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?

Oppression was present for me as well as other students. For me in school math always scared me. I always struggles to do mental math and figure out the problems and so on in my head without working it out with the long equations so I would always take a long time to do my math. I only took the math that I absolutely needed and nothing more than that because I knew that it was not my strong point in school. I found that we were only taught one certain way of learning math and it was expected to be understood by everyone. It was not the case for me. Most of the time I would not understand the particular way that the teachers would try to show us therefore I was not always successful in math in school. After reading the article it was apparent to me that my teachers were using an oppressed way of teaching. In university I thought it was so important how we learned so many different ways to learn math.

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.

Inuit students learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide in base twenty. I thought this was very interesting when I first heard this because when I tried learning math in these different ways, I found it very difficult to understand. When Gale was explaining why they do that, it started to make more sense.

The first measuring tools were the body. They would use a finger, a hand, a foot, etc. to measure the length of something. Today, you do not see this type of measuring very often but it does exist. For example horses are measured in hands and Inuit women still use their palms when making parkas.

The Inuit calendar is also different, it still has the months although the length of the month can vary. For example, the meaning of September in Inuktitut means “when the caribou’s antlers lose their velvet”, that number of days can change since it depends on the days it takes for caribou to shed their velvet antlers. The calendar is neither lunar or solar because it is based on a natural reoccurring yearly event.


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