Enabling social learning as a response to environmental issues through teaching of localised curriculum in Zambian schools

Sinyama, Imakando (2012) Enabling social learning as a response to environmental issues through teaching of localised curriculum in Zambian schools. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Schools are traditionally established as the main meeting platforms for awareness, education, training and capacity building in the local communities, and as such, are highly regarded and respected. They are situated and integrated in nearly all local communities. They are thus perfectly suited to reach, draw on and provide capacity building to the communities. Zambia recently introduced a new curriculum aspect named localised curriculum, which makes up 20% of the curriculum. This curriculum area encourages schools to address issues of sustainable development that are locally relevant through this curriculum component, but it is not clear what kind of learning emerges from this curriculum aspect. The study looked at the shift in pedagogical discourse since the introduction of the localised curriculum. Using case study methodology and observation of a number of classroom activities in the Keemba District near Monze in Zambia, I observed social learning interactions taking place in the implementation of the localised curriculum. In particular, I was interested in how the different aspects of the localised curriculum enabled social learning, at different levels. What is important in this research is that it focused not so much on what people should know, or be able to do, but rather, drawing on some of the questions raised by Wals (2007), I considered questions of how people learn, and how social learning emerges in school-community interactions in the localised curriculum. The main research question was to investigate: How does localised curriculum enable social learning in response to environmental issues in Zambian schools? This research drew on a number of associated research projects that were carried out in southern Africa and beyond. In his research, Namafe (2008) states that he saw a great need to institutionalise increased participation of Zambian Basic Schools and their local communities in sustainable development of the country in order to alleviate poverty and achieve equitable development. Hogan (2008, p. 122 ) researching in a different context, argues that contextualisation of the curriculum allowed for indigenous knowledge to come in to the classroom, stating that ‘Weakening of the frames provided the opportunity of closer relationships to give space for knowledge other than teacher selected knowledge or book knowledge to enter the classroom.’ In this study I found that: - Teaching localised curriculum allowed for contextualisation and integration of environment and natural resource management issues. - Localising the curriculum contributed to curriculum relevancy: teaching localised curriculum helped learners, teachers and community to develop concern for quality of life and contributed to an understanding of sustainable development. - Localised curriculum allowed for frame awareness, frame deconstruction and reframing to take place: this allowed teachers to use methods which promoted active pupil participation and interaction, encouraging learners to be reflexive thinkers rather than just using rote memory. - Participation of teachers, community and learners in the implementation of the localised curriculum: The involvement of community members to teach topics of the localised curriculum was useful and articulated processes of inter–epistemological dialogue between traditional or every day and scientific or institutional knowledge. - The localised curriculum implementation involved various roles and was influenced by various factors. Of key interest to this study was the fact that neither parents, learners nor teachers saw the localised curriculum as an opportunity for problem solving, but rather emphasised the learning of practical life skills relevant to the community. This differed from the curriculum manuals, and reduced the environmental education potential and also social learning opportunities.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social learning, Zambia, Keembe Central Province, Monze, Environmental education, Sustainable development, Curriculum change, Educational evaluation
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
L Education > LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Lotz-Sisitka, Heila
ID Code:3190
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:22 Aug 2012 07:17
Last Modified:22 Aug 2012 07:17
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