Arhuaco ancestral knowledge as
a techno-pedagogical strategy for
the development of environmental
awareness in fourth-grade students of
Colegio La Sagrada Familia
Keyla Vanessa Ariza Córdoba
María Claris Oñate Quiroz
Rolando Hernández Lazo
To reference this article / Cómo citar este artículo / Para citar este
artigo: Ariza-Córdoba, K. V., Oñate-Quiroz, M. y Hernández-Lazo, R. (2023).
El conocimiento ancestral arhuaco como estrategia tecnopedagógica para
el desarrollo de la conciencia ambiental en los estudiantes del grado cuarto
del Colegio La Sagrada Familia. Revista UNIMAR, 41(1), 191–211.
Reception date: January 18, 2022
Review date: May 5, 2022
Approval date: July 19, 2022
The objective of this research was to implement a techno-pedagogical strategy
based on the ancestral knowledge of the Arhuaca indigenous community, to develop
environmental awareness in fourth-grade students of the primary school ‘La
Sagrada Familia’ in the city of Valledupar. The research had a qualitative approach
and a socio-critical paradigm that allowed identifying the potential for change in
the way students perceived and related to nature. The action research method was
applied, which was developed in three phases: deconstruction, reconstruction,
and evaluation. The work unit consisted of 15 students. The results indicated that
there was a signicant change in the development of environmental awareness in
each of its dimensions. It was concluded that, although the implemented techno-
pedagogical strategy provided a great contribution to the integral formation of the
student, it is recommended to link technological tools and ancestral knowledge to
pedagogical projects, as a contribution to educational processes.
Keywords: environmental awareness; techno-pedagogical strategy; ancestral
Master in Pedagogy. Teacher at Colegio Franciscano Jiménez de Cisneros, Ibagué, Tolima, Colombia. Email: vanessadelvalle _1@hotmail.com
Master in Pedagogy. Head teacher of the Educational Institution Trujillo, Becerril, Cesar, Colombia. Email: mariaclarisoq@gmail.com
Master in Health Informatics. Educational Technology Expert. Teacher of the Universidad Mariana, Valledupar, Cesar, Colombia. Email:
An article resulting from the research entitled: ‘Arhuaco ancestral knowledge as a techno-pedagogical strategy for the development of
environmental awareness in fourth-grade students of Colegio la Sagrada Familia’, developed from March 8, 2019, to December 2, 2021,
in the municipality of Valledupar, Cesar, Colombia
El conocimiento ancestral arhuaco como estrategia
tecnopedagógica para el desarrollo de la conciencia
ambiental en los estudiantes del grado cuarto del
Colegio La Sagrada Familia
La presente investigación tuvo como objetivo implementar una estrategia
tecnopedagógica basada en los conocimientos ancestrales de la comunidad
indígena arhuaca, para desarrollar conciencia ambiental en los estudiantes
del grado cuarto de la básica primaria del Colegio La Sagrada Familia de la
ciudad de Valledupar. La investigación tuvo un enfoque cualitativo y paradigma
sociocrítico, que permitió identicar el potencial de cambio en la forma cómo
percibían y se relacionaban los estudiantes con la naturaleza; se aplicó el método
de investigación acción, que se desarrolló en tres fases, a saber: deconstrucción,
reconstrucción y evaluación. La unidad de trabajo estuvo conformada por 15
estudiantes. Los resultados indicaron que hubo un signicativo cambio en el
desarrollo de conciencia ambiental en cada una de sus dimensiones. Se concluyó
que la estrategia tecnopedagógica implementada proporcionó un gran aporte a
la formación integral del estudiante. De igual forma, se recomienda vincular las
herramientas TIC y los conocimientos ancestrales a los proyectos pedagógicos
como aporte a los procesos educativos.
Palabras clave: conciencia ambiental; estrategia tecnopedagógica,
conocimientos ancestrales.
