Curriculum as Numeracy

Thinking back on my experiences with math in school, most of them are not very positive because of the school I was attending and the multiple grades in the classroom. Math was a difficult subject for me because we often had to learn from the textbook and that was tough for me to do. I also had the same math teacher almost every year which was sometimes a problem because she would only explain and teach concepts in a way that made the most sense to her but I sometimes would not understand that way. As a student I would get very frustrated with math and she often made it a completion with things like mad minutes or she would give a treat to the person who would finish first but this was not a good learning method for me because I would just memorize things and not actually learn how to actually solve math problems. The math I learned as a student was only Western European but we also only had white Western Canadian students in our school so it was oppressive to any other learning cultures learning style but it also fit with the back ground of our students. I do think that if we did have different cultures, I would have still been taught the same way because my math teacher was an older teacher that only wanted to teach the way she had learnt. I struggled to learn math from an objective and linear perspective because I was good at memorizing, I was able to do better in other subjects such as science and history. I could not wrap my head around learning math in only one way and that may be the reason why I struggled with math. In science there is many ways to solve a problem and so seeing different ways made that subject easier for me.

This was an interesting blog post for me because I loved that is challenged the norm of math for most people. I took particular interest in this blog post because math was a really big challenge for myself in school. As is for many other students as well so getting the opportunity to rethink what math can be and how I can better teach it to my future students is changing my mind set and approach to math. The first thing I identified differently about teaching math from Gale’s lecture was instead of trying to solve a problem with a pencil and paper, he related math to finding patterns in our environment relating it back to what we have knowledge about and what we are interested in. I related to when Gale showed the patterns from our veins and arteries, then he explained further about how math is rooted into us and our everyday life. Finding patterns and turning that into a math lesson made think about teaching methods which was the second thing I noticed that challenged Eurocentric ideas of math. The teaching methods for the Inuit math are molded or based around the children and how they learn best not how adults think children should learn which is the Eurocentric idea. For example, learning math in their mother tongue instead of learning a whole new language just to learn math, which seems a little backwards to me. Even the idea doing math on paper because the Inuit language is very oral so trying to make the children learn by writing is probably more difficult for them to learn because as of up until the time when Inuit children started school they have been taught orally. The final thing I noticed about Inuit math that challenged the ideas about Eurocentric math was the way they use their sense of space to educate. On page 58 and 59, in the article Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community they discuss the importance of one’s sense of space. I think learning math through your own sense of space is a great way for all children to learn because everyone has their own environment and space, incorporating that in sense of self into any learning is beneficial. The example the article used about travelling and using the directions to help teach children math is very important because it can be applied to any child, in any setting. I personal think it is hard for children to learn from just a pen and paper so teaching through real situations that children experience every day is the best way for children to optimize their education.        

Hello I'm Chelsey Wolf, I grew up in Wapella, Saskatchewan. I grew up on a farm and I am the second oldest of six children. I have a loving being outdoors and I really love softball. I am on the University of Regina softball Cougars team.

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