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Rochelle Gutiérrez

Rochelle Gutiérrez

Title: Mathematx: Towards a way of Being

The relationship between humans, mathematics, and the planet has been one steeped too long in domination and destruction. What are appropriate responses to reverse such a relationship? How do we do work now (inside and outside of schools) that will reverberate and touch the lives of future generations? Drawing upon Indigenous worldviews to reconceptualize what mathematics is and how it is practiced, I argue for a movement against objects, truths, and knowledge towards a way of being in the world that is guided by first principles--mathematx. This shift from thinking of mathematics as a noun to mathematx as a verb holds potential for honouring our connections with each other as human and other-than-human persons, for balancing problem solving with joy, and for maintaining critical bifocality at the local and global level.

Biographical note:

Rochelle Gutierrez works on equity issues in mathematics education, focusing primarily on how race, class, and language affect teaching and learning. Through her in depth analysis of teaching/learning communities and pre-service teacher education she suggests that it is not sufficient for teachers to have sound subject matter knowledge, pedagogic skills or knowledge of diversity among learners. Her recent research focuses on developing in pre-service teachers, the knowledge and disposition to teach powerful mathematics to urban students; the roles of uncertainty, tensions, and "Nepantla" in teaching; and the political knowledge (and forms of creative insubordination) that mathematics teachers need to effectively teach in an era of high-stakes education.


Tony Trinick

Tony Trinick

Title: The role of mathematics in supporting the revitalisation of indigenous languages and cultures

Scholars writing from social justice perspectives identify a range of issues associated with the imposition of Western mathematics on indigenous groups. One of them is the concern that education system that assumes students from minority groups should be taught subjects such as mathematics only through the majority group or dominant language. This is because the language used in schools, as in wider society, is closely bound up with issues of “access, power and dominance”. As Māori mathematics educators, we now see a more positive role for mathematics in our Māori-medium schooling system, particularly in the revitalisation of our endangered language which is something of a paradox considering its use to initially suppress the indigenous language and culture. I report on our various first-hand experiences, initially at the grassroots level of teaching, developing lexicon and resources to serve our daily needs, to our roles at the national level of education including national curriculum developers. Ironically, the impetus (and state support) to develop Māori-medium mathematics curricula and language can be strongly linked to the status of mathematics in the school curriculum in Aotearoa/NZ. Thus, we have utilised mathematics as a vehicle to support the revitalisation of our language and our culture. However, there are still a range of unresolved issues in the development of the Māori-medium mathematics. Drawing on the work of Nancy Fraser (2005) I critique these developments. I hope our experience and learning can help other indigenous groups and ministries who may be considering elaborating their indigenous languages to teach Western mathematics.

Biographical note:

Tony Trinick's work is significant for its engagement in different aspects of the teaching and learning of mathematics in the medium of Maori. His research on the complex relationship between the Maori language te reo Maori and mathematics, and the development of the mathematics register are important for countries like India which still have vast number of children studying in vernacular mediums. His research also focuses on student achievement in Maori medium mathematics and the factors that support and impinge on student progress.


George Joseph

George Gheverghese Joseph

Title: Comparing Mathematics of Different Cultures: Differing Preoccupations, Proofs and Practices

In this talk, I propose to examine critically the ways in which different mathematical traditions of the past have been characterised by historians of mathematics. A litmus test of a valid mathematical practice today is 'proof' and a number of criticisms have been levied against certain traditions because of the perceived absence or lack of rigour in their proof procedures (seen today as the litmus test of whether we are "doing" real mathematics or doing it well). By taking specific examples, I propose to examine the validity of these criticisms and indicate the relevance of alternative proof traditions today. Further, such an examination is often compounded by certain deeply seated historiographic bias in Western scholarship, a complex product of colonialism and hellenophilia. While there is no intention to rehearse the argument relating to the nature and origin of this bias, it is important that this bias be recognised and countered in any attempt to “recover and reclaim the world history of science”.

Biographical note:

George Gheverghese Joseph was born in India, and even though he moved to Kenya at a young age, a significant part of his work on the cultural and historical aspects of mathematics focuses on Kerala mathematics. Some of his best known books are 'The Crest of the Peacock: Non European roots of Mathematics', 'A Passage to infinity: Medieval Indian Mathematics from Kerala and its Impact' and 'Kerala Mathematics: History and Its Possible Transmission to Europe'. His teaching and research have ranged over a broad spectrum of subjects in applied mathematics and statistics education.


Cabral & Baldino

Tania Cabral and Roberto Baldino

Title: Promotional Assessment: A Symptom

How is it possible to look at concrete exclusionary school practices that 'qualify some and disqualify others' without realizing that promotion/exclusion only becomes effective when a certain symbol is officially attached to the name of a student? How is it possible to let go without saying that promotion/exclusion can only be based on assessment-evaluation of mathematical content ability? How is it possible that the specialized literature never deals with the consequences of assessment-evaluation to the lives of the students? We argue that these are not due to a temporary blindness of mathematics education research but, rather, that we are dealing with a symptom – one which we endeavor to treat from the perspective of psychoanalysis and economics.

Biographical note:

Tania Cabral and Roberto Baldino are jointly known as "The Cabraldinos" by their students. Their research draws heavily from the theories of Hegel, Marx, Lacan and Zizek. Their work on how capitalism shapes mathematics education to contribute to the production of qualified labour power that capitalist markets need is significant considering the kind of value mathematics has in school education. Presently, due to the economic crisis, they have brought to the fore the consideration of school as a place of economic production in order to shed light into classroom situations so as to portray students' math learning difficulties.

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