The Afrocentric idea in Mathematics Education: Teaching beyond Boundaries
Presentation: Kwesi Yaro
Session F | 11:50- 12:30 | Location: Room 1004
The knowledge and experiences of Africans living in diaspora are usually absorbed into the categories of other minority groups and people of colour in general (Tillman, 2002). Some scholars have expressed concern that mainstream education have almost always framed communities of colour as “deficient” (Anderson, Anderson, Friedrich, & Kim, 2010). This “deficit” perception about students of colour contrasts efforts to ensure culturally responsive education that acknowledges diverse cultural views and strategies as useful resource in learning. As mathematics educators, how do we recognise, appreciate, and draw on different cultural perspectives in designing lessons for diverse group of students in our classrooms?
In this presentation, I will draw on Asante’s (1991) notion of “Afrocentricity” to explore how Afrocentric tenants could be employed as a pedagogical framework for teaching mathematics to students of African descent and other marginalised groups. Afrocentricity is a “frame of reference wherein phenomena are viewed from the perspective of the African person (Winters, 1994). Afrocentric perspective challenges the wholesome claims of universality and political neutrality of knowledge and assumes that Africans and other marginalised groups possess cultural experiences worthy of intellectual pursuit and their experiences are unique and can prove instructive about human interactions and learning. It is known that language, daily practices including interactions are culturally and contextually influenced and they contribute to how students make meaning of concepts in classroom situation (Asante, 1990b). Hence, mathematics education for students of African descent and other cultural groups cannot be devoid of their cultural, historical, political and economic backgrounds.