learning tasks and for activities that directly involve them in examining social issues in their own local community. The findings of the study could have implications for addressing what is perceived as varying levels of alienation and social disaffection among Barbadian and Caribbean youth.