Experiences of women involved in an international curriculum development project
In this study the researcher explored what participation was like for Kenyan women involved in an international curriculum development project, considering important aspects of international curriculum development projects that have been neglected in the research literature. The main research purpose was to understand the women’s experiences in a Canadian-sponsored post-secondary education curriculum development project titled "Supporting Environmental Education in Kenya". In addition the research investigated the conflicts, tensions, and contradictions the women experienced between their previous ways of learning and their workshop experiences. Finally, the researcher addresses what could be done to mitigate contradictions generated by the project implementation. The study documented power relationships, issues of control and issues of role functionality; the researcher also identified the ways in which, in a patriarchal country women, especially married women, are closely monitored by their husbands or other significant males. In fact the women needed permission from their husbands to participate, to educate, to visit, and to consort with others such as the researcher. The study shares the women’s stories about the experiences that they had during and after the workshop situations, and how they interpreted these experiences. Additionally, the study identified differences in the teaching methods and learning styles experienced by the women. All the participants had experienced the Kenyan education system; the Kenyan curriculum was based on the English, post-colonial system that treated the learner as an empty vessel into which knowledge was poured; within classroom sessions this system did not encourage learner engagement that might be evidenced through questioning the teacher or discussing the topic at hand. Indeed, it was observed that all of the women participating in the project required encouragement to voice their thoughts. By honouring the experiences of the women and including their voices, the researcher generated information for proposal writers and project leaders to make appropriate decisions for programming that includes cultural and indigenous ways of knowing, learning and dissemination of knowledge.
post colonialism, stories, hegemony, culture, African feminism, colonialism
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)