1. 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?
2. 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 of mathematics and the way we learn it
In elementary school, I really struggled with math and my teacher seen me struggling but passed me anyway. When I got to High School math was challenging for me I was never good at math, to begin with, and my teacher did not want to help me it felt like. I would ask him for help then he would respond “well what do you need help with?” I replied usually with “I don’t understand any of it” he said “Well I cannot help you if you don’t tell me what you need help with” I felt stupid and walked away. I was never confident with my math and I ended up failing my ninth grade math. The teachers began to think I had a learning disability and started putting me through tests lowering my self-esteem. They found out through the tests that my math developmental level is grade three math… when they said that my heart dropped and I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. I realized the fact that everyone was moving forward and I was falling behind some of the students in my class knew I was struggling but told me I will make it through. When I did not make it through I didn’t even want to look at my other classmates.
three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes of mathematics and the way we learn it.
- Inuit use base-20 whereas European use base-10
- Inuit teachers do not ask a student a question for which they think that student does not have the answer.
- Inuit use natural ways to do math like their calendar they let nature takes its course how long one month depends on how long it takes for a natural event to take place associated with each month are everyday activities that men and women repeat each year