Eurocentric Ways in Mathematics

November 15, 2021 4 By Gledi Toci

As a future mathematics teacher, I have a strong love for math. I have been good at it for my whole life, and my favorite part about math is that there is a right and wrong answer. Even when I moved to Canada, I was still able to do the math here very well, considering math is a universal language. Therefore math for me and my friends has never been oppressive or discriminating. Math has been worked on for many years, and I like to think both science and math have the right answers backed up with facts. Therefore math is taught very similarly in all different countries, since taking the derivative of something only has one short way and one long way, and no other way. That goes for almost all math there is only a small section of math where the right answers can vary, and that’s proofs. Students can interpret questions differently and prove given statements differently, something I am experiencing in my Math221 class right now. Even when I have a different way of proving it from the prof, I have managed to still get full marks. In conclusion, as much as math could be Eurocentric influenced, it is still ultimately backed up with years of science, that all connect and are proven to be correct, making math the universal language that it is.

Even though I believe math is universal, there could still be room to share some of the Indigenous perspectives in math. After the reading of Louise Poirier article, I have found three ways in which the Inuit mathematics challenges Eurocentric way. I found out that Inuit mathematics have a base-20 numeral system. This was very interesting and something I never knew about before, making the numbers 20 and 400 pivotal (2010, pg. 57). For some students this way could be easier, and something worth teaching. I also think Inuit way of measuring could be useful to teach. Consdiering its not the most precise, but it still could be useful for when your out and do not have measuring tools. Measuring with parts of your body, is definitely an option, and something I will add and mention in my teaching. (Poirier 2010, pg. 60). Lastly, the calendar is very unique and a way that can be introduced in schools since its unique from “lunar nor solar, since it is based on natural, independently recurring yearly events” (Poirier 2010, pg. 61). This could be a useful way of memorizing each month, and also something that can be integrated into math classes. Overall very interesting, but I do think the bases of mathematics have been worked on for many years, and math has become a universal language.