My experiences with any mathematics class have been nothing more than triggering and negative in a sense that I was never good at it therefore I did not care about it. When receiving a lecture about it, I was completely turned off and refused to listen because of this experience. When I was in my early years of school, when they brought forth a new textbook called “Math Makes Sense” there were many cases in which I found the content discriminating because of its main focus. In every textbook there were chapters dedicated to that of Indigenous peoples, but as discussed in lecture, none of it was addressed in full for the simple reason that I do not understand. We would read out the chapter and title but never go into detail the aspects of why the chapter was written the way it was and the content that was discussed. As professional and smart that my math teacher was, he never went into full disclosure of the textbook content and would leave us to fend for ourselves with lessons and questions that were to be completed before the test. In a way I think this was discriminating towards myself and the other students but at the same time it wasn’t because people of my race and culture were excessively included and talked about within the materials. Nothing in my eye was ever cruel or oppressive in teaching or content but I also speak from a role in a dominant society where my culture and ethnicity is well represented in all classrooms and curriculum content including textbooks and other materials.
Three ways in which the Inuit community challenge Eurocentric ideas are as follows:
- They teach mathematics in their mother tongue for the first three years of child schooling to incorporate their own culture. They believe that their everyday life has nothing to do with the mathematics that they learn in school and believe that it isn’t something that can solve their problems. Separate from that, in a Eurocentric point of view, I was taught that mathematics would be something I would use every day for the rest of my life and there are very few things that I actually use from my mathematic experience of school.
- As said before, they learn mathematics in their mother tongue from Kindergarten to grade 2 and then from Grade 3 onwards, they learn it in either French or English. More recently they have made it official for them to also learn their mother tongue in Grade 3 as well for a further understanding and a continue further on.
- Teaching methods are also what set apart the Inuit from the Eurocentric because they use Elders to teach enigmas which are then used as problem solving within the mathematical context. They ask questions in which the children/students will know and understand rather than get them to figure out something they do not. This was something I struggled with in school. My teacher would assign questions followed by bonus questions. I would understand the questions but when it came to the bonus, my thought process and knowledge of what was being asked failed because I was not able to think outside of the box.