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Asibizi: Teaching human reproduction in rural Eastern Cape schools

EasyChair Preprint no. 2284

8 pagesDate: December 31, 2019


The primary focus of this paper is to explore the possible influence of cultural taboos when teaching human reproduction content knowledge by isiXhosa speaking teachers in rural secondary schools of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Previous studies on Xhosa culture and the teaching of science have focused on the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the curriculum, citing the need for cultural restoration and heritage. However, little research has focused on the experiences of rural teachers when teaching sexually related content to teenage learners of the same ethnic culture where traditional ways of behaviour are compelling within an ethnic grouping. In this paper, we used semi-structured qualitative questionnaires to explore the views of twenty-nine rural secondary school Life Sciences (Biology) teachers and one Life Sciences Education Specialist on the possibility of cultural taboos in terms of restricting language use when teaching human reproduction. Cultural taboo themes and examples of ‘language conflict’ were generated via thematic analysis of the data.  The term ‘language conflict’ is taken from the isiXhosa word ‘asibizi’, which means, ‘we do not talk about this’. The claim that is made is that cultural taboos embedded in cultural beliefs of Xhosa-speaking communities may be regarded as a fifth language issue that restricts the teaching of Life Sciences concepts of a sexual nature in terms of language and lexicon use; namely what teachers are allowed to say and the words that they are allowed to use.

Keyphrases: Eastern Cape, Rural secondary schools, South Africa, Teaching human reproduction, Xhosa cultural taboos

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Ayanda Simayi and Paul Webb},
  title = {Asibizi: Teaching human reproduction in rural Eastern Cape schools},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 2284},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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