Advertisement

Using Culturally Embedded Problem-Solving Tasks to Promote Equity Within Mathematical Inquiry Communities

  • Roberta HunterEmail author
  • Jodie Hunter
Chapter
Part of the Research in Mathematics Education book series (RME)

Abstract

A disproportionally large number of Pasifika students achieve at lower levels than their Asian and European fellow students in the New Zealand schooling system. However, we know that their achievements and failures are not dependent on their own efforts; they are the product of culturally situated forms of social interaction which they meet in mathematics classrooms. In this chapter, we explore the opportunities and/or barriers which affect the learning of this group of students as they engage in problem solving and mathematical practices in differential ways. We draw on classroom episodes to show how the role teachers take in the classroom is central to how their students participate and communicate effectively in high level and challenging problematic activity. We draw on student voice to provide the many ways they view the disconnect between mathematics in the home and school including views which suggest ‘othering’ of them and ‘whitespace’, and through such practices, they develop a deficit view of themselves and their cultural background. We provide data which illustrates ways on how the home cultures and values can be used as learning tools to empower diverse students (represented in this chapter by the Pasifika students) and the effect this has on their achievement and their sense of empowerment as a user and doer of mathematics.

Keywords

Diverse learners Equity Strength based Complex tasks Contextual tasks Mathematical practices 

