Vol. 5 No. 2 (1995)

Social Participation as a Major Goal in Social Studies: Towards Authentic Instruction and Learning in Caribbean Schools

Anthony Griffith
The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill


  • Social Studies Education,
  • Educational Goals,
  • Social Studies,
  • Caribbean


Although the major goals of Social Studies have been clearly articulated in the literature over the years, the teaching, as well as evaluation in the subject area in Caribbean schools, still exhibit a tendency to focus rather heavily on the cognitive aspects of learning. There is a view, however, that the classroom needs to be perceived as a social arena for students to engage in social criticism, and in authentic and critical reflection on public issues, in order that they may acquire deep understandings of their society through real-life experiences. Within the Social Studies curriculum, this approach reflects the goal, and process, of social participation. This goal, it is argued, can be achieved by viewing social participation as being operative at different levels. This paper examines the extent to which the Social Studies curriculum in Caribbean schools can focus more tightly on social participation as a major goal of Social Studies instruction by engaging students in learing at three sequential levels: knowledge acquisition, active social participation, and reflective social participation, each subsumed under the next higher level.