Cultural Differences, Oral Mathematics, and Calculators in a Teacher Training Course of the Brazilian Landless Movement

  • Gelsa Knijnik
  • Fernanda Wanderer
  • Claudio José de Oliveira
Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)


This paper discusses aspects of a two-year study of a teacher-training course for adult mathematics education organized by a Brazilian landless peoples’ social movement. It takes ethnomathematics as a theoretical framework in which cultural differences are central. The paper analyzes some of the oral mathematics practices that mark the landless peoples’ culture studied. In particular, it discusses a pedagogical process involving the articulation of oral mathematics practices with the use of the calculator, focusing on how pre-service teachers give meaning to their experience and on how cultural differences operated in this setting.


Mathematics Education Teacher Training Adult Education Pedagogical Process Mental Calculation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Behdad, A. (1993). Travelling to teach: Postcolonial critics in the American academy. In C. McArthy & W. Cricholow (Eds.), Race, identity and representation in education (pp. 40–49). New York: Routledge. Google Scholar
  2. Bhabha, H. (1994). The location of culture. London, New York: Routledge. Google Scholar
  3. Carraher, T. N., Carraher, D. W., & Schliemann, A. D. (1987). Written and oral mathematics. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 18, 83–97. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Connell, R. W. (1995). Justiça, conhecimento e currículo na educação contemporânea. In L. H. Silva & J. C. Azevedo (Eds.), Reestruturação Curricular—Teoria e prática no cotidiano da escola (pp. 11–35). Petrópolis: Vozes. Google Scholar
  5. Denny, J. P. (1998). El pensamiento racional en la cultura oral y la descontextualización escrita. In D. R. Olson & N. Torrence (Eds.), Cultura escrita e oralidad (pp. 95–126). Barcelona, Espanha: Gedisa. Google Scholar
  6. Evans, J. (2000). Adults’ mathematical thinking and emotions: A study of numerate practices. London: Routledge. Google Scholar
  7. Gay, J., & Cole, M. (1967). The new mathematics and an old culture. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Google Scholar
  8. Gillings, R. J. (1982). Mathematics in the time of the pharaohs. New York: Dover Publications. Google Scholar
  9. Graioud, S. (2001). Decolonizing theory: Post-tradition as an everyday practice. Paper presented at the International Conference PostColonialismS/Political correctnesS, Morocco (Africa), April. Google Scholar
  10. Hall, S. (1997) Representation: Cultural representation and signifying practice. London: Sage. Google Scholar
  11. Hardt, M., & Negri, A. (2000). Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Google Scholar
  12. Irons, C. (2001). Mental computation: How can we do more? Teaching Mathematics, 26(1), 22–26. Google Scholar
  13. Knijnik, G. (1998). Ethnomathematics and political struggles. ZDM, Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, 30(6), 119–134. Google Scholar
  14. Knijnik, G. (1999). Ethnomathematics and the Brazilian landless people education. ZDM, Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, 31(3), 188–194. Google Scholar
  15. Knijnik, G. (2002a). Ethnomathematics, culture and politics of knowledge in mathematics education. For the Learning of Mathematics, 22(1), 11–15. Google Scholar
  16. Knijnik, G. (2002b). Curriculum, culture and ethnomathematics: The practices of ‘cubagem of wood’ in the Brazilian landless movement. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 23(2), 149–166. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Knijnik, G. (2002c). A perspectiva teórico-metodológica da pesquisa etnomatemática: Apontamentos sobre o tema. In VI Encontro Brasileiro de estudantes de Pós-Graduação em Educação Matemática. A Pesquisa em Educação Matemática: Múltiplos Olhares sobre sua produção. (Vol. 2, pp. 3–6). Campinas, São Paulo: Graf. FE. Google Scholar
  18. Knijnik, G. (2003). Matemática: A etnomatemática na luta pela terra. Caderno de Educação. Educação de Jovens e Adultos 11 (pp. 72–83). São Paulo: Setor de Educação do MST. Google Scholar
  19. Knijnik, G. (2004). Lessons from research with a social movement. A voice from the South. In P. Valero & R. Zevenbergen (Eds.), Researching the socio-political dimensions of mathematics education: Issues of power in theory and methodology (pp. 125–142). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Knijnik, G., Wanderer, F., & Oliveira, C. J. (2004). Etnomatemática, currículo e formação de professores. Santa Cruz do Sul, Brasil: Edunisc. Google Scholar
  21. Larrosa, J. (2002). Literatura, experiência e formação. In M. V. Costa (Ed.), Caminhos inevstigativos: novos olhares na pesquisa em educação (pp. 133–160). Rio de Janeiro: DP&A (entrevista concedida a Alfredo Veiga-Neto). Google Scholar
  22. Lather, P. (1992). Critical frames in educational research feminist and poststructural perspectives. Theory into Practice, 31(2), 87–99. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lather, P. (2003). Applied Derrida: (mis) reading the work of mourning in educational research. Journal of Philosophy in Education, 35(3), 257–270. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lave, J. (1985). Introduction: Situationally specific practice. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 16(3), 171–176. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lidchi, H. (1997). The poetics and the politics of exhibiting other cultures. In S. Hall (Ed.), Representation: Cultural representation and signifying practice (pp. 151–208). London: Sage. Google Scholar
  26. Peet, T. E. (1970). The Rhind mathematical papyrus: Introduction, transcription, translation and commentary. London: Hodder & Stoughton (British Museum 10057 and 10058). Google Scholar
  27. Resnick, L. B. (1983). A developmental theory of number understanding. In H. P. Ginsburg (Ed.), The development of mathematical thinking (pp. 109–151). New York: Academic Press. Google Scholar
  28. Reys, R. E., Reys, B. J., McIntosh, A., Emanuelsson, G., Johansson, B., & Yang, D. C. (1999). Assessing number sense of students in Australia, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United States. School Science and Mathematics, 99(2), 61–70. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rosaldo, R. (1988). Cultura & truth: The remaking of social analysis. Boston: Beacon Press Books. Google Scholar
  30. Scribner, S. (1984). Studying working intelligence. In B. Rogoff & J. Lave (Eds.), Everyday cognition: Its development in social context (pp. 9–40). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Google Scholar
  31. Thompson, I. (2000). British research on mental calculation methods for addition and subtraction. Preliminary reading for the BERA Symposium, University of Exeter, February. Google Scholar
  32. Tyler, S. A. (1992). La etnografía posmoderna: de documento de lo oculto a documento oculto. In C. Geertz & J. Clifford et al. (Eds.), El surgimento de la antropologia posmoderna (pp. 297–333). Barcelona, Espanha: Gedisa. Google Scholar
  33. Veiga-Neto, A. (1998). Ciência e pós-modernidade. Episteme, 3(5), 43–156. Google Scholar
  34. Walkerdine, V. (1988). The mastery of reason. London: Routledge. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gelsa Knijnik
    • 1
  • Fernanda Wanderer
    • 1
  • Claudio José de Oliveira
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS)São LeopoldoBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul (UNISC)Santa Cruz do SulBrazil

Personalised recommendations