Interpreting Student Views of Learning Experiences in a Contextualized Science Discourse in Kenya


Correspondence to: Samson Madera Nashon; E-mail:


Despite the centrality of the informal manufacturing sector (Jua Kali) to the Kenyan society and its richness in scientific phenomena, there is no strong link between activities in the Jua Kali and school science. And, although there has been an ongoing public discourse in Kenya to industrialize, this hope is unlikely without connecting classroom science to the real world of the Jua Kali. In view of this concern, an interpretive case study was framed to investigate Kenyan high school students' views of contextualized science learning in culturally relevant real-world science curriculum. This article reports the analysis of Kenyan students' views of contextualized science learning and school science curriculum and instruction elicited through an interpretive case study approach employing interview methods. The analysis of interview data reveals that the participating students interviewed expressed views that: (1) acknowledged the richness of Jua Kali in scientific phenomena and embedded science; (2) indicated existence of a lack of meaningfulness and relevance in existing science curriculum and instruction model; (3) revealed experience of resonance of group and real life learning strategies modeled in the curriculum unit with their preferred learning modes; and (4) revealed their metacognitive assessment of the traditionally used and the new contextualized science modeled learning strategies. Thus, this article offers insight about the Kenyan students on their journey through the experience of contextualized science learning. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 50: 381-407, 2013