> 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 listserve.
About your questions:
I > 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 in > 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 919-962-6607 firstname.lastname@example.org