Original Research: Indigenous knowledge systems

The pedagogy of indigenous knowledge as a social construct

William J. Fraser, Ronél Ferreira
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 34, No 1 | a1347 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v34i1.1347 | © 2015 William J. Fraser, Ronél Ferreira | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 June 2015 | Published: 30 September 2015

About the author(s)

William J. Fraser, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Ronél Ferreira, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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This article explains indigenous knowledge, firstly as a social construct, and subsequently in terms of the value it holds for educational practice. Indigenous knowledge (IK) often constitutes the basis of learners’ first experiences and links such experiences, via spontaneous conceptualisation, with scientific phenomena. IK also serves as the primary organiser of learning, with a view to further conceptualisation and schematisation. The exclusion of indigenous knowledge from formal curricula is usually not intentional, and its actual inclusion in learning material can make a valuable contribution towards linking existing knowledge and new information. The article claims that the indigenous knowledge of local populations should be acknowledged to empower curriculum developers and learners. Seeing that indigenous knowledge is interwoven with the social constructs of society, participatory research strategies are suggested to gather, quantify and verify information for curriculum development purposes.


Indigenous knowledge; Curriculum Development; Conceptualisation; Social Construct; Participatory Reflection and Action


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