International Education Journal


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Mathematics and Culture Nexus: The interactions of Culture and Mathematics in an Aboriginal Classroom

Associate Professor Anthony N. Ezeife
Faculty of Education, University of Windsor, Canada



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Approaching the teaching and learning of mathematics from a cultural standpoint serves a two-pronged purpose: It tends to build a bridge between the student's background knowledge, and the formal mathematics teaching and learning the student would encounter over several years in a typical school setting. This bridge, if appropriately built and solidified, facilitates the learning of mathematics especially in aboriginal communities, where tradition and culture play significant roles in the lives of youngsters. This paper is an effort in that general direction - the building of a bridge between culture and mathematics. It focuses on mathematics instruction in aboriginal classrooms, utilising environmental phenomena, materials and practices in traditional Cree settings as inviting 'appetisers' to introduce and vivify mathematics teaching/learning.

Set in an aboriginal (Cree) community in Northern Manitoba, Canada, the paper highlights the positive effect, and overwhelming influence, that integrating the learner's culture and environment into mathematics instruction had on a group of undergraduate pre-service, aboriginal teachers.

Interactions, Culture, Mathematics, Aboriginal, Classroom


Ezeife, A.N. (2002)Mathematics and culture nexus: The interactions of culture and mathematics in an aboriginal classroom. International Education Journal, 3 (3), 176-187.

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