You can’t just “add culture and stir”

The title of this post is a quote from the paper How to tell the difference between multicultural mathematics and ethnomathematics (Eglash, 2001).  The paper is from the NCTM 2001 national meeting and identifies the difference between adding trite, multicultural comments into mathematics questions and truly understanding the idea of ethnomathematics.  The goal of ethnomathematics is to place mathematics learning in authentic contexts for specific populations.  The paper is written from the perspective of ethnic minorities in the United States, however it extrapolates well to the discussion of mathematics and Indigenous students.  The paper states that:

… ethnomathematics directly challenges the cultural stereotypes and genetic myths most damaging to both minority and majority ethnic groups.” (p. 2)


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