Although Leonard notes that some of the quantitative research she analyzes is nonexperimental, her discussion is grounded in sound theoretical reasoning and certainly justifies her subsequent elaboration of how teachers implement culturally specific mathematics pedagogy. Leonard addresses the learning styles of particular groups of learners and considers the sociopolitical factors that have historically prevented educators from meeting the pedagogic needs of all students.
Living Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education with/in Indigenous Communities
Leonard also shares case studies of beginning teachers implementing culturally specific curriculum, transcribed vignettes depicting classroom interactions between teachers and students, and conversations between herself and beginning teachers, which collectively depict the potential benefits and challenges of culturally specific instruction for beginning teachers and make the book particularly useful to teacher educators.
The book also includes basic lesson plans that provide additional detail and demonstrate how teachers of science, social studies, and language arts can also utilize the curricula. Geared toward African American, female, and English-language learners ELLs , respectively, Leonard discusses several examples of culturally specific mathematics curricula, drawing from her career as a classroom teacher and professor of mathematics education.
The examples place the history and culture of these students at the center of classroom instruction and include a limited number of specific mathematics problems for students to solve. Because ELLs are a highly diverse group, the recommendations in this chapter remain fairly general.
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Leonard also suggests additional classroom activities that would enable students to make explicit connections to social justice. These include solving mathematics problems that apply to survival skills as students pretend to be fugitive slaves traveling on the Underground Railroad, thereby helping them to identify with important historical figures like Harriet Tubman and to engage with mathematics on a more emotional level. Two potential shortcomings of the book are that Leonard focuses primarily on upper elementary grades and does not provide much guidance on using culturally specific pedagogy beyond the curricula covered in the book.
Arthur B. Davis Institute for Learning at Rutgers University.
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Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education. Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education G. Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education Studies in mathematical thinking and learning.