ECS 210 Blogs

Curriculum as Numeracy

When thinking back to my experiences of mathematics, I always thought of it as a positive experience. I never really struggled with math and never really took into considerations more about the curriculum and what could be included in the math classroom. We were always given one strategy to use for math and I never found any problem with it. I understood the concepts and that was all that mattered, of so I thought.

Through reading Jagged Worldviews Colliding my perspective on mathematics curriculum changed. Through the reading it highlighted the holistic worldviews of the Indigenous people. This gave me a greater sense of what we are missing out on when we are only learning in one (Eurocentric) curriculum viewpoint. by having this narrow minded view, we are receiving a narrow minded education. On page 82 of the reading Leroy Little Bear talks about how the Eurocentric system is much more linear and static compared to the Indigenous way of knowing. This reading highlights the value in incorporating different ways of knowing.

The reading Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community challenges the Eurocentric view of mathematics. One of the challenges it talks about is mathematics as culture (Poirier, 54). In school I have heard the comments about how math is a universal language, it is the same everywhere. Poirier writes about how Inuit schools are breaking those moulds and learning mathematics in their language. However, due to this approach, there has been a gap in education. It is important for us as educators to be sensitive to this gap and help to teach math in a more holistic way, with numerous ways of knowing.

Another challenge that the Inuit community is providing in comparison to Eurocentric views of mathematics, is the importance of spatial relations (Poirier, 55). Spatial relations is an important component of Inuit mathematic ways of knowing, however, it is not as important to Eurocentric worldviews. There are numerous benefits to adopting knowledge of spatial relations in math and our curriculum should make effort to embody those ideas.

A third challenge is in the learning methods (Poirier, 55). Eurocentric views resort mainly to textbook, paper and pencil type approaches. In comparison, Inuit views are more holistic and work on problem solving through experience.

There are benefits and challenges to both approaches to mathematics, however, it is important that as teachers we look at both views when creating curriculum. When it comes to mathematics, there are diverse needs for each student to succeed. By having the resources and knowledge to teach for numerous learning styles is important and mandatory as an educator.

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