Summa Cum Laude Graduate Puts Education in the Spotlight
Ms Raeesa Ismail, who researched pre-service science teacher education in 2012 with a particular focus on Indigenous Knowledge Systems, graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s degree in Education (Science Education).
The relationship between knowledge and power, and the notion that knowledge which are rooted in non-western systems are “naturally” subaltern, was what spurred her to examine the teaching and learning of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in teacher education programmes. She located the teacher as central to the intellectual decolonisation of a society.
Ismail’s study adopted a qualitative approach that explored pre-service teachers’ experiences and views of learning to teach culturally inclusive science in a pedagogic content knowledge module at a tertiary institution in KwaZulu-Natal.
Her research was embedded in an interpretive paradigm, and multiple data generation methods were used in order to understand pre-service teachers’ experiences and views of learning to teach a culturally inclusive science, which is embedded in Indigenous Knowledge Systems.
‘This research will benefit society by influencing teachers and teacher education. Teachers play a pivotal role in shaping young people’s minds. This research will enable in-service and pre-service teachers to acknowledge the value of alternate knowledge systems,’ said Ismail.
‘It will raise the consciousness of teachers about the wisdom inherent in different knowledge systems and they will, in turn, share these views with learners whose epistemic horizons will be broadened, and who will value their sense of self and reclaim their proudly African heritage.’
Ismail also presented a conference paper titled “Pre-Service Teachers’ Experiences of Learning to Teach Culturally Inclusive Science”, at the Race, Power and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Conference on 13 July 2012.
She also co-wrote a SAPSE accredited article with her supervisor Dr Ronicka Mudaly which was published in Alternation 20(1), pp. 178-202, titled “Teacher Learning through Tapping into Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the Science Classroom”.
Ismail has been an exemplary academic achiever throughout her educational journey, and her work ethic is worthy of emulation by students in the field of teacher education. In the final year of her BEd degree she enrolled for nine modules and achieved six distinctions, and the Dean’s Commendation. In 2011 she completed her BEd Honours degree with a first class pass.
The examiner of her master’s thesis said: ‘Overall, the candidate has produced an outstanding scholarly report incorporating generous literature, extensive data and coherent and convincing arguments. The quality of the presentation of the report is excellent. The language and expression are fluent and highly readable. The candidate has demonstrated critical scholarship in handling secondary source material and quotations.’
Ismail has demonstrated excellent scholarship at master’s level and is planning to pursue studies towards a PhD at UKZN.
- Melissa Mungroo