Presentation Title

Mayan children's medicinal plant knowledge: Learning as contributing members of their community

Faculty Mentor

Lucia Alcala

Start Date

18-11-2017 12:30 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 1:30 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 8

Session

Poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

This study examines how children learn the uses and preparations of medicinal plants in a Mayan community (Mexico). We interviewed 20 children (ages 9-120 about their familiarity with medicinal plants as well as their uses. We examined on how children learned the uses of the plants reported and their involvement during illness situations in their community. Results show that children in this Maya community were fully integrated in everyday activities, including in the care of ill family and community members. Children were frequently present during illness situations, helped gradually, and were interested in learning more about the uses and preparation of medicinal plants. As children were present during the collection of medicinal plants, they learned to identify certain plants (14 plants were reported), and learned the multiple uses of these plants (8 different uses for some). Their participation was gradual, depending on their experience. At the beginning, children only observed and listed, then they were often asked to go fetch the medicinal plants to the home garden, and eventually they helped directly in the preparation of these plants. Children also reported on the importance of preserving this knowledge and the potential danger of misusing it. They understand that this knowledge represents a communal responsibility for the care of others and should be used accordingly. When children are integrated and encouraged to participate in activities important to the community, children become competent participants of their cultural community and active agents in their own learning process.

Keywords: Mayan Children, Medicinal Plants, Informal Learning

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Nov 18th, 12:30 PM Nov 18th, 1:30 PM

Mayan children's medicinal plant knowledge: Learning as contributing members of their community

BSC-Ursa Minor 8

This study examines how children learn the uses and preparations of medicinal plants in a Mayan community (Mexico). We interviewed 20 children (ages 9-120 about their familiarity with medicinal plants as well as their uses. We examined on how children learned the uses of the plants reported and their involvement during illness situations in their community. Results show that children in this Maya community were fully integrated in everyday activities, including in the care of ill family and community members. Children were frequently present during illness situations, helped gradually, and were interested in learning more about the uses and preparation of medicinal plants. As children were present during the collection of medicinal plants, they learned to identify certain plants (14 plants were reported), and learned the multiple uses of these plants (8 different uses for some). Their participation was gradual, depending on their experience. At the beginning, children only observed and listed, then they were often asked to go fetch the medicinal plants to the home garden, and eventually they helped directly in the preparation of these plants. Children also reported on the importance of preserving this knowledge and the potential danger of misusing it. They understand that this knowledge represents a communal responsibility for the care of others and should be used accordingly. When children are integrated and encouraged to participate in activities important to the community, children become competent participants of their cultural community and active agents in their own learning process.

Keywords: Mayan Children, Medicinal Plants, Informal Learning