The article I chose is titled "How Do I Teach Mathematics in a Culturally Responsive Way?". This article stood out to me immediately solely because of the title at first, but as I started reading I realized it was the perfect article to do my assignment on because it introduced the purpose of the article so quickly. Within the first few paragraphs I saw that this article was going to inform me of so many ways to teach culturally diverse students in a culturally responsive way. The first introduction paragraph is a quote from a middle-school mathematics teacher in an urban school and in her quote she talks about struggling with teaching mathematics to her students in a culturally diverse way. She explains that she is aware that she has to respect her students' cultures by celebrating them, but her students are still not successful in mathematics and she wants to understand why. She ends her quote by asking how she can teach mathematics in a culturally diverse way which leads perfectly into the rest of the article.
This article focused on culturally responsive pedagogy, which is teaching children in a such a way that they can easily respond and be successful in learning. Mathematics used to be taught with right or wrong answers, and only one correct answer. However, these kinds of strategies have proven to not be successful for urban students, thus proving the need for a different approach. A popular concept called "afrocentrism", which is locating students within their own cultural reference while teaching and learning, is very valuable in classrooms. This article talks about how if teachers fail to teach mathematics while connecting the students learning with their experiences and traditions, they will not have an empowering mathematical experience.
One of the strategies of teaching culturally responsive material was to help the students create a mathematically identity. Creating a mathematical identity gives the students confidence that they can not only learn math but be successful in it as well. Creating this identity for themselves destroys the belief that they cannot learn math or be successful. While the students are creating mathematical identities, teachers much also develop faith in themselves so that they can convey culturally responsive math to their children and they must also have faith in their students' ability to learn math.
The most important strategy in this article was for teachers to learn and understand more about the aspects of their students' cultures. Aspects such as ethnicity, race, gender and socioeconomic background are an important part of a students' culture and contribute greatly to their success in math. With things such as ethnicity, culture, race, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds, teachers must be careful not to confuse these things with stereotypes or offensive content. If teachers were to unintentionally offend a student in any way with attempts to make the teaching culturally responsive, it could have the opposite effect on the student and their learning. It is important that the teachers not use any sort of derogatory language when creating word problems in mathematics. A good example of integrating culture into mathematics without being offensive is asking questions related to culture before even introducing the math problem. For instance, asking students their favorite musical albums or artists engages the students in a cultural way that is unique to each student and hooks their attention as you transition into math. After the students have answered the question, the teacher can then work with them to relate it to math and come up with word problems related to their personal culture. This method also allows for a smooth segue into conversations about social, political and economic topics in the community. At the same time, it can also open doors for conversations about job and leadership opportunities for the students.
Apart from direct teaching strategies there are also ways that teachers can practice culturally responsive teaching that do not include the presence of the students. These ways include reflection questions after a day of school to gain knowledge and a better understanding of how the day went and how their students performed and adapted. Some of the questions include "Who is learning math in my classroom and who is not, why and why not?" or "How was I responsive to each of my students today?". These kinds of questions help a teacher gain better insight to the overall flow of the classroom and allow them to improve on their culturally responsive strategies. Aside from these techniques there are other culturally responsive teaching strategies such as inquiry-based and cooperative learning, which include mostly student guided learning. These methods and strategies proved very valuable when more students were thriving in mathematics over the course of the study in this article.
The cultures that were a part of this study were African American, Asian American and White, and the purpose of the study was to help these students in different ways with culturally responsive pedagogy. Although I myself am Hispanic, I still fall under the minority category in relation to other cultures, so this article was not much different from my own culture. Growing up my schools were mostly diverse, so I do not recall having any trouble learning mathematics, but this article made me realize what a huge part culture plays in it.
In conclusion, this article informed me of lots of different strategies and techniques on how to teach mathematics in a culturally responsive way and better understand how my culturally diverse students will learn in my future classroom. The techniques of posing questions about culture and interests to better understand the students helps teachers to understand more about the students overall and help relate math to each student uniquely in a way they will thrive and be successful.
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