I am almost certain that math was taught in my school years in oppressive and/or discriminatory ways, but I honestly cannot recall. The reason any pedagogical inequity hasn’t stuck with me is likely due to my privilege; I was not learning disabled, neuro-divergent, or otherwise exceptional. I struggled what I would say “the normal amount” when approached math. I don’t know what normal actually is in this regard, but it didn’t come easy to me, and I didn’t have an excessive amount of difficulty to practice and learn the concepts.
Poirier’s article outlines research done by members of the Kativik School Board, and it addresses the ways in which these students were having difficulty in mathematics. The students didn’t learn English or French until the third grade, and their number system is a base20 system, which is a great divergence from the base10 system that is more widely used. Thanks to the work done through this project, the students continue to use their first language, Inuktitut, during their work with mathematics in the third grade. there is also a divide between their lived experience and the content of their mathematical studies. The methods of teaching are also very different. making the switch from their first language into English, in regards to mathematics, very difficult. The number system in Inuktituk is an oral system which complicates the switch to the Eurocentric math. There is also a different measuring system which does not have a clear equivalence in “western” mathematics. There is a strength with these students when it comes to spatial representation, however, this is not valued in their current curriculum. From the different teaching methods, to the language barriers, this is a challenging switch for these young students.