O conhecimento ancestral arhuaco como estratégia
tecnopedagógica para o desenvolvimento da
consciência ambiental em alunos da quarta série do
Colégio La Sagrada Familia
O objetivo desta pesquisa foi implementar uma estratégia tecnopedagógica
baseada no conhecimento ancestral da comunidade indígena arhuaca, para
desenvolver a consciência ambiental em alunos da quarta série da escola primária
‘La Sagrada Família’, na cidade de Valledupar. A pesquisa teve uma abordagem
qualitativa e um paradigma sociocrítico que permitiu identicar o potencial de
mudança na forma como os alunos percebem e se relacionam com a natureza. O
método de pesquisa-ação foi aplicado, desenvolvido em três fases: desconstrução,
reconstrução e avaliação. A unidade de trabalho foi composta por 15 alunos. Os
resultados indicaram que houve uma mudança signicativa no desenvolvimento
da consciência ambiental em cada uma de suas dimensões. Concluiu-se que,
embora a estratégia tecnopedagógica implementada tenha proporcionado
grande contribuição para a formação integral do aluno, recomenda-se vincular
ferramentas tecnológicas e saberes ancestrais a projetos pedagógicos, como
contribuição aos processos educativos.
Palavras-chave: conhecimento ancestral; estratégia tecnopedagógica;
conhecimento ancestral.
Arhuaco ancestral knowledge as a techno-pedagogical strategy for the development of environmental awareness in fourth-
grade students of Colegio La Sagrada Familia
Keyla Vanessa Ariza Córdoba
María Claris Oñate Quiroz
Rolando Hernández Lazo
1. Introduction
In recent decades, worldwide, great concern has
arisen over the environmental crisis to which
the prevailing development model has led the
planet, which has manifested itself in multiple
problems such as climate change, the dramatic
loss of biodiversity, the reduction of available
fresh water and air pollution, as stated in the
sixth report of the United Nations Environment
Program (UNEP, 2019).
According to the report, the general state of
the environment has continued to deteriorate
around the world. Since 1880, the global mean
surface temperature has risen between 0.8 and
1.2 degrees Celsius, recording eight of the ten
warmest years on record in the past decade.
Regarding air pollution, pollution causes between
six and seven million premature deaths a year;
95% of the planet’s population lives in areas
with levels of ne particles higher than those
recommended by the World Health Organization
(WHO) (UNEP, 2019).
The protected areas do not reach sucient
percentages of terrestrial habitats, reaching only
15%; the same happens with the coastal and
marine areas, which only reach 16%; there is a
large number of species in danger of extinction,
whose percentage is found in 42% of terrestrial
invertebrates: 34% of freshwater and 25% of
marine ones. Since 1970 it has been noticed
that a large percentage of the planet’s wetlands
no longer exist, being important ecosystems
to improve climate change conditions (UNEP,
2019). Regarding the report,
‘Urgent measures on an unprecedented scale
are needed to stop and reverse this situation
and thus protect human and environmental
health’, the report concludes. The positive
side is that the measures that must be taken
are known and that they are even included
in international treaties such as the Paris
Agreement or the so-called Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs). The loss of
biodiversity and air pollution must be halted,
water and resource management improved,
climate change mitigated and adapted to it,
and resources used eciently, among others.
(Planelles, 2019, para. 3)
Similarly, in Colombia, the classic model of
development is a model based primarily on
economic growth which seeks to exploit the
natural system, causing a gap in the relationship
established between human beings and nature.
According to a preview of the V National
Biodiversity Report, prepared by the Ministerio
del Medio Ambiente and the UN Development
Program (UNDP, 2014), environmental damage
is due to several ‘motors’, namely: land
exploitation, the destruction of ecosystems due
to the invasion of species that do not belong
to the environment, water pollution, which has
become a problem due to mining, livestock
farming, and other economic exercises that
prevail over environmental conservation and,
nally, climate change.
Regarding the transformation and loss of
biodiversity, the degradation of the natural
forest and deforestation continue to be
important drivers. Regarding deforestation,
the natural forest cover went from 56.5% in
1990 to 51.4% in 2010. The deforested areas
have been transformed mainly into pastures
for cattle ranching and agricultural areas,
while the deterioration of the forest is linked to
interventions in the territory, associated with
the expansion of mining, crops for illicit use, and
the extraction of tropical wood (Ministerio de
Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible, Programa de
las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo, 2014).
Amid this environmental crisis, laws, norms,
and decrees have been established so that
companies, natural persons, and educational
institutions found strategies for the conservation
and preservation of the environment, such as
Law 629 of 2000, “using which approves the
‘Kyoto Protocol’ of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change”, Law 23 of 1973,
“by which extraordinary powers are granted to
the President of the Republic to issue the Code of
Natural Resources and Environmental Protection
and other provisions”, and Decree 1743 of 1994:
Whereby the Environmental Education
Project is instituted for all levels of formal
education, criteria are set for the promotion
of non-formal and informal environmental
education, and coordination mechanisms
are established between the Ministerio de
Educación Nacional and the Ministerio del
Medio Ambiente.
