Emancipatory Tendencies of Ubuntu-like Classrooms as an Enhancer of Student Academic Prowess

Bunmi Isaiah Omodan ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.3  No.3  March  2022  Article 4 pp. 66-76
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2022334  |   Published online 28th March, 2022.
© 2022 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


Classrooms are sometimes laced with various pedagogical styles, which even though professional, may be alien to the students, leading to demotivation. Such demotivation usually results from a lack of affectionate pedagogical processes that affect students’ academic prowess, such as academic performance, achievement and attainment of academic goals. A teaching-learning process that does not accommodate professional affections may lead to an unpleasant end where the classroom purposes are defeated. Hence, this study presents Ubuntu as an emancipatory philosophy that ensures unhindered student achievement and performance. The study is positioned to answer a question: How can Ubuntu be presented to unravel ineffective classroom practices towards students’ emancipation. The study is designed within the transformative worldview to emancipate students and challenge the classroom status quo. This study was analysed using conceptual analysis, in which concepts derived from Ubuntu are subjected to intellectual and deductive interpretation for meaning-making. In this study, Ubuntu is presented alongside its three cardinal assumptions based on the researcher’s view. The assumptions (collaboration and togetherness; humanness; recognition and respect) were analysed and correlated with the classroom activities to promote students’ academic prowess. The study concludes that Ubuntu-like classrooms are the dimension of productive classroom practices towards students’ academic prowess. Therefore, the study recommended that classrooms be laced with collaboration, togetherness, and humanness, where students’ voices and opinions are recognised and respected.

Keywords: Ubuntu philosophy, ubuntu classrooms, academic prowess, transformation, emancipation.

Abdullah, Alkhaliel Adeeb, and Hooi Lai Wan. “Relationships of non-monetary incentives, job satisfaction and employee job performance.” International Review of Management and Business Research 2, no. 4 (2013): 1085.

Adeyemi, T. O., and R. Bolarinwa. “Principals’ leadership styles and student academic performance in secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria.” International journal of academic research in progressive education and development 2, no. 1 (2013): 187-198.

Akiri, Agharuwhe A. “Effects of teachers’ effectiveness on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools; Delta State-Nigeria.” Journal of Educational and Social Research 3, no. 3 (2013):105-105. https://doi.org/10.5901/jesr.2013.v3n3p105

Alami, Manizheh. “Causes of poor academic performance among Omani students.” International Journal of Social Science Research 4, no. 1 (2016): 126-136.

Al-Rahmi, Waleed Mugahed, Mohd Shahizan Othman, and Mahdi Alhaji Musa. “The improvement of students’ academic performance by using social media through collaborative learning in Malaysian higher education.” Asian Social Science 10, no. 8 (2014): 210. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ass.v10n8p210

Al-Rahmi, Waleed, Mohd Shahizan Othman, and Lizawati Mi Yusuf. “The role of social media for collaborative learning to improve academic performance of students and researchers in Malaysian higher education.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 16, no. 4 (2015). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v16i4.2326

Asikhia, O. A. “Students and teachers’ perception of the causes of poor academic performance in Ogun State secondary schools [Nigeria]: Implications for counseling for national development.” European Journal of Social Sciences 13, no. 2 (2010): 229-242.

Banerjee, Pallavi Amitava. “A systematic review of factors linked to poor academic performance of disadvantaged students in science and maths in schools.” Cogent Education 3, no. 1 (2016): 1178441. https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2016.1178441

Bondai, Beatrice, and T. M. Kaputa. “Reaffirming Ubuntu/Unhu mainstreaming in the education curricula: Panacea for sustainable educational change in Southern Africa.” International Journal of academic research and reflection 4, no. 6 (2016): 37-44.

Broodryk, Johann. “The philosophy of ubuntu: some management guidelines.” Management Today 22, no.7 (2006): 52-55. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC70326

Chasi, Colin. “Ubuntu and freedom of expression.” Ethics & Behavior 24, no. 6 (2014): 495-509.

