The Politics of Mathematics Teaching
All history is political history. We have to be able to hold multiple truths simultaneously. But not all truths are equally valid.
Who you are is influenced, but not wholly determined by, people or policies.
Who you are as a math teacher started generations ago. My students' stories didn't start when they entered my classroom.
Are you challenging or reinforcing ideas?
1. Create a microcosm. You bring ideas and belief to your classroom whether you know it or not. Stereotypes aren't hurtful JUST because they're untrue, but because they recall and recite histories of oppression. When you think you know about people, it shuts down the opportunity to get to know those people. Shut down and disrupt the shadows of problems.
2. Teach the gray areas. Actuarial racism penalized black people for the poor health outcomes that were politically motivated instead of looking for ways to support and improve. What do algorithms not take into consideration?
3. Explore alternatives. The Algorithm Collection compares things we take for granted and how they're done in different cultures. Remember the context! Our way is not the only way.
We are influenced but not wholly determined.
We can make our choices conscious and communicable.