- At the beginning of the reading, Leroy Little Bear (2000) states that colonialism “tries to maintain a singular social order by means of force and law, suppressing the diversity of human worldviews. … Typically, this proposition creates oppression and discrimination” (p. 77). Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?
In my Elementary school, I did not hard on math because the math was easy in lower grades, I never reviewed for math because I was able to understand it in the class time. For writing the assignments and the exams, I just needed to remember the ways to solve questions and I could get high marks. After I went to middle school, math started getting harder, we were no longer deal with the simple computation problems and the topic of trigonometry became the most difficult topic for students to learn. I realized math is not as easy as the elementary school one, so I concentrated in the class and studied harder. I had math assignments every single day, which helped me to keep practicing the new questions and reviewing the old questions. Although our math teachers warned us that math in middle school would not be as easy as before, I could still get good marks for assignments and exams. Until we had a new math teacher, he thought to do so many questions was not good for middle school students, so he only gave us a few typical questions to practice every day. I was not doing quite well on math at that time because I did not spend much time reviewing old questions and I could barely understand what my math teacher was talking about in the class. I was upset about my marks because I thought I did not have talent in math and I could only solve mathematics questions by reviewing the ways to solve questions.
After I graduated from grade 9, I went to Canada and I started grade 10 in a Canadian high school. On the day to schedule my courses, I said to the councillor that I want to pick mathematics course, but my Chinese friend and his mum laughed at me because there’s no point to study hard on math since we are in Canada, there were so many fun courses to learn rather than mathematics this boring subject. And my mum came to heel, she said why would I pick it, there’s no point. I was upset at that moment because my mum did not support on my side. But I still insisted to pick the math course, and I did so well in mathematics in my entire high school life. And now I am a second-year mathematics major student, I did not regret the decision I made in grade 10.
- After reading Poirier’s article: Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.
First, language is a big issue for Inuit students to through in an English or a French speaking classroom.
Second, the Inuit people believe that math is originated from our daily life, so they may not understand some mathematics topics due to a lack of real-life applications.
Third, the traditionally Inuit teaching of mathematics was “based on observing and elder or listening to enigmas” (page 55), and I did not see it perform well in the Canadian classrooms.