However, despite the regulatory advances in
environmental matters and the eorts made to
comply with the provisions, the outlook is not
[Some authors] such as Eschenhagen
(2007), Le (2007), Arias and López (2009),
and Noguera (2011) have pointed out that
the environmental crisis is not the crisis of
depletion of non-renewable natural resources
as the discourse has presented of sustainable
development, but rather a crisis of modern
Arhuaco ancestral knowledge as a techno-pedagogical strategy for the development of environmental awareness in fourth-
grade students of Colegio La Sagrada Familia
Keyla Vanessa Ariza Córdoba
María Claris Oñate Quiroz
Rolando Hernández Lazo
culture, of the epistemology with which
Western civilization has understood being
and their environment. (Vargas, 2015, p. 21)
Therefore, it is necessary to develop processes
that recognize the diversity of knowledge
and generate an intercultural dialogue that
contributes to the creation of new knowledge,
behavior patterns, reections, and behaviors
about the environment (Vargas, 2015).
Meanwhile, indigenous communities show
a dierent way of seeing and inhabiting the
world that, in our opinion, poses an alternative
to the prevailing development model and the
transformation of the relationships that some
human beings have established with nature.
Some social groups, globally and nationally,
have proposed alternatives arising from Andean
worldviews and conceptions of life, such as
Sumak kawsay or ‘Good Living’ in Ecuador,
and Suma Qamaña or ‘Living Well’ in Bolivia,
philosophies that claim:
A vision of life in fullness, in harmony and
balance with nature, without a human being
at the center and with happiness that also
goes through a good spiritual life, far from the
industrialist [...] and predatory model, where
accumulation, competition [...], individualism
and the notion of economic value to all things
[...] are the foundations. (Niel, 2011, as cited
in Vargas, 2015, p. 24)
All indigenous peoples [...], although with
dierent denominations according to each
language, context, and form of relationship,
conceive the concept of living well, which can
be synthesized in:
‘Know how to live in harmony and balance;
in harmony with the cycles of Mother Earth,
the cosmos, life, and history, and balance with
all forms of existence in permanent respect’
(Huanacuni, 2010, as cited in Vargas, p. 25).
In Colombia, the indigenous peoples of
the Amazon refer to the concept of living
well [...] when speaking of ‘Returning to
the Maloka’, which is dened as ‘returning
to ourselves; it is to further value ancestral
knowledge, the relationship harmonious with
the environment [...]; it is to protect our
knowledge, technologies, and sacred sites;
it is not to be an individual but a collective
being [...]; it is to take advantage of what the
Western world oers without abandoning its
own social and cultural values, and practices.
(Huanacuni, 2010, as cited in Vargas, 2015,
pp. 25-26)
So, based on an intercultural proposal that has
been raised from environmental education and
the Good Living of each indigenous people,
with their knowledge and ancestral practices of
environmental protection and life in harmony
with nature, the present project seeks to
contribute to the construction of environmental
culture, through a techno-pedagogical proposal
based on Arhuaco ancestral knowledge, aimed at
developing environmental awareness in primary
school students of the La Sagrada Familia School
in Valledupar, who, despite environmental
training received, carry out polluting actions
and aggression against the fauna of the school,
which raises the need to contribute to raising
awareness about the environmental problems
we face today.
Therefore, it seeks to potentiate education
in ecological values and practices that lead
human beings to deconstruct their relationship
with nature that, until now, has generated the
deterioration of many natural ecosystems. In
this way, it is intended to generate a brotherly
relationship with Mother Earth and recognize the
damage done to nature when its resources are
contaminated or abused, against the ancestral
principles that good living and reciprocity
speak to. Likewise, it is important to generate
awareness from the experience and relationship
with Mother Earth, so that all this knowledge is
later multiplied autonomously and voluntarily by
each of the students, in whatever context where
they are.
Given the situation, the following questions
• How a techno-pedagogical strategy based on
Arhuaco ancestral knowledge would facilitate
the development of environmental awareness
in primary school children of the La Sagrada
Familia School in Valledupar?
• How to identify knowledge of the Arhuaco
worldview and their position towards nature
in them?
