Curriculum as Numeracy

Looking back on how mathematics was taught and learned while I was at school, there are certain aspects that discriminated or oppressed students in class. The ‘singular social order’ that math follows, doesn’t allow for deviation form the norm in class. Students have to do it the ‘right way’ following the process that they have been taught and not thinking about mathematics in terms of relationships but thinking of it in its abstract form of numbers and formulas. I can think of many times in my schooling where students who did not do it the teachers way were automatically wrong despite the work they did being correct. Knowing that mathematics is not universal, although we are all mathematical beings, people are able to understand and do math in different ways and should not be discriminated against for finding alternative ways to do questions.

 Inuit Mathematics presents how math is universal, but unique to all different groups and types of people. Traditional western worldviews support the idea of linearity, having a step by step process that leads you to a final product that is static and unchanging by using abstract equations and tests to test your abilities. The indigenous worldview is based in relationships, and the natural world. This worldview allows for a much deeper understanding of mathematics as you are able to find connections between the real world, the math you do and how the different things you do in life and the different things in mathematics are related. For example, Inuit mathematics has a much wider vocabulary for the number of things, because they take the context of the situation into account in every situation. The playing card three has a different name from a group of three, which is different from three different objects. Event the base twenty system Inuit mathematics use is rooted in the natural world. As Gale stated in her lecture, the Inuit people usually discussed the amount or quantity of things inside their igloo, not outside in the cold. Inside the igloo it is very warm so the Inuit people often wear little clothing in the igloo. Their base twenty number system with subgroups of five is based on all the digits they have when in an igloo ten fingers and ten toes, divided into four subsections of five, for each hand and foot. The Inuit approach to mathematics and the indigenous worldview they align with allows them to think about mathematics as an addition to the way of life. Mathematics is deeply rooted in their understanding of the natural world.

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