Cody Perry: Addressing Equity

You know, there’s this idea that math is universal, and while you know the way numbers maybe work to be universal, you know the the underlying, you know, the pie is pie. I mean, but the way we teach it, the way we appreciate it, the way we understand it is not universal . And so I think part of the privilege issue is if you have more resources, you have the money it’s easier to. And if your parents went to school, they recognize you’re struggling so they can get you that help that you need. Whereas from what I have seen, it’s. You know, well, the child’s not paying attention or they’re. You know, they’re just they’re heart’s not in it or they’re, you know, they they’ve got this issue or that issue. And. I mean, the books, the tests, they’re all we talk about, you know, the word, I hate word problems, you know , the story problems because they’re not authentic and they’re in most cases, they’re pretty. Horribly biased in a lot of I mean. And I’ll bring up, you know, examples and I’ll say. You know, I’ll I’ll just have the students read them and I’ll say, Do you notice something? And it’s the female names. It’s always around cooking or shopping. The boys, it’s always about sports or something like that. And so we talk about, you know, first of all, you’re going to use story problems, make sure you go rewrite them because you don’t want to, you know, perpetuate those myths and things like that. But for me, it’s it’s being us, you know, using authentic mathematics, using those authentic problems and recognizing the cultures where where the kids come from. And they’re. You know, their their backgrounds and their socioeconomic climate, because, well, I had a student. Not too long ago and their lesson plan, their eye, their idea was to have them go to the mall and do like a, you know, a shopping type of math thing and I and especially for our property, there’s some children that have never been to the mall. They don’t know what it looks like. So you have to be very, very aware of that. As you’re teaching and so everything that you’re doing in there for me, the the, you know, the big thing that I’ve always seen with math teachers, and it’s one of the reasons why I think I have done well up to this point was because I saw so many math teachers. I always got it. I always understood it. But I had classmates. I had siblings that they could not understand it the one way the teacher taught it. And unfortunately, the reason that teachers do that is because they that’s the only way they know how. So if the student doesn’t do it their way, they can’t check. And. You know, I tell my students that’s not how everybody, you know, not everybody may get it that way the first time, so you have to know different ways. But kids will even come up with their own ways of doing things. And there’s there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. We should celebrate that because it’s creativity. It’s, you know, ingenuity. And so we have to be good math. As math teachers, we have to be good mathematicians to be able to see how they’re doing it so that we can then correct them if they make a mistake in their own process. And so that one way or the highway type of approach, you know, you have to get rid of that because students are going to have different frames of reference. They’re going to have different, you know, cultural. I mean, even the numbers, if they’re coming from a Latin American country, the numbers are written with commas where we have decimal and vice versa, where we would have a comma. They have the decimal. And so or they have just the space. And it’s a little thing or even in how we say the numbers. So 1,000,000, we, you know, it was 1,000,000 in some Latin American and other countries. It’s. 1000 thousands or 100 thousands. Can’t remember exactly how it is, but we even talk about how where does million come from? You know, what is that name? Of course, that’s just what it is. No, it’s because, you know, like mm mm. It’s 1000. It’s 1000 thousands. That’s why it’s million. So, you know, all those little things. And so I even have an activity in class where we look at Native American math and we have a discussion about how, you know, colonial. There was always this idea that indigenous people lacked education math, and I always point to things like the Anasazi, how they could build an entire civilization that lined up with the stars. How could they do that unless they understood math? And so, you know, try and include a lot of that different stuff in.

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