______. “Ubuntu and freedom of expression: Considering children and broadcast news violence in a violent society.” Journal of Media Ethics 30, no. 2 (2015): 91-108. https://doi.org/10.1080/23736992.2015.1020378

Chigangaidze, Robert K. “An exposition of humanistic-existential social work in light of ubuntu philosophy: Towards theorizing ubuntu in social work practice.” Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought 40, no. 2 (2021): 146-165. https://doi.org/10.1080/15426432.2020.1859431

Chilisa, Bagele. “Decolonising transdisciplinary research approaches: an African perspective for enhancing knowledge integration in sustainability science.” Sustainability Science 12, no. 5 (2017): 813-827. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0461-1

Chisale, Sinenhlanhla S. “Politics of the body, fear and ubuntu: Proposing an African women’s theology of disabili.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 76, no. 3 (2020).

Colella, Dario, and Cristina d’ARANDO. “Teaching styles and outdoor education to promote non-linear
learning.” Journal of Physical Education and Sport 21 (2021): 507-513.https://doi.org/10.7752/jpes.2021.s1054

Corry, Margarita, Sam Porter, and Hugh McKenna. “The redundancy of positivism as a paradigm for nursing research.” Nursing Philosophy 20, no. 1 (2019): e12230. https://doi.org/10.1111/nup.12230

Davis-Langston, Christi. Exploring relationships among teaching styles, teachers’ perceptions of their self-efficacy and students’ mathematics achievement. Liberty University, 2012.

Dill, Bonnie Thornton, and Marla H. Kohlman. “Intersectionality: A transformative paradigm in feminist theory and social justice.” Handbook of feminist research: Theory and praxis 2 (2012): 154-174.https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781483384740.n8

Ferguson-Patrick, Kate. “Developing a democratic classroom and a democracy stance: Cooperative learning case studies from England and Sweden.” Education 3-13 (2020): 1-15.https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2020.1853195

Ganyaupfu, Elvis Munyaradzi. “Teaching methods and students’ academic performance.” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention 2, no. 9 (2013): 29-35.

Georgewill, Justina Wada. “Causes of poor achievement in West African school certificate mathematics examinations in Rivers State secondary schools, Nigeria.” International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology 21, no. 3 (1990): 379-385.

Gqweta, Ntokozo. “Poor academic performance: A perspective of final year diagnostic radiography students.” Radiography 18, no. 3 (2012): 212-217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.radi.2012.04.002

Gupta, Madan L. “Enhancing student performance through cooperative learning in physical sciences.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 29, no. 1 (2004): 63-73.https://doi.org/10.1080/0260293032000158162

Heimtun, Bente, and Nigel Morgan. “Proposing paradigm peace: Mixed methods in feminist tourism research.” Tourist Studies 12, no. 3 (2012): 287-304. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1468797612461088

Kendler, Kenneth S., and Michael C. Neale. “Endophenotype: a conceptual analysis.” Molecular psychiatry 15, no. 8 (2010): 789-797. https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2010.8

Koen, Mariëtte. “Sustainable Future for Early Childhood: Applying the African Ubuntu Philosophy to Contribute to the Holistic Development of Young Children.” Sustainable Development in Africa (2021): 131-146. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74693-3_8

Konishi, Chiaki, Shelley Hymel, Bruno D. Zumbo, and Zhen Li. “Do school bullying and student—teacher relationships matter for academic achievement? A multilevel analysis.” Canadian Journal of School Psychology 25, no. 1 (2010): 19-39. School Psychology, 25(1), 19-39.

Laal, Marjan, and Seyed Mohammad Ghodsi. “Benefits of collaborative learning.” Procedia-social and behavioral sciences 31 (2012): 486-490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.12.091

Lăzăroiu, George. “Employee motivation and job performance.” Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations 14 (2015): 97-102.

Lephoto, Malephoto Niko Ruth. “Adopting a relational leadership as a strategy for empowering teacher counsellors: a pathway to promoting learners’ well-being and empowerment.” Gender and Behaviour 17, no. 3 (2019): 13777-13793. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-19752d1cc6

Lloyd, Monica. “Mutual Respect: Implications for Classroom Effectiveness.” Masters in Teaching Program 2006-2008 Teaching the Child in Front of You in a Changing World (2008): 161.

