“Multicultural education, and all good teaching, is about transformation – individual, collective, and institutional. Each of these levels is needed to foster student learning.” Sonia Nieto, The Light in Their Eyes
A student teacher told me her pedagogy instructor said that math was the exception to the rule of transformative education. He told the class, “You couldn’t go that deep in math.”
I want to ask this instructor: What about Einstein who provided us with brilliant insights about living through his words as well as with numbers—two languages to express his genius about existence? What if the goal was for students to understand math as a way of describing phenomenon in the world so that we can think at more complex levels about existence?
Math as a language and way of thinking transformed how people could explore, think about and makes sense of phenomena. Math can bring clarity to discovery and inquiry.
We need tell stories of mathematicians from ancient to modern times who were able to think about our existence in ways they otherwise wouldn’t be able to? Telling the story of Pythagoras wandering far shores and coming back home to Greece and what he did with his students.
If math teachers have time to think about why they chose math, they can remember why they love math. And then they can use their imagination to come up with ways to share that love with students who don’t enter the classroom having had an opportunity to see what there is to love.