References

  1. Ball, D., & Bass, H. (2003). Making mathematics reasonable in school. In J. Kilpatrick, G. Martin, & D. Schifter (Eds.), A research companion to the principles and standards for school mathematics (pp. 27–45). National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: Reston, VA.Google Scholar
  2. Battey, D., & Leyva, L. A. (2016). A framework for understanding whiteness in mathematics education. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 9(2), 49–80.Google Scholar
  3. Betts, P., & Rosenberg, S. (2016). Making sense of problem solving and productive struggle. Delta-K, 53(2), 26–31. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.massey.ac.nz/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=13&sid=f6fe56fe-041c-490f-ad4d-b6e3987da424%40pdc-v-sessmgr06Google Scholar
  4. Bills, T., & Hunter, R. (2015). The role of cultural capital in creating equity for Pāsifika learners in mathematics. In M. Marshman, V. Geiger, & A. Bennison (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia (pp. 109–116). Sunshine Coast: MERGA.Google Scholar
  5. Boaler, J. (1993). The role of contexts in mathematics classrooms: Do they make mathematics more real? For the Learning of Mathematics, 13(2), 12–17.Google Scholar
  6. Boaler, J. (2006). How a detracked mathematics approach promoted respect, responsibility, and high achievement. Theory Into Practice, 45(1), 40–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1973). Cultural reproduction and social reproduction. In R. K. Brown (Ed.), Knowledge, education and cultural change. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  8. Byrd, C. M. (2016). Does culturally relevant teaching work? An examination from student perspectives. SAGE Open, 6, 1–10.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244016660744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Civil, M., & Hunter, R. (2015). Participation of non-dominant students in argumentation in the mathematics classroom. Intercultural Journal, 26(4), 296–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clarke, D., & Roche, A. (2017). Using contextualized tasks to engage students in meaningful and worthwhile mathematics learning. Journal of Mathematical Behaviour, 51, 95.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmathb.2017.11.006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Featherstone, H., Crespo, S., Jilk, L., Oslund, J., Parks, A., & Wood, M. (2011). Smarter together: Collaboration and equity in the elementary math classroom. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.Google Scholar
  12. Freire, P. (1970/2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  13. Gresalfi, M., & Barab, S. (2011). Learning for a reason: Supporting forms of engagement by designing tasks and orchestrating environments. Theory into Practice, 50(4), 300–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Havelková, V. (2013). Jourdain effect and dynamic mathematics, Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education (ERIE 2013) (pp. 182–188). Prague.Google Scholar
  15. Henningsen, M., & Stein, M. K. (1997). Mathematical tasks and student cognition: Classroom-based factors that support and inhibit high level mathematical thinking and reasoning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 28(5), 524–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hunter, J., Hunter, R., Bills, T., Cheung, I., Hannant, B., Kritesh, K., et al. (2016). Developing equity for Pāsifika learners within a New Zealand context: Attending to culture and values. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 51(2), 197–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hunter, J., & Miller, J. (2018). Using a contextual Pāsifika patterning task to support generalisation. In J. Hunter, P. Perger, & L. Darragh (Eds.), Making waves, opening spaces (Proceedings of the 41st Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia) (pp. 408–415). Auckland: MERGA.Google Scholar
  18. Hunter, R. (2013). Developing equitable opportunities for Pasifika students to engage in mathematical practices. In A. M. Lindmeier & A. Heinze (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (Vol. 3, pp. 397–406). Kiel, Germany: PME.Google Scholar
  19. Hunter, R., Anthony, G., & Hunter, J. (2015). Teaching in culturally responsive ways to achieve equitable outcomes in mathematics. In K. Beswick, T. Muir, & J. Wells (Eds.), Proceedings of 39th Psychology of Mathematics Education conference (Vol. 1, p. 171). Hobart: PME.Google Scholar
  20. Hunter, R., & Hunter, J. (2018). Opening the space for all students to engage in mathematical talk within collaborative inquiry and argumentation. In R. Hunter, M. Civil, B. Herbel-Eisenmann, N. Planas, & D. Wagner (Eds.), Mathematical discourse that breaks barriers and creates space for marginalized learners. Rotterdam: Sense.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hunter, R., & Hunter, J. (in press). Maintaining a cultural identity while constructing a mathematical disposition as a Pāsifika learner. In E. A. McKinley & L. Tuhiwai Smith (Eds.), Handbook of Indigenous Education. Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  22. Hunter, R., Hunter, J., & Bills, T. (in press). Enacting culturally responsive or socially-response-able mathematics education. In C. Nicol, S. Dawson, J. Archibald, & F. Glanfield (Eds.), Living culturally responsive mathematics curriculum and pedagogy: Making a difference with/in indigenous communities. Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Hunter, R. K., & Anthony, G. (2011). Forging mathematical relationships in inquiry-based classrooms with Pasifika students. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 4(1), 98–119.Google Scholar
  24. Jackson, K., Gibbons, L., & Sharpe, C. (2017). Teachers’ views of students’ mathematical capabilities: Challenges and possibilities for ambitious reform. Teachers College Record, 119(7), 1–43.Google Scholar
  25. Kazemi, E., Franke, M., & Lampert, M. (2009). Developing pedagogies in teacher education to support novice teachers' ability to enact ambitious instruction. In R. Hunter, B. Bicknell, & T. Burgess (Eds.), Crossing divides, (Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia) (pp. 11–29). Wellington: MERGA.Google Scholar
  26. Lewis, A. E. (2004). “What group?” Studying whites and whiteness in the era of “colour blindness”. Sociological Theory, 22(4), 623–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Livy, S., Muir, T., & Sullivan, P. (2018). Challenging tasks lead to productive struggle. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 23(1), 19–24. Retrieved from http://www.aamt.edu.au/Webshop/Entire-catalogue/Australian-Primary-Mathematics-ClassroomGoogle Scholar
  28. Martin, D. B. (2009). Researching race in mathematics education. Teachers College Record, 111(2), 295–338.Google Scholar
  29. Maua-Hodges, T. (2000). Ako pai ki aitutaki: Transporting or weaving cultures: Research report of field experiences to the Cook Islands. Wellington: Wellington College of Education.Google Scholar
  30. Mauheni, G. (2016). Classroom teachers’ perceptions on the role of non-verbal communication when teaching mathematics to Pāsifika children (Unpublished Master’s Thesis). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University of Technology.Google Scholar
  31. Meaney, T., Trinick, T., & Fairhall, U. (2013). One size does not fit all: Achieving equity in Māori mathematics classrooms. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(1), 235–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Milne, A. (2013). Colouring in the white spaces: Reclaiming cultural identity in whitespace schools. Waikato University: An unpublished doctoral thesis.Google Scholar
  33. Moses, R. P., & Cobb, C. E. (2001). Radical equations. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  34. Paris, D. (2012). Culturally sustaining pedagogy: A needed change in stance, terminology, and practice. Educational Researcher, 41(3), 93–97.  https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X12441244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. RAND Mathematics Study Panel. (2003). Mathematical proficiency for all students: Towards a strategic research and development program in mathematics education. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.Google Scholar
  36. Schoenfeld, A. H. (1992). Learning to think mathematically: Problem solving, metacognition, and sense-making in mathematics. In D. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook for research on mathematics teaching and learning (pp. 334–370). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Smith, M., & Stein, M. (1998). Selecting and creating mathematical tasks: From research to practice. Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, 3, 344–350.Google Scholar
  38. Sullivan, P., Askew, M., Cheeseman, J., Clarke, D., Mornane, A., Roche, A., et al. (2015). Supporting teachers in structuring mathematics lessons involving challenging tasks. Journal of Mathematics Teachers Education, 18(2), 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Turner, H., Rubie-Davies, C. M., & Webber, M. (2015). Teacher expectations, ethnicity and the achievement gap. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 50(1), 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ukpokodu, O. (2011). How do I teach mathematics in a culturally responsive way? Identifying empowering teaching practices. Multicultural Education, 19(3), 47–56.Google Scholar
  41. Wernet, J. W. (2017). Classroom interactions around problem contexts and task authenticity in middle school mathematics. Mathematical Thinking and Learning: An International Journal, 19(2), 69–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations