Examining Child Development from an African Cultural Context

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Winnie Mucherah
Teresia Mbogori


Human development is multifaceted and characterized by physical, cognitive, social and emotional aspects. This development is strongly shaped by one’s socio-cultural context. It’s impossible to separate one’s culture explaining their development fully. For example, constructs like motivation for academic achievement, self-concept, self-esteem, and identity development can only be adequately understood within one’s social-cultural contexts. What motivates a student in Kenya to achieve academically may be different from what motivates a student in the US to achieve.  Unfortunately most frames of reference in explaining “optimal” development seem to be based on Western and/or European standards. Most examples in textbooks are Western or European based, hardly any from an African perspective, unless it’s explaining “inadequate” development. Clearly, there is a need for transformation in the education system on the continent of Africa. This paper will address five key aspects of child development that needs to be critically examined within the African context.


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Author Biographies

Winnie Mucherah, Ball State University

Winnie Mucherah is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

Teresia Mbogori, Ball State University

Teresia Mbogori is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Physiology at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.