Math teachers in Ontario are invited to take part in a two-day annual retreat in February to deepen their understanding of Indigenous mathematics.
The event is called Exploring the Power and Potential of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Mathematics and is being hosted by the Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association (OMCA).
Math educators and leaders from across Ontario are being given the opportunity to “deepen their understanding of incorporating Indigenous knowledge systems to enhance - and transform - the teaching and learning of mathematics for all students.”
Throughout the two days, educators will explore how “mathematics, along with other subjects, are not exempt from colonial bias and harmful practices that lead to inequities in student achievement.”
Furthermore, educators will learn how “Indigenous knowledge systems, pedagogies, and methodologies can enhance and support the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts” because “educational spaces can uplift Indigenous knowledge systems and create transformative learning for all students.”
Also on the agenda is the showcasing of a new resource, Lessons From Beyond, which includes connections to the new Grade 6-8 Ontario mathematics curriculum. The session will also contain tips and strategies on how to work with “Indigenous knowledges without appropriating, minimizing, or tokenizing.”
The idea that math is racist has been circulating for some time now. In September last year, Heather Theijsmeijer, a Canadian teacher, drew media attention for saying that "There are many math education practices that we (white folk) don't see as racist or supremacist, because they are so ingrained in our background and experiences (and we have been the ones to benefit from them.)"
Ontario’s new math curriculum released in 2021 stated that mathematics “is often positioned as an objective and pure discipline. However, the content and the context in which it is taught, the mathematicians who are celebrated, and the importance that is placed upon mathematics by society are subjective.”
"Mathematics has been used to normalize racism and marginalization of non-Eurocentric mathematical knowledges, and a decolonial, anti-racist approach to mathematics education makes visible its historical roots and social constructions,” it continued.
This new approach to teaching math isn’t just confined to Canada. In California, critical race theory has been injected into the math curriculum and educators are instructed to “apply social justice principles to math lessons.” This is somehow supposed to close the achievement gap between racial groups.
Math teachers don’t just have to incorporate critical race theory into their lessons. They also need to ensure that they are teaching gender identity ideology as well to create a supposedly safe and inclusive environment for “LGBTQ+” students.
In a recently published blog post titled "How Do We Make Math Class More Inclusive of Trans and Non-Binary Identities", an activist educator recommended a data collection activity in which male and female were accompanied by options such as “other” and “intersex,” with a separate gender category containing “agender, genderfluid, female, male, nonbinary, transman, transwoman, and other.”
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