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.
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.
Title: Mathematics education: Its role in the revitalisation of Indigenous languages and cultures
Scholars writing from social justice perspectives have previously identified a range of issues associated with the imposition of Western mathematics on Indigenous groups. Collectively, some of the major concerns are: the claim that mathematics is culture free, when in fact mathematics has been one of the most powerful weapons in the imposition of Western culture (Bishop, 1990, 1991); that the political dimension of mathematics is often ignored in regard to marginalised cultures which raises ethical and moral issues (D’Ambrosio, 1985); and that education systems often assume that students from minority groups should be taught subjects such as mathematics only through a majority or dominant language (Barwell, 2003). This is because the language used in schools, as in wider society, is closely bound up with issues of “access, power and dominance” (Barwell, 2003, p. 2).
Paradoxically, schooling in Aotearoa/NZ and mathematics education has played a pivotal role in first supporting te reo Māori loss and then in the modern era, its revitalisation. Māori mathematics educators have utilised mathematics as a vehicle to support the revitalisation of the language. This has been aided by the high status of mathematics in the school curriculum in Aotearoa/NZ generally. I report on our various first-hand experiences, initially at the grassroots level of teaching and then the national level, developing lexicon, curricula and teacher capacity to teach mathematics in the medium of Māori. Drawing on the work of Nancy Fraser (1995, 2003, 2005), I critique these major mathematics education developments from a social justice perspective.
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 Gheverghese Joseph
Title: Different Ways of Knowing
- Styles of Argument in Greek and Indian Mathematical Traditions
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”.
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.
Tania Cabral and Roberto Baldino
Title: The Social Turn and its big enemy: a leap forward
The socio-political movement called the Social Turn in mathematics education has alerted people to the use of mathematics as a factor of social exclusion. The political efficacy of the movement as a driver of change relies on the degree of indignation that it is able to provoke. We suggest that, instead of a having long discussion to define a minimal positive agenda on which we all could agree, perhaps we can set a maximal negative agenda by eliciting a discourse that we all would spontaneous and promptly reject. In this article, we create a character that would utter such discourse, and call it the Big Enemy, paraphrasing George Orwell. It is an entity incapable of showing any indignation when confronted with the charges of the Social Turn; on the contrary, it maintains that school is as it should be. We present a hypothetical dialogue between BE and Mrs. Smith, a teacher and researcher devoted to the directives of the Social Turn. Our argument is based on economic principles and Lacanian psychoanalysis.
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.