I was the type of math student who got fairly good grades but had to work really hard to get them. In my grade 11 year I probably spent 70% of my lunch hours getting extra help so I could maintain my good grades. I think that there will always be a variety of students in math classes, students who math comes easy to and they love it and students would rather be doing literally anything else then math. When listening to the Ted talk given in this week’s instruction what he says makes sense, I think that everybody has mathematical skills. However, to a certain extent, as someone who struggled with math you cannot convince me that everyone was born to be a mathematician. When looking back on my experiences of just learning mathematics, not teaching for I haven’t had any experiences having to do with teaching them yet, but what comes to mind when I think of oppressive or discriminating aspects I think of the subtle things in the text book that might’ve been racist or use sexist language. I know in my high school textbooks they always referenced treaties or first nation people and their teepees. Going off from what I’ve learned in the past couple years we’re always told in our classes you cannot make observations or examples like that without being disrespectful. On the other hand, I know I’ve had classes discuss this in high school we have pointed those types of questions out because it is obvious how disrespectful they are. Another aspect is in every single textbook it didn’t matter which subject they always made a point to have multiracial pictures of children as much as they could which is a good thing however the fact that my teachers pointed this out to us like it was a big deal seemed rather odd.
I did not know that Inuit mathematics used such different strategies I found that very interesting, especially since in many cases people consider math to be very one way, it’s not like English where you can attack it from any angle. Math is very step by step but reading Poirier’s article was fascinating. Three ways in which the Inuit challenge Eurocentric ideas of how we learn mathematics are, they use different forms of measurement such as body parts and their sense of smell, they relate math to present situations or things. I know that I can understand things better when they are related to things, I am familiar with, so I thought this was very smart. They also use base-20 when it comes to their numerical system, I think that this would be challenging for someone who is not used to it. All of these things are all very different from Eurocentric ideas, I cannot picture learning or practicing math this way. I am also surprised that I did not know any of this before I think it would be interesting to explore new ways of math in school just to get a new perspective as a student.