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In-Between Critical Mathematics Education and Ethnomathematics.The Case of a Romany Students’ group Mathematics Education.

Boekbijdrage - Boekhoofdstuk Conferentiebijdrage

In this paper we want to explore the field of mathematics education that focuses on the social context. Research on the social dimension of mathematics education - the cultural, societal and institutional level - is mainly done in the field of Critical Mathematics Education and the field of Ethnomathematics. Even though Ethnomathematics is a critical research program and a critical practice regarding mathematics education, in literature it is still considered different from the so-called Critical Mathematics Education (Vithal & Skovsmose 1997). In a first theoretical part of this paper we will investigate the historical growth, and the differences and similarities of Critical Mathematics Education and Ethnomathematics. We will argue that in spite of the different historical background, the two fields are now converting to each other based on their similarities, being a critical attitude and the focus on the social dimension of mathematics education.

In the second part of the paper we present the results of an empirical study searching the association between cultural context and mathematics teaching/learning in a Romany students' class. The data were selected through ethnographical techniques -participant observation and interviewing. For understanding and interpreting culture and cognition issues in the classroom, the research was expanded by examining the students' community of origin: visiting their homes, and observing their family's activities. As the findings indicate Romany students come to school with a rich corpus of informal mathematical knowledge differentiated of the main stream students' one due to their cultural peculiarities -semi nomadic way of life, socio-economic organization, language's orality etc. Teachers and the state in general ignoring or diminishing this background knowledge due to the marginalization and the inclusion of Romany students. Not only their educational identity is affected by this but also their social identity. The demand for improvement of their aptitude on mathematics education and their social role is both an ethnomathematics issue and an issue of Critical mathematical education.

This empirical research on mathematics education of Greek Romany students will bring an example of a research practice that situates itself in-between Critical Mathematics Education and
Ethnomathematics. This case study will bring an argument for a growing communication between the two approaches and the fruitfulness of their collaboration.
Boek: Proceedings of the International Conference on Critical Education. Organized by the journals: Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies (UK), Cultural Logic (USA/Canada), Kritiki (Greece), Radical Notes (India). Hosted by the Department of Education, University of Athens, Greece 12-16 July 2011, Athens, Greece.
Jaar van publicatie:2011
Trefwoorden:Ethnomathematics, Education, Critical Mathematics Education, Greek Romany students
  • ORCID: /0000-0002-5405-4229/work/74306557