Teacher Research Corps 7.0

I teach high school geometry in a public school in Louisville, Kentucky using the College Preparatory Mathematics Core Connections Geometry textbook (CCG). During this past summer, as part of the CPM TRC 7.0 research project, I chose to research rehumanizing mathematics. At the time of my choice, July 2020, I had concerns about how relevant my math class could be for students in times of pandemic and protest. Fellow teacher researchers from Los Angeles, New York City, and Oconomowoc, Wisconsin also chose to investigate the same topic for their high school and middle school math classrooms. With encouragement and support from the CPM TRC Leadership Team, we wondered how we might position students within our curriculum to affirm positive mathematical identities. Ultimately, we hoped by augmenting our student-centered instruction that more, if not all, students would see themselves as capable doers of mathematics.

One concept that I keep returning to throughout this school year has been the metaphor of mirrors and windows. Within the scope of content integration, a mirror is a positive representation of one’s own culture and a window is a positive representation of another culture. To read more in depth, see Emily Style’s work first published in 1988 in the Oak Knoll School monograph, Listening for All Voices. She writes, “Knowledge of both types of framing is basic to a balanced education which is committed to affirming the essential dialectic between the self and the world.” To me, the universal nature of mathematics and its practice of discovering patterns in the world around us demands more conversation.  

One comment on “Teacher Research Corps 7.0

  1. Mollie I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on the last sentence. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how many people might agree with the statement that “mathematics is everywhere” even though it rings a little hollow for them, because although they believe it, they don’t fathom it. Is mathematics everywhere? I’d argue that mathematics is a human endeavor, and so there is no mathematics outside of the mathematics that humans produce. If I don’t see the mathematics in one place or another, is that mathematics there for me? Can I be engaged in mathematical activity if I don’t see my activity as mathematical? In what sense is mathematics universal? Is it universal in that all people do it, no matter if they’ve been educated or not? What benefit do students get, if any, from being told or shown that mathematics is everywhere and that it is universal? What are the implications of these questions for your work inside your classroom? It’s kind of a deep hole, but a fun one!

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