Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 221–242 | Cite as

Towards culturally relevant classroom science: a theoretical framework focusing on traditional plant healing

  • Vongai Mpofu
  • Femi S. Otulaja
  • Emmanuel Mushayikwa


A theoretical framework is an important component of a research study. It grounds the study and guides the methodological design. It also forms a reference point for the interpretation of the research findings. This paper conceptually examines the process of constructing a multi-focal theoretical lens for guiding studies that aim to accommodate local culture in science classrooms. A multi-focal approach is adopted because the integration of indigenous knowledge and modern classroom science is complex. The central argument in this paper is that a multi-focal lens accommodates the multifaceted nature of integrating indigenous knowledge and western oriented classroom science. The objective of the paper, therefore, is to construct a theoretical framework that can be used to guide and inform the integration of indigenous knowledge and western science at classroom science level. The traditional plant healing form of indigenous knowledge is used as a case study. The paper is important for raising the complexities, tensions and dilemmas inherent in the design and implementation of indigenous knowledge-science integrated curricula. An understanding of the issues raised will pave the way towards achieving culturally relevant classroom science.


Classroom science Indigenous knowledge Integration Theoretical framework Western science 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vongai Mpofu
    • 1
  • Femi S. Otulaja
    • 1
  • Emmanuel Mushayikwa
    • 1
  1. 1.Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education, Division of Science and Technology Education, School of EducationUniversity of the WitwatersrandWitsSouth Africa

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