An Evaluation of a Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Project at a Western Cape University
A. Anga’ama, Daniel
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This study was an evaluative case study of a Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Project on the Project (SIKSP) at a Western Cape University, South Africa. It was an internal evaluation from the perspectives of the project participants, with the aim of assessing (1) the opportunities and challenges faced by the participants (in-service teachers), (2) the effectiveness of an argumentationbased strategy (DAIM) used by some of the in-service teachers to integrate science and IKS, (3) the manner in which the trained teachers actually taught using the DAIM, and (4) the impact of SIKSP on the participants’ professional development and research capacities. I used a hybridised version of Stufflebeam’s (2003) context, input, process, product (CIPP) as well as Guba and Lincoln’s (1989) Constructivist evaluation models to guide the study, within a constructivist-pragmatist paradigm. I used a questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, reflective diaries, and document analyses to collate the data from 22 in-service participants, as well as from the project director. The analyses were done using mixed methods, though largely dominated by qualitative approaches. The results suggest that: through the use of multiple sources of engagement in conceptual, practical, and discursive activities, SIKSP enabled the participants to change their views about science and IKS – from a largely positivist to a more dualistic worldview that considered IKS as a source of valid knowledge in science classrooms. SIKSP activities also enabled the participants to acquire the largely student-centred, discursive, interactive DAIM approach of teaching and learning to effect an inclusive science-IK curriculum. The teachers used DAIM to teach science, mathematics as well as socio-scientific topics, each teacher applying it differently. SIKSP had many positive impacts on the participants – psychological, social, intellectual, pedagogical and professional. Through SIKSP, many participants obtained higher degrees, advanced professionally, and some have become researchers in science and IKS; with two of the postdoctoral fellows now carrying on similar research at other universities in South Africa and beyond. An unanticipated outcome of SIKSP was the creation of the African Association for the Study of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (AASIKS) which is now pursuing an inclusive science-IKS vision at a much larger scale. Overall, in the view of the participants, SIKSP was very successful project, and its DAIM approach, though difficult to master, has many advantages that could be explored in-and-out of science classrooms.