Supporting Professional Learning to Advance Culture-Based Math Instruction in Standing Rock
Math learning is a cumulative process. As such, a strong math foundation in elementary math is critical for students to successfully transition into and become proficient in later math levels, and to stay on track for high school graduation. Studies in non-Indigenous settings show that a student’s math achievement is related to a host of long-term outcomes, including life satisfaction, health, wages, and employability. Equipping students with the mathematical skills to be successful is a unique challenge for students in Indigenous communities because Western math concepts and procedures dominate the curricular and pedagogical landscape. Balancing Western and Indigenous ways of knowing and learning, and structuring math learning in particular, takes nuance and commitment by all involved. If implemented successfully, culturally relevant and culturally sustaining teaching can connect more students to learning in deeper ways, which can lead to gains in academic skills and can improve student motivation, interest in content area, and student perceptions of learning. This fact sheet presents case studies and selected research to provide more context about how educators might work to Indigenize student learning in math classrooms. In addition, the fact sheet provides information about the kinds of professional learning supports educators and schools might need to shift instruction to better support Indigenous learners.
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