The construction of their syllabus has been guided by a particular view of the nature of history as a discipline and of the educational needs of students.
History as a discipline has three aspects – its content, its organising principles and its methods of enquiry. The substantive content of Caribbean History is the activities of the peoples of the islands from the Bahamas to Trinidad as well as those of the peoples of Belize and the Guianas, from the coming of the Indigenous Americans to the present.
There is no attempt in the syllabus to promote one organising principle or interpretation of Caribbean History. While a thematic arrangement has been imposed on the course of Caribbean History, the content within each theme has been stated in such a way as to permit exploration of a variety of organising principles. Nevertheless, the selection of themes and their content has been informed by a desire to promote a distinctly Caribbean perspective.
The thematic approach has been adopted because it lends itself to detailed treatment of the type that allows the student to practice the various skills of the historian. However, by grouping themes and by requiring students to study an overview, the syllabus seeks to maintain chronology as an important aspect of the study of history.
The methods of studying history, the remaining aspect of the discipline, have determined the aims and objectives stated in the syllabus. In the course of their work, historians raise questions, formulate hypotheses, gather evidence from a variety of sources, collate and interpret information, make judgements, draw conclusions and report their findings. The student activities implied by the aims and objectives of the syllabus are directly related to the procedures used by the historians in the study of their discipline.
This syllabus is based on the principle that the learning encounter will be more meaningful and productive if the methods and levels of enquiry are suited to the abilities and interests of the learner.
Thus, the objectives of the syllabus were derived from considerations of the nature of history as well as from the perceived needs and interests of students within the Caribbean community.. These objectives have informed the evaluation procedures and have the further attribute of suggesting a variety of appropriate teaching approaches; project work, individual enquiry and research; creative representations; ands such traditional techniques that have helped develop historical understanding in students. This variety of appropriate teaching approaches has the advantage for individual differences among students.