Reflection #9- Curriculum as Literacy

My memories of high school math are seldom revisited due to my poor performance in the subject. All kidding aside, I would have to say that while my experiences in math class were far from oppressive, they may have been discriminatory in the sense that the only accepted form of mathematics was the Western way. Despite being obliged to fit Treaty Outcomes into math class, I don’t recall ever learning any aspects of Indigenous math (or Indigenous culture) during my high school years, which means that my teacher definitely wasn’t inclusive of the required Indigenous content in the class. Either way, I can’t recall anyone feeling left out in math class due to discrimination or oppression. Despite the fact that certain perspectives may have been glossed over, our classroom was usually a positive place to be in.

Within Poirier’s article “Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community,” three main differences between Inuit and Western math occur in the areas of counting, localization, and measuring. Much of European math is based on the “commonsense” knowledge of the base ten system, which is then interpreted simply and complexly through algorithms and formulas to determine measurement and localization. However, Inuit math differs greatly in the sense that it remains simple and practical throughout; measuring is done using body parts as benchmarks, pictures are drawn to determine place, and counting involves a base 20 system. These differences are huge, as Inuit peoples used math practically to survive, while Europeans used to form theories and expand complex fields such as science.

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