- 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?
Looking back at my days of taking math in school, there was only one answer and little diversity in terms of methods for getting those answers. On paper, one could create a list comparing mathematics to colonization, although one is far more significant than the other. I would not say that any of my math experience would resemble aspects of oppression, nor discrimination. Perhaps only minor instances of the teacher telling me I was wrong, or the method I used to get the answer was wrong. This could have suppressed creativity and diversity although I think this is the nature of mathematics as a process. The very nature of math is that there is only one answer, and there are specific ways to get said answer. With colonization, there are far more variables at play.
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.
This Inuit community recognize that like many things math is a social construct, and the topics that are taught are deemed important by authority figures. This Inuit community is looking to use this to teach what their community deems important; this varies from the European priories in math. For example, Inuit students begin their education counting using their native language, rather than French and English. Inuit students are introduced to counting in other languages later in their elementary career. Lastly, Inuit children are taught in the context of their culture, challenging the classic European math implemented in curriculums across the country. For example, some of the math questions include context surrounding their culture. “Imagine that you are an Inuit hunter, in the snow- and ice-covered tundra, at minus 60 degrees. How will you orient yourself? Days afford a few hours of light only, and getting lost far away from your camp or village is” (detrimental)