Crossing worldviews in the Life Sciences classroom: A case of indigenous teachers and learners in South Africa
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This thesis explores the extent to which a difference in worldviews between the Life Sciences curriculum, and indigenous Xhosa and Sotho teachers and learners, cause problems in teaching and learning. The thesis is guided by three research questions (RQ). RQ1 explores the extent to which the Life Sciences CAPS curriculum and textbook include concepts of “indigenous knowledge systems” and “worldviews”. RQ2 explores the extent to which the Xhosa and Sotho teachers and learners’ worldviews match the worldview in the Life Sciences CAPS curriculum and textbook. RQ3 explores the extent to which the crossing of epistemological borders causes problems in teaching and learning Life Sciences. The theoretical framework that guides the thesis is seen from two perspectives: a) understanding the relationship between indigenous and Western knowledge systems through a historical lens of colonialism and modernization, and, b) understanding the crossing of epistemological borders through the theories of “cognitive border-crossing” and “collateral learning”. A documentary analysis, two focus group interviews with Grade 10 and Grade 11 Life Sciences learners, and two individual interviews with two Life Sciences teachers generated the findings. The findings suggest that there is an epistemological wall between the worldview of Life Sciences curriculum and textbook, and the indigenous worldviews of the teachers and learners. The epistemological wall is based on the exclusion of the spiritual and holistic worldviews of the participants through which they interpret natural phenomena, as well as the general marginalization of indigenous knowledge systems in Life Sciences. A transformation of the Life Sciences curriculum is called for where teachers and learners’ holistic identities are accommodated at the same time they learn the value of indigenous and Western knowledge systems in science.
Master i flerkulturell og internasjonal utdanning