Re(righting) mathematics education: changing students' attitudes towards mathematics through Indigenous knowledge and worldview
Master of Education
SubjectIndigenous focused lessons and pedagogies
Indigenous Knowledge highlighted mathematics
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This study explored the impacts of incorporating decolonizing, Indigenous focused lessons and pedagogies in a grade 9 (Ontario) locally developed (LD) classroom on students’ attitudes towards mathematics. A reform-based mathematics lesson with Indigenous content and a decolonial approach was implemented into a grade 9 LD classroom. The goal of the study was to observe a change in student attitudes towards mathematics when this style of an indigenized lesson was implemented, as compared to typical daily curricular activities in most LD mathematics classrooms. Observations were taken of the class both before and during the indigenized lessons. One student was interviewed in a semi-structured format both before and after the lesson. The student was asked what they did and did not enjoy about the Indigenous Knowledge (IK) highlighted lesson, how they felt about the incorporation of IK in mathematics, and how they would compare the lesson to their regular daily activities in mathematics class. The teacher of the class and the student support personnel (SSP) were also interviewed for their unique points of view and to provide further observations of students during the IK lesson. Artifacts of regular classroom work were also collected to provide an accurate comparison of typical curricular activities before the implementation of a reform-based, Indigenous-focused, decolonial lesson. The analysis of the data revealed a positive change in student attitudes, engagement and enjoyment when the regular classroom pedagogies were disrupted with a reform-based, IK highlighted, decolonial lesson. A limitation of this study was the small sample size due to multiple logistical constraints. A longitudinal study with more reform-based, IK-highlighted lessons and multiple sections of LD mathematics could provide more insight into the impacts, challenges and benefits of implementing these types of lessons and pedagogies for social change and improved reconciliation in education.