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ERIC Number: EJ863734
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0002-7685
Indigenous Knowledge in the Life Sciences Classroom: Put on Your de Bono Hats!
de Beer, Josef; Whitlock, Elrina
American Biology Teacher, v71 n4 p209-216 Apr 2009
The whole world was united in its condemnation of the pre-1994 apartheid regime in South Africa. Apartheid meant that many South Africans were robbed of their democratic voices and cultural identities. In this article, the authors pose the question: Are you guilty of "knowledge apartheid" in your biology classroom? Does every student have a voice in your classroom? Do you respect the various cultural backgrounds of your students, and the indigenous knowledge they bring to the classroom? The development of the "National Science Education Standards" (1996) in the U.S. was guided by several principles, one being that school science reflects the intellectual and cultural traditions that characterize the practice of contemporary science. Also, Teaching Standard A has a subsection that states that a teacher should select science content and adapt and design curricula that meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities and experiences of students (National Science Education Standards, 1996). Recent research also points to the value of a socio-scientific issues (SSI) approach to science teaching. The SSI approach encourages students to consider how science-based issues affect their own lives and to reflect on the moral principles that underpin science. This article provides suggestions on how both principles can be accommodated in the life science classroom. The authors argue for the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the life science classroom and explain why indigenous knowledge should be incorporated into life science education. They show how knowledge claims in the field of traditional healing could be scrutinized and subjected to experimental procedures in the classroom. (Contains 6 tables and 3 footnotes.)
National Association of Biology Teachers. 12030 Sunrise Valley Drive # 110, Reston, VA 20191. Tel: 800-406-0775; Tel: 703-264-9696; Fax: 703-264-7778; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A