Coping diversity: Guide

Dr Marlize Malan van Rooyen| View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Knowledge Systems

All of us have certain knowledge systems from which our choices and behaviour stem. For this specific study the knowledge system was indigenous in nature, and accordingly indigenous knowledge systems formed an important part of understanding the coping behaviours of the participants. Indigenous knowledge systems refers to “the total knowledge and skills a specific group of people in a specific location possess which enables them to manage and benefit from their environment as much as possible” (Odora Hoppers, 2008, p.29). Such knowledge systems are saturated with cultural values that could affect coping in the following ways (Aldwin, 2007):

  • culture can influence the type of stressors individuals experience
  • culture can affect the appraisal of the stressor
  • culture can affect the choice of coping strategy
  • culture can provide different institutional mechanisms to help an individual cope with stress

In our rapidly developing world teaching professionals and educational psychologists are faced with the responsibility of working with diverse learners. Getting to know learners’ knowledge systems could provide valuable information about how they mediate with adversity and why.