Math Experiences

When I think back to my former math experiences I do not think of it being oppressive or discriminatory at the surface. After reading Jagged Worldview Colliding it was brought to light to me that, yes, math can be oppressive or discriminatory.  One example that was most prominent in my math experience was the fact that math is either right or wrong. I can relate this to my Chemistry classes I have taken as well. There is only one right answer and if you do not achieve that answer you are wrong. For me, I loved math as it was a subject I was good. For other students not so much. In my Calculus class in high school, my teacher would go at the speed of learning only a select few students could follow. This left many students behind and not able to grasp the content being oppressive to students who may learn in different ways than just notes and at a slower rate.

While reading the article Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community I was very shocked and intrigues.  When thinking about math I always thought it would the same worldwide but that is not the case in the Inuit community.  Three ways they Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes of mathematics and the way we learn is are:

  1. The difference in numbering and measuring: Inuit mathematics teaches students to measure with space and distance.
  2. The difference in mathematic literacy: Potentially making it more difficult for Inuit to understand Eurocentric math as their language is very limited.
  3. The difference in tracking time: For the Inuit, they track time on the natural, independently recurring yearly events.

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Author: Tori Stelmachowich

I am a first year education student at the University of Regina

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