Main Article Content

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of environmental adaptation on the cognitive styles of students in African cultures. The paper is motivated by an observed disequilibrium between students’ eco-cultural perceptual styles and the western academic learning models typically sponsored by schools. The paper is illumined by Witkin’s distinction of cognitive styles to Field Dependence (FD) and Field Independence (FI). The paper is backed by an empirical study that was carried out using both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. A total sample of 80 students, 24 parents and 12 teachers both rural and urban settlements of Nso ethnicity of Cameroon were chosen for the study. The qualitative data were analysed using the systematic process of content analysis while descriptive and inferential statistics were used for quantitative data. The qualitative findings of the study showed that the Nso eco-cultural orientation posits a preservationist environmental adaptation, oral mode of communication and collective/interpersonal social pattern. These findings correlated with students’ cognitive styles as the results of the study proved that in both rural and urban settlements, students were more FD (67.0%) than FI, at a significant level of P<0.001 as regards categorization, processing styles and attribution. Furthermore, only 23.9% of the academic learning process strategies were effectively in favour of FD students, thus more of FD students (67.3%) failed in academic subjects than FI students. Nonetheless 59.5% of the students who failed were good in ethno-science skills with a significant level of P<0.00.1. The conclusion, recommendations and significance of the study were based on the fact that if a student displays a cognitive preference that is common and accepted within his/her cultural group, it should be viewed as a “difference” from what the mainstream society promotes in schools; not as a “deficiency” or “failure”. Hence, while taking cognizance of students’ FD cultural perceptual styles, teachers and educational administrators should provide strategies for transfer and acquisition of other FI ways of perception in students.

Keywords

Cognitive styles field dependence field independence environmental adaptation attribution processing

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Lambert Leinyuy Wirdze Shiyntum 2021. Africentric environmental adaptation and students’ cognitive styles. International Journal on Integrated Education. 4, 2 (Feb. 2021), 60-68. DOI:https://doi.org/10.31149/ijie.v4i2.1194.

References

  1. Berry, J. W. (1966). Temne and Eskimo perceptual skills. International Journal of Psychology, 1,207–229.
  2. Berry, J. W. (1976). Human ecology and cognitive style. New York: Sage/Halsted/Wiley.
  3. Brown, H. D. (1994). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  4. Dasen, P. R. (2011) Culture, Cognition and Learning In Nsamenang, A. B. &Tchombe, T. M. S. (Eds) Handbook Of African Educational Theories And Practices: A Generative Teacher Education Curriculum. Human Development Resource Centre. Bamenda. Pp 159 – 174
  5. Dasen, P. R. (2011) Culture, Cognition and Learning In Nsamenang, A. B. &Tchombe, T. M. S. (Eds) Handbook Of African Educational Theories And Practices: A Generative Teacher Education Curriculum. Human Development Resource Centre. Bamenda. Pp 159 – 174
  6. Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  7. Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed. New York: Basic Books.
  8. Gardner, H. (1999). Intelligence reframed. New York: Basic Books.
  9. Sternberg, R. J. (1985). Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence.New York: Cambridge University Press.
  10. Sternberg, R. J. (1985). Beyond IQ: A triarchic theory of human intelligence.New York: Cambridge University Press.
  11. Tapé, G. (1994). L'intelligence en Afrique. Une étude du raisonnement experimental.Paris: L'Harmattan.
  12. Tchombe, T. M. S. (2011) Theories of learning. In Nsamenang, A. B. & Tchombe, T. M. S. (Eds) Handbook Of African Educational Theories And Practices: A Generative Teacher Education Curriculum. Human Development Resource Centre. Bamenda. pp 175 – 193
  13. Varnum, M. E. W., Grossmann, I., Kitayama, S., &Nisbett, R. E. (2010). The Origin of Cultural Differences in Cognition: Evidence for the Social Orientation Hypothesis. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda MD, 20894
  14. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and Society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
  15. Wirdze, L. L. S. (2012). Nso Cultural Strategies for Facilitating Intellectual Behaviours in Children. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. University of Buea
  16. Witkin, H. A., Lewis, H. B., Hertzman, M., Machover, K., Bretnall, P. M.,& Wapner, S. (1954). Personality through perception: An experimental and clinical study. New York: Harper & Brothers.
  17. Witkin, H. A., Moore, C. A., Goodenough, D. R., & Cox, P. W. (1977). Field dependent and field independent cognitive styles and their educational implications. Review of Educational Research, 47, 1–64.
  18. Witkin, H.A., & Berry, J.W. (1975). Psychological differentiation in cross-cultural perspective. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1, 5–87.
  19. Zaidel, D. W. (1994). Worlds apart: Pictorial semantics in the left and right cerebral hemispheres. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 508.