• How to design a techno-pedagogical strategy
based on indigenous ancestral knowledge,
so that it contributes to developing
environmental awareness in students?
• How to implement a techno-pedagogical
strategy based on knowledge of indigenous
ancestors, that contributes to developing
environmental awareness?
• How to assess the eects generated by a
techno-pedagogical strategy implemented
Arhuaco ancestral knowledge as a techno-pedagogical strategy for the development of environmental awareness in fourth-
grade students of Colegio La Sagrada Familia
Keyla Vanessa Ariza Córdoba
María Claris Oñate Quiroz
Rolando Hernández Lazo
in the development of environmental
To answer these questions, the following general
objective was raised: Develop environmental
awareness through the implementation of a
techno-pedagogical strategy based on the
ancestral knowledge of the Arhuaca indigenous
community in fourth-grade students of Colegio
La Sagrada Family from the city of Valledupar.
To achieve this, specic objectives were
directly linked to the development of each of
the implemented activities, namely: Identify
the knowledge of the Arhuaco worldview and
the position towards nature in the students;
design a techno-pedagogical strategy based
on indigenous ancestral knowledge, which
contributes to developing environmental
awareness in them; implement and evaluate
this strategy.
To justify the investigation, it was taken into
account that the progressive deterioration of the
environment is one of the problems that most
aict not only Colombia, but the entire world,
and the educational sector is no stranger to this
reality since it has entrusted it with the task of
generating processes that lead to awareness
and the generation of pro-environmental values
and practices, which translates into a challenge
for educational institutions, forced to propose
strategies that contribute to conservation and
preservation environment. According to Rengifo
et al. (2012):
Today, in our Colombian society, there is a
need for an environmental education that
persists in knowledge, attitudes, behaviors,
and habits towards the environment, aimed
at making humanity change its classic
conception that nature is a passive and
complacent element, which is automatically
regenerated because it is an innite good,
always available to satisfy the whims of the
human being. (p. 3)
La Sagrada Familia de Valledupar School,
complying with the legal provisions that urge
educational institutions to generate training
processes in environmental matters, has
included dierent environmental contents in its
curriculum, developing environmental education
chairs and annually executing the Environmental
School Project (PRAE), stipulated in Decree 1743
of 1994. However, behaviors that contribute to
the environmental deterioration of the school
have been observed, such as the mistreatment
of animals and plants belonging to the fauna
and ora of the institution, and the inadequate
deposit of solid waste in the respective bins for
this purpose, especially in elementary school
Therefore, the researchers consider it important
to implement educational proposals that
strengthen the aective bond of students with
nature, through the experience of the Arhuaca
indigenous community, generating awareness
and development of values, relationships,
attitudes, and environmental behaviors. With
this purpose, the present techno-pedagogical
strategy is carried out, which, being innovative,
uses ICT tools and directly involves students
in carrying out their activities and generates
greater interest and participation for them,
which produces signicant learning.
This strategy is based on the ancestral knowledge
of the Arhuaca indigenous community, which
allows an intercultural experience that, in
addition to attracting attention and clearing
up doubts, aims to promote environmental
awareness in fourth-grade children, in the
unlearn and learn from a new relationship with
nature, so that later this learning is reected
in practice and in the daily life of each one
of them in any context. In this way, they will
become information multipliers and, with their
practice, they will set an example, generating
environmental awareness in other people, and
applying the principles of ancestral knowledge
on environmental issues.
In the investigation process, works such as that
of Arredondo et al. (2018) in the international
context were reviewed. The authors make a
comparative study in the localities of Chiapas,
Mexico, between experiences and practices of
environmental education in four rural primary
schools of formal school systems and the
alternative educational model that is practiced
within an autonomous school, through school
ethnography and the hermeneutic-dialectical
method of the constructionism. As the strategies
proposed in the ocial textbooks were not
sucient, in daily practices, teachers and external
actors carried out extracurricular activities
that take into account the environmental and
cultural context and put in direct contact the
children with elements of nature, generating
greater motivation, signicance and interest
in environmental issues and the promotion of
knowledge, appropriation, and appreciation of
Regarding the previous investigation, it is
shared that how environmental education has
been developed has not managed to promote
sucient appropriation and social responsibility
in the face of daily environmental problems; in
Arhuaco ancestral knowledge as a techno-pedagogical strategy for the dev