Oppression in Math

In my experiences in math during elementary and high school there are many ways in which it came across to be oppressive. At the time I did not realize these things because for as long as I can remember I have always loved math and it had come easy to me so I did not have a problem with the ways in which it was being taught. Now that I look at it from a different lens I see many ways in which it can be problematic to many students. Often teachers only taught one way to get to the answer, when in many, but not all, circumstances there could be more than one way to get to the same final result. Students were always required to learn the specific concept or method and then practice the same type of question over and over until they were ready to take and exam and regurgitate what had been drilled into their heads. Often if students did not understand or could not think and process the methods in the ways the teachers were teaching they were left behind in hopes the next lesson or section would maybe make sense. Another way in which math can be seen as oppressive is if there are students in is if there are students in the class that do not learn well visually, and work better orally because math is almost always taught by reading and writing down questions and answers. Lastly there was not often a lot of context or connection to the real world in what you were doing causing a lot of students to lose interest because they couldn’t see where they would ever use it and apply it to their lives outside of the classroom.

In the reading there were a few ways in which Inuit math challenges the ways of Eurocentric math, these include:

  • Using a base 20 system instead of a base 10 system
  • Using a sense of space to orientate themselves
  • Using their body to make measurements,
  • And using oral method instead of visual methods.
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