Beads and beadwork as cultural artifacts used in mediating learners’ agentic constructs in science classrooms: a case for place-based learning
- 18 Downloads
This paper explores the ways learners respond to and express themselves while interacting with cultural artifacts or cultural realia, beads and beadwork, used to mediate the teaching and learning of life science concepts in a science classroom. South African policies, enacted in the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), mandate that a culturally responsive pedagogy be used to teach indigenous learners in order to assist them in learning science concepts. Hence, the choice of beads and beadwork, which are cultural artifacts found in learners lived world as realia, creating an enabling context accessible to teachers and learners. This study was conducted in periurban Black township schools near a metropolitan city in South Africa. In order to achieve a thick description (Geertz in The interpretation of cultures, Basic Books Publishers, New York, 1973) of class interactions between the teacher and her learners in using cultural artifacts, beads and beadwork, as instructional models to mediate the teaching and learning of abstract structures of organic compounds, such as glucose, fructose, lipids and proteins, were enacted and video-recorded. Video analysis of class interactions and teachers’ professional development was employed. We also engaged open-ended questionnaires to extract learners’ basic views of the use of beads and beadwork as instructional models. Findings indicated that the use of beads and beadwork as instructional models afforded learners a context that enabled them to express and expand their cognitive constructs of what learning science from cultural perspectives looks and feels like. It also showed that learners’ capitals, namely cultural, social and symbolic capitals, enhance the development of cognitive capital leading to the emergence of more knowledgeable other(s) within indigenous science classrooms. Findings also showed that cultural artifacts enabled the restructuring of the teachers’ pedagogical practices toward enhancing learner’s know-how of science concepts in the classroom. Recommendations necessitate the use of cultural artifacts or cultural realia as culturally related instructional models—CRIMs—to teach and learn abstract science concepts. This approach tends to bring science closer to the indigenous learners’ consciousness, thereby enabling more familiarity with concrete or abstract science concepts. Eventually, the goal of helping learners to learn science concepts effectively stems from the standpoint of learners being active rather than being passive participants in the teaching and learning process.
KeywordsPlace-based learning Cultural artifacts/realia Positive emotional energy Expanded constructs Contextualized classroom interactions
- Baltzer, S. (2013). Kids’ room color wisdom: How colors affect behavior. Retrieved from https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/16866284/list/kids-room-color-wisdom-how-colors-affect-behavior. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
- Barnhardt, R. (2013). Indigenous education renewal in rural Alaska. In J. Reyhner, J. Martin, L. Lockard, & W. S. Gilbert (Eds.), Honoring our children: Culturally appropriate approaches to indigenous education (pp. 11–20). Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University.Google Scholar
- Battiste, M., & Henderson, J. (2009). Naturalizing indigenous knowledge in Eurocentric education. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 32(1), 5–18, 129–130.Google Scholar
- Borich, G. D. (2007). Effective teaching methods, unit and lesson planning (6th ed.). London: Pearson.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1987). What makes a social class? On the theoretical and practical existence of groups. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 32, 1–17.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1994). Structures, habitus, power: Basis for a theory for symbolic power. In B. D. Nicholas, E. Geoff, & B. O. Sherry (Eds.), Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory (pp. 155–199). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812507.006.Google Scholar
- Chilisa, B. (2012). Indigenous research methodologies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.Google Scholar
- Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). (2011). Retrieved from http://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/CurriculumAssessmentPolicyStatements(CAPS).aspx). Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Macmillan Co.Google Scholar
- Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar
- Fairclough, N. (2004). Semiotic aspects of social transformation and learning. In R. Rogers (Ed.), An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education (pp. 225–236). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Fakoyede, S. J. (2018). Possibilities of using beads and beadwork (cultural artifacts) as instructional models in the teaching and learning of life sciences. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.Google Scholar
- Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc.Google Scholar
- Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York, NY: Basic Books Publishers.Google Scholar
- Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: The grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Ladson-Billings, G. J. (2001). Crossing over to Canaan: The journey of new teachers in diverse classrooms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Establishing trustworthiness. Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Merriam, S. B. (2002). Qualitative research in practice: Examples for discussion and analysis. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub.Google Scholar
- Mhakure, D., & Otulaja, F. S. (2017). Culturally-responsive pedagogy in science education: Narrowing the divide between indigenous and scientific knowledge. In F. S. Otulaja & M. B. Ogunniyi (Eds.), The world of science education: Handbook of research in science education in sub-Saharan Africa (pp. 81–100). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- NCS. (2011). National curriculum statements (NCS) grades R—12. Retrieved from https://www.education.gov.za/Curriculum/NationalCurriculumStatementsGradesR-12.aspx. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- Shor, I., & Freire, P. (1987). A pedagogy for liberation: Dialogues on transforming education. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey Publishers.Google Scholar
- Tobin, K. (2005). Urban science as a culturally and socially adaptive practice. In K. Tobin, R. Elmesky, & G. Seiler (Eds.), Improving urban science education: New roles for teachers, students, and researchers (pp. 21–42). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
- Turner, J. H. (2002). Face-to-face: Towards a sociological theory of interpersonal behavior. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: Development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). Educational psychology. Boca Raton, FL: St. Lucie Press.Google Scholar
- Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (2009). The first days of school: How to be an effective teacher. Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications Inc.Google Scholar