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

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


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.


Diverse learners Equity Strength based Complex tasks Contextual tasks Mathematical practices 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand

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