Learning Indigenous, Western, and Personal Mathematics from Place (2010)

This study looks at the impact of learning from place on young Aboriginal students’ sense of engagement as they study mathematics.

The authors note that in Canada, Aboriginal postsecondary enrolment and completion rates are significantly lower than those of non-Aboriginals, particularly in disciplines involving science and mathematics. Aboriginal student achievement in Kindergarten-Grade 12 math courses is significantly lower than those of non-Aboriginal students. However, mathematics can become more relevant for Aboriginal students when it is linked to the environment around them through place-based education.

For their study, the authors prepared four lesson plans that focused on similar triangles, trigonometry, coordinate geometry, and topography for use in a Grade 9 class at a First Nation school in Alberta. They investigated students’ experiences of indigenous, Western, and personal mathematics by collecting data through an initial focus group, four lesson assignments, and a concluding reflective writing assignment. For this paper, they analyzed data from one student, and presented the results as a case study.

The results suggest that learning from place can be used to intertwine indigenous, Western, and personal mathematics. The student acknowledged the importance of indigenous mathematics that reflected a worldview of Aboriginal peoples. He demonstrated a robust understanding of the Western mathematics concepts, while his personal mathematics involved his ability to observe and explain location, using both indigenous and Western mathematics.

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APA citation
Gladys Sterenberg and Theresa McDonnell. Learning Indigenous, Western, and Personal Mathematics from Place 2010. Web. 26 Nov. 2020 <http://en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/learning_math/learning_math.pdf>
Gladys Sterenberg & Theresa McDonnell (2010). Learning Indigenous, Western, and Personal Mathematics from Place. Retrieved November 26, 2020, from http://en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/learning_math/learning_math.pdf
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