Original Research: Indigenous knowledge systems

The inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the science classroom: A substantiation from cultural-historical activity theory

Josef J. de Beer
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 34, No 1 | a1344 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v34i1.1344 | © 2015 Josef J. de Beer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 June 2015 | Published: 09 September 2015

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Josef J. de Beer, School for Natural Sciences and Technology for Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa

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This article provides a theoretical argument for the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the science classroom by using Engeström’s thirdgeneration cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) as lens. The basic premise is that the learner enters the classroom with indigenous knowledge. By being sensitive to this embodied and situated cognition of the learner, the teacher may use indigenous knowledge as an effective entry point to make the abstract science curriculum more accessible and relevant to the learner. Through CHAT as a lens, various factors are identified that prevent the promotion of indigenous knowledge in the school curriculum.


Inheemse kennis; wetenskaponderwys; kultuur-historiese aktiwiteitsteorie


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