How do we share with others (colleagues and students) that mathematics is actually not value- and culture-free? What are your thoughts on (and response to) this question?
When asked why I loved my in grade 12, I responded with “because no matter who you are, where you live, or the differences in your life, math is always the same, 1+1 will always equal 2”. Looking back I cannot believe how wrong I was, but I looking forward I can also not believe how much I have learned and how much learning I have left in my future.
Quinn gave us names and faces to the objections that come from colleagues and in some cases students. We will have people who say numbers are just numbers, that math has no culture, that nothing changes from country to country; all of these arguments can be heard across Canada and worldwide.
Part of advocating for social justice and ethnomathematics is understanding that there are people who will never agree with you. There are people who without hesitation will have the same teaching beliefs, and than there are people who can be convinced with evidence, readings, and logic. These people are the ones that you start with, these are the ones that you can influence to becoming culturally responsive in their pedagogy.
In order to convince people starting with the student who does not understand math, the student who will say “when am I going to use this”, “why does this matter”, “how is this going to help me in the real world”; using ethnomathematics and social justice gives meaning to the math.
Math is culture-free, this is will be true every time you ask the question, until you remove the box that surrounds the concept of math. Math shows progress, it shows growth, and it shows different concepts that are beneficial to students lives. Lindsay gave many examples to how many can be used for social justice, such as analyzing neighborhoods, using it to determine budgets, and understand injustices. Math can push the boundaries, but only if you are willing to think about the culture that guides, influences, and connects the math to life situations.
Math is a link between cultures, it is the link to inspiring those who is put down by societal norms and standards. Teachers who embrace the culture of math, are able to push learning in way beyond students meeting expectations.