Culture affects mathematics learning by shaping students’ attitudes and beliefs towards math, influencing the ways in which they approach problem-solving and mathematical reasoning, and impacting their access to resources and support for math education.
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Culture plays a crucial role in shaping the way we approach mathematics learning and the level of success we can achieve in it. Attitudes and beliefs towards math vary across cultures, and these differences can heavily influence the way students approach problem-solving and mathematical reasoning. A study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics found that cultural factors impact students’ beliefs about mathematical ability, their motivation to learn math, and the value they place on math education.
According to the research, cultural beliefs regarding mathematics learning tend to fall into one of two categories: fixed or dynamic. In cultures where mathematical ability is seen as a fixed trait that one is either born with or without, students may be less likely to put effort into overcoming math challenges. Conversely, in cultures where mathematical ability is seen as something that can be developed through hard work and perseverance, students may be far more motivated to work through difficult math problems.
The cultural factors that impact math learning go beyond beliefs and attitudes. Socioeconomic status, access to resources, and the availability of support for math education are all factors that can affect a student’s ability to succeed in math. For example, students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may not have access to the same quality of math resources that students from wealthier backgrounds do. Similarly, students who do not have access to strong math teachers or who attend schools that do not prioritize math education may be at a disadvantage.
In the words of Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, “Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character, well then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.” This idea is particularly relevant to mathematics education, as a fixed mindset towards math ability can discourage students from striving to improve their math skills.
In addition to the impact of cultural attitudes and beliefs, there are also notable differences in the ways that math is taught and learned across different cultures. For example, some cultures place a strong emphasis on rote memorization as the primary method of learning math, while others prioritize problem-solving and analytical thinking. These differences in approach can have a significant impact on students’ ability to succeed in math.
Overall, it is clear that culture plays a significant role in mathematics learning, affecting everything from attitudes towards math to access to resources and support. By recognizing the influence of culture on math education, educators and policymakers can take steps to create a more equitable and effective math learning environment for all students.
Table: Cultural Factors Impacting Math Education
|Cultural Factor||Impact on Math Education|
|Beliefs about mathematical ability||A fixed mindset may discourage students from striving to improve math skills.|
|Socioeconomic status||Lack of access to quality resources and strong math teachers.|
|Availability of support for math education||Students without support may be at a disadvantage.|
|Method of teaching/learning math||Differences in approach can impact student success.|
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Shelly Jones talks about the importance of culturally relevant pedagogy in mathematics and shares examples of how it can be integrated into the curriculum. She emphasizes that learning in the classroom is not enough, and students must have access to knowledge in a familiar and safe social context to challenge injustice. Jones discusses a framework for creating culturally relevant math lessons and recommends using resources from figures such as Bob Moses, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Peterson and Gutsen. She suggests using a rubric to assess the level of cultural relevance in math tasks and engaging students with entry points like popular media.
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In mathematics education, ethnomathematics is the study of the relationship between mathematics and culture. Often associated with "cultures without written expression", it may also be defined as "the mathematics which is practised among identifiable cultural groups".
The cultural landscape of the schools is in constant evolution. Teaching mathematics therefore requires knowledge of the everyday social and cultural contexts of the students. Each student carries his/her own mathematical knowledge, other than school knowledge, pertaining to his/her own culture.
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Just so, Can math be affected by culture?
Ancient Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Islamic, and Chinese cultures have contributed to mathematical expressions, formulas, and theories. In return, they have each been solidly impacted by mathematics.
Regarding this, How is mathematics linked to culture? Mathematical concepts based on cultural perspectives allow students to not only reflect and appreciate their own culture but also the culture and traditions of others. The involvement of members of the community is an essential part of the integration of cultural components into mathematical activities.
Why is math not dependent on culture? Answer to this: Mathematics: IS independent of culture, because a mathematical fact or equation can be true anywhere in the world, but the tools and methodologies used to teach/share/communicate in mathematics can be influenced by culture.
Beside this, What is cultural relevance in the math classroom?
Answer to this: Culturally relevant mathematics teaching engages and empowers students, helping them learn and understand math more deeply and make connections to themselves, their communities, and the world around them.
Keeping this in view, Does culture affect student mathematics achievement?
To sum, this study not only contributes to going beyond the “East-West” dichotomy, which has confirmed the effect of culture on mathematics achievement across 51 countries, but also advances our knowledge in identifying the exact cultural value (long-term orientation) which affects student mathematics achievement.
Beside above, How does culture affect learning?
As a response to this: “It’s very difficult to separate issues of culture and learning,” he says. For example, culture and language can have a tremendous impact on the way a child learns to count. “Practices within a culture affect understanding,” he explains.
Besides, Do practices within a culture affect understanding? “PPractices within a culture affect understanding,” he explains. As part of his research, Taylor studied elementary students’ understanding of mathematics in a lower-income African-American community. These students often stopped at the corner store after school to purchase snacks.
One may also ask, Why is mathematics taught in a classroom?
The mathematics lesson observed in a classroom is a result of thedidactic transposition(Chevallard, 1991; Chevallard & Bosch, 2014 ), which is exposed to different cultural factors (called conditions and constraints) that shape the nature of mathematics teaching and learning.
Also to know is, Does culture affect student mathematics achievement? To sum, this study not only contributes to going beyond the “East-West” dichotomy, which has confirmed the effect of culture on mathematics achievement across 51 countries, but also advances our knowledge in identifying the exact cultural value (long-term orientation) which affects student mathematics achievement.
Likewise, How do culture and language affect children’s learning? For example, culture and language can have a tremendous impact on the way a child learns to count. “Practices within a culture affect understanding,” he explains. As part of his research, Taylor studied elementary students’ understanding of mathematics in a lower-income African-American community.
Similarly, Is mathematics a cultural phenomenon?
Response will be: A possible explanation for the uncertainsolution is that mathematics is considered as a cultural phenomenon. To understand such a cultural phenomenon, we may first need to know the relationship betweenculture and mathematics.
Also Know, How can culturally diverse students learn math? Experiences of community, traditions of oral language and dance, and incorporating elements of local and native language are all ways to deepen the connection between math instruction and culturally diverse students. Dr. Jim Ewing is an assistant professor and author of the book Math for ELLs, As Easy as Uno, Dos, Tres.