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Topic: Re: principle of necessity, etc
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Posts: 2
Registered: 12/4/04
Re: principle of necessity, etc
Posted: Jul 23, 1996 12:50 PM
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In response to your request:

> I would appreciate you sharing on the listserve your model for modify
> pedagogy in a way that takes into account students' cultural heritage. I
> would especially be interested in how you address the following beliefs.

As I indicated, I am working on a cultural model for mathematics
instruction--it is incomplete. The model involves changes in teacher
attitudes, pedagogy, and curriculum, as do most instructional models.
But this also includes how teachers can help students become more
responsible. The model includes cultural congruent mode of instruction,
culturally relevant pedagogy, and culturally liberating curriculum. The
mode of instruction allows us to enter the world view of the child, the
relevance gives students the ability to question, and the liberation or
emancipation gives students the ability to be life time learners. As you
can see this model is not indigenous to mathematics learning. Any
subject can be taught using this model. Lisa Delpit describes how
research as used a similar model in the third article of her recent book,
"Teaching Other People's Children."

I presented a preliminary paper on this topic at NCSM in San Diego called
Issues of Culture. As soon as it is ready, I will share it with this

About your questions:

> would especially be interested in how you address the following beliefs.
> One, students should be seen and not heard; professors should profess.
> Two, it is not important to learn mathematics if you are not interested

> a job that requires much mathematics.
> Three, women do not need to learn mathematics.

I'm not sure we are talking about the same context. You are asking me
to address statements (beliefs???) about who should do mathematics and
how they should do it. I'm talking about including all of our students
in the mathematics community. I am talking about allowing students to
find joy in learning mathematics rather than rejection and pain that
many experience. We have to find the correct door, albeit by way of
culture, style or some other factor, to help every student learn
mathematics without making the mathematics trivial. I am talking about
changing our pedagogy. Your questions are asking me to respond to
existing beliefs, norms, and the resulting attitudes.

The first question that I had was: Whose beliefs are these?

On students and professors:
There are cultural factors involved in the authoritian or student
centered nature of schooling. Lubbeck did a study that looked at cultural
implications of instruction in a middle class day care and a head-start
day care. It showed that teachers used culturally familiar models in the
classroom interactions. Students were taught as they learned at home.
There were major differences in how teachers organized instruction, and
in how students responded to the instruction. Who are we to judge? If
students believe that they are to be seen and not heard, and teachers are
to teach--Start there and help the students extend their views and
experiences to where we think they should be. You don't have to agree
with the culture, you have to acknowledge and respect it.

On mathematics in jobs:
I'm not sure this is a cultural situation. Did I miss something?
This is a general education problem. Help me understand what you are
asking here.

On Women and mathematics:
Yes, this might have cultural roots. As we address this we are again
trying to change attitudes and also improve practice. I have been working
on this problem for many years. We can change mathematics instruction
that reinforces this statement; we can encourge and enable women to think
about mathematmics as careers. But...One of the most important lessons
that I learned when I was teaching in Milwaukee in the 1980s was that
teachers encounter great difficulty when they try to impose their
cultural or social views on children of families with opposing views. If,
for cultural or religious reasons, a family does not want their brilliant
daughter to go to college and pursue mathematics, I would be very careful
in trying to change that decision. It may not seem fair, but my "world
view" may not be shared with the family. I have to respect their family
and its culture.

Carol E. Malloy
UNC-Chapel Hill

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