Makewa, L. Ndiku, E. Role, Jesse Role, and E. Yegoh. “School climate and academic performance in high and low achieving schools: Nandi Central District, Kenya.” International Journal of Scientific Research in Education 4, no. 2 (2011): 93-104.

Makhubu, S. S., M. M. Hlongwane, S. Govender, D. Kent, S. D. Edwards, L. O. Makhonza, D. R. Nzima, G. V. Gumede, and S. N. Ochiogu. “African centered investigation into ways in which Ubuntu can promote social coherence.” Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 17, no. 1(2018): 53-66. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-fe64b7e26

Maphalala, M. C. “Embracing Ubuntu in managing effective classrooms.” Gender and Behaviour 15, no. 4 (2017): 10237-10249. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-c1eb0d3be

McCabe, Janet L., and Dave Holmes. “Reflexivity, critical qualitative research and emancipation: A Foucauldian perspective.” Journal of advanced nursing 65, no. 7 (2009): 1518-1526.https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2009.04978.x

Mertens, Donna M. “Transformative paradigm: Mixed methods and social justice.” Journal of mixed methods research 1, no. 3 (2007): 212-225. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1558689807302811

Mertens, Donna M. “Transformative mixed methods research.” Qualitative inquiry 16, no. 6 (2010): 469-474. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1077800410364612

Mpofu, Sonnyboy Mosana. “Effectivity and productivity in education: An Ubuntu perspective.” PhD diss.,Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, 2002. http://hdl.handle.net/10394/812

Mugumbate, Jacob, and Andrew Nyanguru. “Exploring African philosophy: The value of ubuntu in social work.” African Journal of Social Work 3, no. 1 (2013): 82-100.

Ngubane, Nomalungelo Isabel, and Mzuyabonga Gumede. “The use of ubuntu pedagogy to facilitate academic support in a higher education classroom.” Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems 17, no. 2 (2018): 245-258. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-13957f7e32

Ngunjiri, Faith Wambura. ““I am because we are” Exploring women’s leadership under ubuntu worldview.” Advances in Developing Human Resources 18, no. 2 (2016): 223-242.https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1523422316641416

Novaes, C. D., Formal languages in logic: A philosophical and cognitive analysis. London: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Omodan, Bunmi Isaiah, and Olugbenga A. Ige. “Analysis of Ubuntu as a Transformative Strategy to Mitigate Social Unrest in the University system.” Journal of Studies in Social Sciences & Humanities 7, no. 2 (2021): 76-86.

Omodan, Taiwo Christianah, and Cias T. Tsotetsi. “Framing Ubuntu philosophy to reconstruct principals’ behaviour and teachers’ effectiveness in secondary schools.” Journal of Education Research and Rural Community Development 1, no. 1 (2019): 25-45. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-19ade7e3de

Qutoshi, Sadruddin Bahadur. “Auto/ethnography: A transformative research paradigm.” Dhaulagiri Journal of Sociology and Anthropology 9 (2015): 161-190. https://doi.org/10.3126/dsaj.v9i0.14027

Ramose, Mogobe B. “African philosophy through Ubuntu.” Harare: Mond Books,1999.

Rassiger, Carolyn A. Student-teacher relationships and academic success in at-risk Latino and Black middle school students. Adelphi University, School of Social Work, 2011.

Romm, Norma RA. “Reviewing the transformative paradigm: A critical systemic and relational (Indigenous)lens.” Systemic Practice and Action Research 28, no. 5 (2015): 411-427.https://doi.org/10.1007/s11213-015-9344-5

Samkange, Stanlake John Thompson and Tommie Marie Samkange . “Hunhuism or Ubuntuism: A Zimbabwe indigenous political philosophy.” (Salisbury; Graham Publishers, 1980).

