Culture, Social Interaction, and Mathematics Learning

By Pourdavood, Roland; Carignan, Nicole et al. | Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Culture, Social Interaction, and Mathematics Learning


Pourdavood, Roland, Carignan, Nicole, Martin, Belvia K., Sanders, Michael, Focus on Learning Problems in Mathematics


Abstract

The research report investigates connections between five 3rd garde students (one African American boy, one African American girl, one Caucasian girl, one Asian boy, and one Middle Eastern boy) belief, attitudes, and practices about mathematics and their parents' expectations. In addition, the study examines the relationships between the social interaction of these five students on mathematics learning and their mathematical dispositions. In search of a viable understanding of the above situations, constructivist inquiry was used. In this paper we discuss students' attitudes and beliefs towards themselves and towards mathematics, parents' expectations, classroom social norms and sociomathematical norms, and the teacher's role for establishing classroom culture.

Culture, Social Interaction, and Mathematics Learning***

In any culture, people share language, place, traditions, and ways or organizing, interpreting, conceptualizing, and giving meaning to their physical and social world. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 2001a) acknowledges the importance of culturally relevant mathematics by stating that "social condition, social tradition or culture, and social goals influence student learning ... However, a student's social traditions or culture may either coincide or conflict with classroom norms for student activity, student conduct, and student-teacher interactions" (p. 7). In the case of conflict between a student's culture and classroom social norms, the student may or may not accept the classroom social norms and may or may not be able to adapt to the school environment. Therefore, that conflict may impact the student's learning mathematics. On the other hand, a sensitive teacher may observe the student's cultural patterns and develop activities that accommodate the student's learning. In this type of situation, the student and the teacher come to a mutual understanding and agreement. NCTM (2000a, 2000b, 2000c; 2001a, 2001b, 2001c) suggests recognizing and valuing students' cultural heritage significantly influences students' mathematical learning.

In this study, we use social interaction to mean norms and values negotiated and established implicitly and/or explicitly by the members of a local community (i.e., teacher, students, and parents). In this sense, understanding students' backgrounds is crucial for mathematics teaching and learning. As D'Ambrosio (2001) observed, "An important component of mathematics education today should be to reaffirm, and in some instances to restore, the cultural dignity of children" (p. 308).

There is a body of research focusing on the notion of ethnomathematics. According to this perspective, contributions made by people from various non-European cultures (i.e. Arabs, Asians, Hispanics, African Americans, etc.) for mathematics advancement have not been given the attention they deserve (Ascher, 1994; Bishop, 1991; D'Ambrosio, 2001; Frankenstein, 1995; Nunes, 1992; Orey & Rosa, 2001; Secada, 1992; Zaslavsky, 1973). Zaslavsky (1973) asserted that the study of ethnomathematics would benefit all students who "learn to respect and appreciate the contributions of peoples in all parts of the world" (p. 309).

This research study focuses on five 3rd grade students' (one African American boy, on African American girl, one Caucasian girl, one Asian boy, and one Middle Eastern boy) beliefs and practices towards mathematics learning as they interacted with each other in problem solving, reasoning, communication, and mathematical representations. In addition, the study explored their parents' beliefs and values about education and attempted to examine the relationship between parents' expectations of their children's mathematics education and students' mathematics learning.

The five students were selected within a larger classroom community of 28 students. They had been working together from the beginning of the school year and were comfortable expressing their feelings and views among themselves. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Culture, Social Interaction, and Mathematics Learning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.