Using Ethnomathematics Principles in the Classroom: A Handbook for Mathematics Educators
Forbes, Wendy Ann
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The alarming underperformance in mathematics of many students worldwide and the economic implication for a global society have taken residence in the highest offices across nations. This has pressed researchers, administrators, and educators to seek better pedagogical practices that fit the description of diverse classrooms and equip students with the requisite skills to advance in the global marketplace. Recent research unveiled that traditional approaches to teaching mathematics do not convey meaning making and exclude students from many cultural groups. However, such approaches still prevail in many classrooms and have proven to be perennially challenging to dismiss. Many mathematics educators, therefore, advocate for more meaningful and inclusive practices using ethnomathematics principles. Ethnomathematics, expresses the relationship between mathematics and culture (D’Ambrosio, 2001). Acknowledging the need for better practices in classrooms worldwide, this project extracted the major themes of ethnomathematics from an extensive literature review and used them to compile a teaching and learning handbook with culturally sensitive teaching strategies. The handbook was designed to provide mathematics educators with research-based information to help them to develop curriculum, activities, tasks, and instructions so that mathematics may be meaningful to all students. Since the literature reveals that tasks bridge the between teaching and learning, the handbook culminates by exemplifying how its content can be applied to create culturally rich mathematics tasks, using the backward design planning process.