The role of the tribal elder in teaching calculus through an ethnomathematics lens

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The role of the tribal elder in teaching calculus through an ethnomathematics lens

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10355/13938

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Title: The role of the tribal elder in teaching calculus through an ethnomathematics lens
Author: Riggs, Robert
Date: 2012-04-19
Publisher: University of Missouri--Kansas City
Abstract: In action research study I was the classroom teacher of high school-aged African American students participating in the six-week summer portion of the Reach Up program. The purpose of Reach Up is to help students improve study skills, build confidence, motivation, self-discipline, maturity and better grades so that they can go to the college of their choice. Students selected have demonstrated academic promise, are “first-generation” college students, and have been selected from the city's urban core high schools. This study examined the relational and instructional dynamics that took place in the classroom in which the curriculum was developed through an ethnomathematical lens. Ethnomathematics is grounded in the Freirean model of valuing the intellectual contributions of marginalized cultures and using these contributions to teach for liberation. This study introduces the culturally responsive strategy of teaching as the “Tribal Elder.” A Tribal Elder is one who is a leader in the community, who knows how to navigate the outside world to ensure survival, is related to the students by kin, and is trusted by the students and their parents. How these relations were built, while at the same time engaging the students in high-level mathematics is reported. It was hoped that unpacking my teaching and investigating from the inside would lead to further development of the theory of the mathematics teacher as Tribal Elder in the classroom and could then be emulated by others.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10355/13938

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