Indigenous knowledge language systems as source of educational psychology principles for teaching and learning: A case of traditional African cultures of Zimbabwe

Patrick Chadamoyo, Emmanuel Dumbu


The study explores how the traditional African cultures of Zimbabwe have used their indigenous knowledge of tsumo (proverbs) for teaching their children cultural norms and values. The study argues that if educational psychology is about what goes on in teaching and learning, then the ways the traditional African elders have used proverbs (tsumo) to successfully teach children about ways of behaving, are based on educational psychology principles. The study adopted the qualitative field- based approach whereby the Karanga language speaking people of Masvingo province of Zimbabwe were interrogated on how the statements of proverbs (tsumo) entrenched in their language, are used to teach children ways of understanding the world. The study also used documentary evidence of selected statements of proverbs (tsumo) to illustrate the relationship between the potential effect of these proverbs (tsumo) on changing human behaviour and that of the principles of educational psychology. Results have indicated that the scientific methods that culminated in the pronouncement of the general statements of educational psychology theories and principles were and are still the same methods that elders of the indigenous African societies used and still use today to formulate general statements of truths called proverbs (tsumo).

Key words:   traditional African cultures; indigenous knowledge; proverbs (tsumo); educational psychology; scientific knowledge

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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