Verbal Arts as Culturally Relevant Pedagogical Tools in Math/Science Education

  • Sam MchomboEmail author


Research has shown that in education children acquire literacy more easily in a language they already know. This leads to more effective education. The use of a community’s own language in its educational system makes for the utilization of the linguistic and cultural wealth of the community and is an acknowledged right in education. Traditionally, the teaching of math and science (or STEM subjects in general) in African education has departed from the inclusion of the community’s linguistic and cultural wealth largely because these subjects are projected as containing culture-free knowledge. Delivered primarily in European languages, the truths that derive from math and science are held to be culture free, objective, and universal. This paper argues that culture is important to knowledge production and that language arts contain knowledge that is relevant to STEM education. The incorporation of such culturally relevant knowledge into STEM education should provide a means by which the linguistic and cultural wealth of the community can play an essential role in the formal education of its children. It would also make STEM subjects more accessible, being approached from the basis of local knowledge. The paper will examine how verbal arts might get integrated into STEM education with the adoption of culturally relevant pedagogy.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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