This can be used to argue that these mathematical concepts are being discovered rather than created. However, others emphasize that the usefulness of mathematics is what tends to conceal its cultural constructs. Naturally, it is not surprising that extremely practical concepts such as numbers and counting have arisen in all cultures. The universality of these concepts, however, seems harder to sustain as more and more research reveals practices which are typically mathematical, such as counting, ordering, sorting, measuring and weighing, done in radically different ways see Section 2.

One of the challenges faced by researchers in this area is the fact that they are limited by their own mathematical and cultural frameworks.

The discussions of the mathematical ideas of other cultures recast these into a Western framework in order to identify and understand them. The majority of research in this area has been about the intuitive mathematical thinking of small-scale, traditional, indigenous cultures including: Aboriginal Australians , [31] the indigenous people of Liberia , [32] Native Americans in North America, [33] Pacific Islanders , [34] Brazilian construction foremen, [35] and various tribes in Africa.

An enormous variety of games that can be analyzed mathematically have been played around the world and through history. The interest of the ethnomathematician usually centers on the ways in which the game represents informal mathematical thought as part of ordinary society, but sometimes has extended to mathematical analyses of games. It does not include the careful analysis of good play—but it may include the social or mathematical aspects of such analysis.

## Beliefs: A Hidden Variable in Mathematics Education?

A mathematical game that is well known in European culture is tic-tac-toe noughts-and-crosses. This is a geometrical game played on a 3-by-3 square; the goal is to form a straight line of three of the same symbol. There are many broadly similar games from all parts of England , to name only one country where they are found. Another kind of geometrical game involves objects that move or jump over each other within a specific shape a "board".

There may be captures. The goal may be to eliminate the opponent's pieces, or simply to form a certain configuration, e. One such game is nine men's morris ; it has innumerable relatives where the board or setup or moves may vary, sometimes drastically. This kind of game is well suited to play out of doors with stones on the dirt, though now it may use plastic pieces on a paper or wooden board. A mathematical game found in West Africa is to draw a certain figure by a line that never ends until it closes the figure by reaching the starting point in mathematical terminology, this is a Eulerian path on a graph.

Children use sticks to draw these in the dirt or sand, and of course the game can be played with pen and paper. The games of checkers , chess , oware and other mancala games , and Go may also be viewed as subjects for ethnomathematics. One way mathematics appears in art is through symmetries.

### Bibliographic Information

Woven designs in cloth or carpets to name two commonly have some kind of symmetrical arrangement. A rectangular carpet often has rectangular symmetry in the overall pattern.

A woven cloth may exhibit one of the seventeen kinds of plane symmetry groups ; see Crowe for an illustrated mathematical study of African weaving patterns. Several types of patterns discovered by ethnomathematical communities are related to technologies; see Berczi about illustrated mathematical study of patterns and symmetry in Eurasia. Following the analysis of Indonesian folk weaving patterns [38] and Batak traditional architectural ornaments, [39] the geometry of Indonesian traditional motifs of batik is analyzed by Hokky Situngkir that eventually made a new genre of fractal batik designs as generative art ; see Situngkir and Surya for implementations.

Ethnomathematics and mathematics education addresses first, how cultural values can affect teaching, learning and curriculum, and second, how mathematics education can then affect the political and social dynamics of a culture. One of the stances taken by many educators is that it is crucial to acknowledge the cultural context of mathematics students by teaching culturally based mathematics that students can relate to.

Can teaching math through cultural relevance and personal experiences help the learners know more about reality, culture, society and themselves?

Robert Another approach suggested by mathematics educators is exposing students to the mathematics of a variety of different cultural contexts, often referred to as multicultural math. This can be used both to increase the social awareness of students and offer alternative methods of approaching conventional mathematics operations, like multiplication Andrew, Various mathematics educators have explored ways of bringing together culture and mathematics in the classroom, such as: Barber and Estrin and Bradley on Native American education, Gerdes b and with suggestions for using African art and games, Malloy about African American students and Flores , who developed instructional strategies for Hispanic students.

Some critics claim that mathematics education in some countries, including the United States, unduly emphasizes ethnomathematics in order to promote multiculturalism while spending too little time on core mathematical content, and that this often results in pseudoscience being taught. An example of this criticism is an article by Marianne M. Jennings, of teaching pseudoscience, claiming for South Sea islanders mystic knowledge of astronomy more advanced than scientific knowledge. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Finger counting. Further information: Anti-racist mathematics.

Anti-racist mathematics Cultural imperialism Culturally relevant teaching Critical pedagogy Ethnocomputing Informal mathematics Multiculturalism Pedagogy of the Oppressed Postmodernity Pseudoscience Social progressivism Teaching for social justice Mathematics and arts. Mathematical Thinking and Learning 1 2 , Ethnomathematics: Challenging Eurocentrism in Mathematics Education, p.

Ethnomathematics and its place in the history and pedagogy of mathematics. For the Learning of Mathematics, 5, Pacific Grove, Calif. Pages Received 11 Dec Additional information Acknowledgements Thanks to Dr O.

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## Beliefs: A Hidden Variable in Mathematics Education

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