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Teachers' experiences of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) found in the life sciences curriculum : a case study of life sciences teachers at a high school in the Pinetown District.

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A number of curriculum reforms which attracted much criticism in post apartheid South Africa have resulted in the curriculum currently adopted. Curriculum changes bring forward issues concerned with the achievement in the attained curriculum of the vision of the intended curriculum through its implementation as forms of curriculum are experienced differently at various levels, largely making teachers responsible for the implementation of the intended curriculum. This qualitative case study of three Life Sciences teachers within the interpretive paradigm aims to explore teachers’ experiences of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) found in the Life Sciences curriculum at a high school in South Africa. This exploration of these experiences is done with the utilisation of a conceptual framework namely, the curricular spider web which identifies what these experiences are, which incorporates the classroom practice of the teachers. In exploring teachers’ experiences the study identifies the attitudes of the teachers’ towards IKS and the influence of these experiences which involves their attitudes on their classroom practice. Purposive and convienance sampling was used in selecting the three teachers who participated in this study. Data was generated from the participants using questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and document analysis in the form of the analysis of teacher lesson plans which were analysed using guided analysis. Findings show that the teachers have above adequate understandings of relevant concepts related to the teaching of Life Sciences, these being the Nature of Science (NOS) and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), which manifests in them having positive attitudes towards IKS which however, does not translate well in their classroom practice. As further findings show that there is a misalignment between the intended curriculum and attained curriculum. A misalignment which is a result of poor implementation of the curriculum by the teachers due to various reasons which includes a lack of understanding of components found within the curricular spider web.


Masters of Education in Curriculum Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Edgewood 2015.


Ethnoscience -- Education -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Life sciences -- Curricula -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Life sciences -- Study and teaching -- South Africa -- KwaZulu-Natal., Theses -- Education., Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS)