What's New at NCSM-Equity and Social Justice Corner
How is social justice envisioned in the context of the mathematics classroom? In the February Call for Action on Equity and Social Justice, the North American Study Group on Ethnomathematics presented two articles-one that offers a new model of thinking about promoting diversity in STEM and another that provides real solutions for the classroom.
The "pipeline" analogy for K-12 students' paths to STEM careers implies that along the way students "leak" out and drop out of STEM-focused classes. Many of those students are from under-represented populations: women, students of color, students of a lower socio-economic status, and from as yet undefined groups. Attempts to "plug" the leak miss the point. The authors ask us to abandon the pipeline analogy and instead focus efforts on the pathway to STEM participation in a systemic approach and generative justice frames the new approach. Generative justice is a more intimate, community-focused perspective which invites the mathematics into the community and finds ways that mathematics can be elicited from known activities and practices within the same community.
By developing and teaching lessons for mathematical thinking directly from the local social ecology, the teacher can tap into the richer funds of knowledge that already exist. In practice, this means that teachers find out what students and their communities already know and do, and find the mathematics in those activities rather than attempting to superficially imprint the mathematics onto the culture. But generative justice also positively impacts the community by building the mathematical capacity of its members.
There is a difference between the "shallow tricks" of the old model of multicultural instruction and exploring meaningful mathematical practice within indigenous cultures. The authors caution readers against three ways that teachers inadvertently address indigenous cultures poorly:
Trivial connections that dress up word problems "in ethnic garb" and use low level tricks such as counting to 10 in another language;
Investigating an ancient empire rather than a contemporary culture, as if the mathematics of the contemporary culture is not worthy of attention;
Teaching by "instructionist" rather than constructivist methods (Eglash et al., no date).
The second article for the month of February offers teachers and leaders tools and strategies, through the vehicle of statistics, to address issues of equity and social justice. Not only does the article offer advice on directly addressing statistical content, it offers advice to teachers for including social justice projects in their current teaching contexts. Finally, there are directions to an extensive list of data sets.
Suggested questions for reflection and conversation are:
The "pipeline" model for STEM diversity is at best like oil production, taking kids out of their low-income communities for use elsewhere. What alternative models might be available?
How does statistics inform questions of equity and justice?
How do concepts of equity and justice in turn create rich vehicles for teaching concepts of statistics?
We encourage you to continue to participate in the conversation on Twitter #EQSJMATH @mathedleaders and on Facebook (mathedleadership).
Forthcoming in Rankin, Y and Thomas, J.
Moving Students of Color from Consumers to Producers of Technology
, IGI Press
What's Happening in Mathematics Education
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Welcome to the February 2017
The NCSM eNews is published monthly. Please consider forwarding this eNews to a colleague-let's get everyone involved in the conversation! Spring is just around the corner...
Babette M. Benken, eNews Editor
Message from the NCSM President, John Staley
Mathematics Leadership in a Time of Change: Now is the Time to Stay Focused!
The past two months have definitely been a time of change as we have welcomed a new president and secretary of education. During times of change we often find ourselves caught up in the whirlwind of distractions. McChesney, Covey, and Huling (2012) stress the importance of "narrowing your focus to a few highly important goals so you can manageably achieve them in the midst of the whirlwind of the day job," (p. 24).
So, during this time I remind myself daily of
my Why, my One Thing, and
the importance of staying focused. Focusing on:
Personal, local, and immediate issues that are within my sphere of influence.
Supporting leaders as they work with educators to make mathematics more meaningful, relevant, and accessible for all students.
Self-care as I seek to maintain spiritual, emotional, social, mental, and physical balance.
Here are just a few ways I have found that help me stay focused:
Monitor your daily input.
Consider how you are feeding your mind? TV, news Twitter, Facebook, books/articles/blog, and people. The things you watch, read about, and topics you engage in lengthy conversations about have a way of becoming a part of you.
Monitor your output.
Consider the words you are speaking to yourself (self-talk) and others, as your words have a way of becoming habits and eventually driving your actions (and too often reactions).
Monitor your distractions.
Consider the things you label as urgent. I believe life or death situations require urgent actions. For all other situations, take a moment to breathe, think, and then act. Too many urgent items cloud or distract us from our true focus.
Focus! Our students are depending on us.
Looking forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio!
McChesney, Covey, & Huling. (2012).
The 4 disciplines of execution.
New York: Free Press.
Time to Grow Professionally with NCSM!
Mathematics Leadership in a Time of Change: Building Leaders at all Levels
NCSM is striving to provide year-long professional learning opportunities that follow the theme of Mathematics Leadership in a Time of Change: Building Leaders at all Levels utilizing It's Time and PRIME resources. Please join us for one or more events! We will update final details by April 2017.
2017 Summer Leadership Academy
What: Summer Leadership Academy
Where: TBD, Bangor, Maine
When: July 24-26, 2017
2017 Fall Seminars
The Summer Academy is about
the Teaching and Learning Leadership Principle. Threaded throughout all professional learning opportunities will be shifting mindsets and beliefs about teaching and learning mathematics.
NCSM Welcomes Four New Affiliates
In October and January, the NCSM Board approved our new affiliates.
Welcome to the -
All four organizations will be receiving their certificates of affiliation at the NCSM Business Meeting at the Annual Conference in San Antonio.
Pre-registration Deadline is March 15!
It's almost here! We can't wait to see you at the 49th NCSM Annual Conference, April 3-5, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, Texas. There are two outstanding pre-conference session on Sunday afternoon, April 2. Check them out! This is your opportunity to hear speakers such as
Anita Bright, Graham Fletcher, James Tanton, Rodrigo Jorge Gutierrez, and Halla Jmourko. On Wednesday morning our breakfast will focus on networking, another first!