Blog Post #10: Curriculum as Numeracy

Throughout my schooling I never thought about the ways we were being taught were discriminatory or oppressive, especially in Math. I did not think about other ways that Math could be taught because I always thought there was one way to do Math and that is what was being taught to us. I grew up in a school that was dominately white students so it never occurred to us that the ways of teaching might be oppressing other cultures. When reading Little Bear’s Jagged Worldviews Colliding, my eyes were opened to how Eurocentric views dominate the education world. My way of thinking that Math had to be taught in this way (linear, singular, static, and objective approach) was challenged by this article. By teaching in this way it discriminates against people who do not learn in this way and cultures that do not teach this way. By learning other ways of teaching we can adapt to other ways of learning more easily than just focusing on the typical Eurocentric ways of doing.

Within the article ¬†Teaching mathematics and the Inuit community, and Dr. Gale Russell’s lecture they show how Indigenous people’s way of doing Mathematics. The approaches they take in learning are more hands on and not focused on paper and pen work like the Eurocentric approach does. One of these ways is by removing the stressing of having a right answer on paper. They acknowledge that a lot of the time learning can happen without paper and pen. They use hands, feet, and body to do measurements which is more applicable to the real world as measuring devices are not always obtainable. They also try to stay away from using the board to teach but rather focusing on oral teaching. Another interesting way they teach Math is with a base 20 counting system whereas the Eurocentric view uses a base 10 counting system. They use a base 20 because they mainly use hands and feet to count and you have 20 fingers and 20 toes. This is a really simple way of showing how different teaching styles and ways of learning are not wrong and that the Eurocentric teaching system is not always the best way of teaching. Different teaching styles can benefit different student’s ways of learning and can better accommodate to different cultures.

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