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Cultural Relevancy and Math Achievement It ’ s understood that mathematics is the gateway to higher education, and that statistically, African American.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Relevancy and Math Achievement It ’ s understood that mathematics is the gateway to higher education, and that statistically, African American."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Relevancy and Math Achievement It ’ s understood that mathematics is the gateway to higher education, and that statistically, African American boys fall far below their classmates in math proficiency ( Muhammad, 2003, Noguera, 2003, Snipes & Waters, 2005 ), thus having fewer opportunities to participate in classes that prepare them for college. An interesting question that arises is Could it be that students’ lower achievement is a direct result of the way they are taught and tested? Are there untried methods of instruction that might bolster students’ ability to access the content and demonstrate their mathematical understanding?

2 Snipes and Waters (2005) suggest that one cause of the poor math performance of African American students is that there is a disconnect between classroom instruction and the students ’ home environments and their culture; the curriculum does not reflect the life experiences of these students. Perhaps their instruction in mathematics is not culturally relevant.

3 It’s a Social Justice Issue If mathematics is a gatekeeper, what happens to students when the gate is locked?

4 ROAD TO RESEARCH

5 Pilot Study Raises ?s When I posed a question about poetry as a vehicle for increasing math achievement to teachers I met through my work as a language arts mentor, they expressed an interest in studying this together. We undertook a pilot study during the school year, reading articles, and engaging in conversations around race, assessment, and achievement. We did some preliminary classroom observations, interviewed students, and experimented with a variety of instructional practices (including poetry, rhyme, and rap). Schmoker (2011) stresses the critical connection between numbers and words, and the necessity of incorporating language literacy into mathematics instruction. Creating literate/mathematical thinkers is central to the teaching of math; studying the impact of new methods of instruction may serve as a powerful new vehicle for reaching previously challenged or under-achieving math students. The pilot study grew into a research project resulting in my doctoral dissertation.

6 Research Question How does teacher inquiry focused on mathematics instruction and culturally relevant pedagogy impact the attitudes and instructional practices of elementary teachers at a title 1 school?

7 Research Question What changes, if any, do teachers report in their teaching of math throughout the inquiry process?

8 Research Question What connections do teachers in an inquiry group report between their study and their elementary students’ ability to demonstrate mathematical understanding?

9 A CASE STUDY What Can Teachers Learn? Data Collection transcripts of facilitated group conversations, coded and analyzed one-on-one self-assessment dialogues, coded and analyzed

10 WE MUST RETHINK TRADITIONAL MATH INSTRUCTION “You do not study mathematics because it helps you build a bridge. You study mathematics because it is the poetry of the universe. Its beauty transcends mere things.” ~Jonathan David Farley

11 It’s more than number sense

12 It’s complicated... This is about questioning what others believe to be true. What we learned before allows us to move on to what we can see next. We must always keep thinking and asking new questions.

13 Open the gate to the future by closing the achievement/opportunity gap

14 tml Kathleen M. Moore, Ed.D. Curriculum Coordinator San Ramon Valley Unified School District Words Matter


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