Saputra, Wahyu Nanda Eka, Agus Supriyanto, Budi Astuti, Yulia Ayriza, and Sofwan Adiputra. “The effect of student perception of negative school climate on poor academic performance of students in Indonesia.” International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research 19, no. 2 (2020):279-291. https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.19.2.17

Sekhar, Chandra, Manoj Patwardhan, and Rohit Kr Singh. “A literature review on motivation.” Global business perspectives 1, no. 4 (2013): 471-487. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40196-013-0028-1

Smith, Margaret L., Nomsa E. Geleta, Adrienne Dixon, and Susan Curtin. “Collaboration rebuilds a sense of belonging for students of
color using the sanctuary model® as a framework.” Making Connections 16,no. 1 (2015): 27-34

Sointu, Erkko T., Hannu Savolainen, Kristiina Lappalainen, and Matthew C. Lambert. “Longitudinal associations of student–teacher relationships and behavioural and emotional strengths on academic achievement.” Educational Psychology 37, no. 4 (2017): 457-467.

Sulamoyo, Dalitso. “I am because we are”: Ubuntu as a cultural strategy for OD and change in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Organization Development Journal 28, no. 4 (2010): 41-51.

Thakhathi, Andani, and T. G. Netshitangani. “Ubuntu-as-Unity: Indigenous African proverbs as a ‘re-educating’tool for embodied social cohesion and sustainable development.” African Identities 18, no.4 (2020): 407-420. https://doi.org/10.1080/14725843.2020.1776592

Van Dyk, G. A. J., and M. C. Nefale. “The Split-Ego Experience of Africans: Ubuntu Therapy as a Healing Alternative.” Journal of Psychotherapy Integration 15, no. 1 (2005): 48-61.https://doi.org/10.1037/1053-0479.15.1.48

Van Hout, Marie Claire, and Jakkie Wessels. ““Ubuntu” I am because we are: COVID-19 and the legal framework for addressing communicable disease in the South African prison system.” International Journal of Prisoner Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPH-05-2021-0046

Venter, Elza. “The notion of ubuntu and communalism in African educational discourse.” Studies in philosophy and education 23, no. 2 (2004): 149-160.https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SPED.0000024428.29295.03

Walton, Elizabeth, and Lee Rusznyak. “Developing standards for inclusive teaching in South Africa: A dilemma analysis.” Southern African Review of Education with Education with Production 25, no. 1(2019): 89-106. https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC-1877d86fcc

Wentzel, Kathryn R. “Are effective teachers like good parents? Teaching styles and student adjustment in early adolescence.” Child development 73, no. 1 (2002): 287-301.https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00406

Wiener, Harvey S. “Collaborative learning in the classroom: A guide to evaluation.” College English 48, no.1 (1986): 52-61. https://www.jstor.org/stable/376586

Wolters, Christopher A., Weihua Fan, and Stacy G. Daugherty. “Examining achievement goals and causal attributions together as predictors of academic functioning.” The Journal of Experimental Education 81, no. 3 (2013): 295-321. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2012.700498

Zgheib, Nathalie K., Joseph A. Simaan, and Ramzi Sabra. “Using team-based learning to teach pharmacologyto second year medical students improves student performance.” Medical teacher 32, no. 2 (2010): 130-135. https://doi.org/10.3109/01421590903548521

Bunmi Isaiah Omodan is a Senior Lecturer at Walter Sisulu University, South Africa. He is a certified Human Resource Manager with a PhD in Education Management and Leadership, a master’s degree in Educational Management and B.A. Ed. in English Language. He is the Editor-in-Chief of “Interdisciplinary Journal of Rural and Community Studies”, “Interdisciplinary Journal of Education Research” and “Interdisciplinary Journal of Sociality Studies” for the past three years. He also co-ordinates Education Research and Rural Community Development Forum. He currently holds a research grant worth 100,000 South African Rand. He has propounded a method of analysing qualitative data tagged “Socio-thematic Analysis (StA)”, and an Africanised theory called “Kenimani-Kenimatoni Organisational Theory.” He is currently a member of the British Education Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS), Nigeria Association for Educational Administration and Planning (NAEAP) and Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM). He has published articles in various local and international journals, chapters-in-books and local and international conference proceedings. His research focus includes but is not limited to qualitative and quantitative research approaches, Community-based Participatory Action Research, decoloniality, Ubuntuism, social transformation, social and Africanised pedagogy, social crisis management and university transformation.

Omodan B.I. “Emancipatory Tendencies of Ubuntu-like Classrooms as an Enhancer of Student Academic Prowess,” E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 3, no.3 (2022):66-76.  https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2022334

© 2022 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).