MathEd Forum

April 23, 2014

The Value of Including Social Justice and Sustainability Issues in a Mathematics Curriculum

April 30, 2011, 10AM – 2PM

Fields Institute, 222 College Street, Toronto

10:00 a.m. - 10:10 a.m. Reports: OAME, OMCA, OCMA, CMS, and other.

10:10 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. David Stocker (City View Alternative School in Toronto)
Title: Pizza Party Math: A Critical Look at Elementary Mathematics Resources

SHORT DESCRIPTION: 'Pizza party math' is rampant. Objects in students' lives (pizzas, coins, Pringles cans and even snails!) are used to 'do math upon'. This is all misleadingly called "real life math", for it has little to do with using math to understand the world around us. We can, however, use math to understand hunger and homelessness, poverty and politics, distributive justice and a host of other social justice issues. Central to this line of thinking is that students who are engaged in the contexts that matter to them most are more likely to learn the mathematics better.

BIO: David Stocker teaches at City View Alternative School in Toronto. It is a grade seven and eight school dedicated to delivering the curriculum through the lens of social justice issues. He is the author of Maththatmatters: A teacher resource linking math and social justice. He and his partner Kathy have three children: Jazz, Kio, and newborn Storm.

10:45 - 11:20 a.m. Peter Crippin (University of Waterloo)
Title: As Teachers of Mathematics, How Can We Help Affect Social Justice?

SHORT DESCRIPTION: In this talk, I will speak about David Stocker's approach to social justice and talk about how this approach can be seen to be part of a larger picture and how, as teachers of mathematics, we can make things better for our students, from a social justice perspective.

11:20 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Jessica Young (PhD Candidate, OISE/UT)
Title: Environmental Education in Secondary Schools

SHORT DESCRIPTION: I will draw upon my current doctoral research, my Master's Thesis research, and ten years of teaching Science and Environmental Science in Ontario to discuss environmental education policy & practice in Ontario secondary schools, teaching environmental sustainability and social justice issues in the secondary curricula, and recent policy reform requiring all teachers (K-12) to teach environmental sustainability.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK
(Light refreshments provided)

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Dr. Stephen Lerman (Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences of the London South Bank University, UK)
Title: Finding Paths to Students' Engagement and Equity in Mathematics Education

SHORT DESCRIPTION: During this presentation, Dr. Lerman will draw from his years of work on sociological theory trying to understand who fails in school mathematics and why, and what teachers and policymakers can do about it. In the UK, it is students from economically and socially deprived areas who continue to fail, or we might say, are failed by the ways we run schooling. In this session, Dr. Lerman will discuss his current understanding of alternative ways to engage students arising from a range of studies. In particular, theories of identity, of great interest throughout the social sciences, might help us to understand how to improve the equity of successful outcomes in mathematics education, though he will suggest that we remain realistic about the political context of assessment policies in order to challenge them.

BIO: Stephen Lerman is Professor of Mathematics Education and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Education at London South Bank University, England. His research interests include sociocultural theory, sociological perspectives of mathematics education, and classroom studies. He was lead researcher on an ESRC funded project to examine research publications over a 12 year period, part of which was to identify theories of learning adopted by researchers. He is co-researcher on an EU project called ABCMaths and on a project funded by the Australian Research Council working with remote indigenous schools in the north of Western Australia.

2:00 p.m. Adjournment; Sessions will continue in September 2011.


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