Teachers' interpretation and implementation of the policy on indigenous knowledge in the science national curriculum statement.
Naidoo, Premella Devie.
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In the new National Curriculum Statement in South Africa, there has been a strong drive towards recognizing and affirming the critical role of indigenous knowledge (IK), especially with respect to science and technology education. The Natural Sciences, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences curricula statements form the basis of this research. This study strove to establish how science teachers responded to the inclusion of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in their science classrooms. My study began with 23 science teachers who completed a university module ―Issues in Science Education, which included an IKS component. The study investigated firstly, what currently informed teachers‘ thinking, knowledge and action of IKS. Secondly, the research questioned how teachers interpreted and implemented IKS in the science classroom. A sample of three teachers were followed into their classrooms to investigate how they specifically implemented Learning Outcome Three related to IK in the Science Curricula Statements, and what approaches pertinent to the inclusion of IK were developed. That is, the study explored how shifts were being made from a theoretical phase at the university where teachers engaged IK to an actual phase of implementation in their school science classrooms. Finally I attempt to explain why the teachers interpreted and implemented IK in the way they did. Production of data took place from 2006 to 2007, and used surveys, telephonic interviews, written assignments, face-to face interviews, classroom observations and reflective interviews. The three case studies involved three science teachers at three secondary schools in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The study found that the three teachers used three very different approaches through which IKS was brought in the science curriculum: an incorporationist approach, that brings IKS into science by seeking how ―best IKS fits into science; a separatist approach that holds IKS ―side-by-side with scientific knowledge; and an integrationist approach that ―links and makes ―connections between IKS and science. The approaches developed by the teachers were found to be informed by their biographies, values, cultural backgrounds and worldviews.