Week 11: Curriculum as Numeracy

1.    At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?

 Back when I was taking mathematics in elementary and high school I was taught that there was only one right way to do things. During todays lecture we were taught that there was more than just one way to do math. One of those ways was verbally. In high school if we did the calculations in our head and just wrote the answer it was considered wrong since we did not show our work. However, with the Inuit way of learning this is fine to do.

 2.     After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.

 A.   Not with pen and paper. Inuit children learn from observing an elder or listening to enigmas.

B.   Oral Numeration. There are multiple ways to say a number depending on the context it is being used in.

C.   Collaborative Research. Students research the knowledge before doing the math. Understanding the work before being forced to do it. Learning the applications for extra reinforcement.


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