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Chapter 7. Mathematics education, cultural practices, and communication*

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Abstract

This chapter addresses the role of students’ cultural practices in mathematical tasks as a means of enhancing discourse and communication in multicultural classes. It starts by presenting the features of mathematical discourse and highlighting their relationship with students’ native languages and cultures. Next, the concept of cultural practices is discussed and framed in the context of mathematics education. Its potential to launch the construction of mathematical meanings is explored. The integration of students’ cultural practices in the teaching and learning of mathematics is illustrated and discussed through the presentation of examples taken from classroom activities. These examples were collected from a research project that used a qualitative methodological approach to study the integration of students’ cultural practices in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Seventh-grade students’ cultural practices such as surfing were adapted and presented as activities that supported the learning of mathematical concepts. The chapter concludes by arguing for the contributions of students’ cultural practices to the development of their ability to communicate mathematically, to use appropriate forms of language, and to connect mathematics to their daily experiences.

References

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