1. Think back on your experiences of the teaching and learning of mathematics — were there aspects of it that were oppressive and/or discriminating for you or other students?
2. Teaching mathematics and the Inuit Community, identify at least three ways in which Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas about the purposes mathematics and the way we learn it.
For me, I believe that my learningn of mathematics was very oppressive. We had one way of learning, which was from the textbooks. The textbooks were created why white settlers, therefore meaning that it would be based on what they believe… not allowing other cultures perspectives to be mentioned. The textbooks were packed with specific assignemtns and lessons, that there was absolutely no room for teachers to teach anything besides what was in that book. Before reading the articles and listening to Gale’s presentation, I didn’t even know that there was a different way of learning. And for me, I feel as though I was ripped off… I wish I would’ve had the opportunity to explore the different ways of mathematics.
There are many ways that Inuit mathematics challenge Eurocentric ideas…
Firstly, Base 10 vs. Base 20. I have always been taught that we use base 10, and that’s it. There is no othere way to do it. However, there is. When first hearing about it, I thought it was absolutely crazy but after Gale explained, it actually makes a lot more sense – there’s more reasoning behind it. The Inuit way doesn’t just cound our fingers (10) but also counts our toes (10), which means a simple base of 20.
Secondly, The Inuit people have different names for each number. Which is interesting to think about because in the Eurocentric view, there’s is only one word for each number. Since Inuit people have many different ways of saying numbers, they need to learn each way.. which makes the language very complex and maybe sometimes confusing.
Finally, Inuit people also challenges the Eurocentric way by the way they use the calendar. The Eurocentric way is very black and white; the calendar is always the same, and the seasons change depending on the month. However Inuit people decide which month it is and when each month ends depending on the ways of nature.