When learning math, I often struggled but not enough to get the help that I needed. I was someone who understood enough to not be seen as someone who is struggling, but I wasn’t succeeding and therefore didn’t receive the help I needed. I felt like I was stuck right in the middle when it came to understanding and was often forgotten. Of course, I had high expectations for myself, but so did my family, so when I didn’t get a good enough grade, I felt very like I had let a lot of people down. This caused lots of anxiety for me for many reasons and I was unsure how to handle it. Eventually, I moved to Balfour where I was able to have a wide variety of different math teachers. In Grade 12 I finally found someone who was really good at teaching every level of understanding and I was able to finally enjoy math. I was able to get amazing grades and I was able to understand the importance of the teacher and the subject, not just the subject. From this experience alone, I believe I can say I have experienced some discriminatory actions that have had a negative impact on my grades, mental health and overall experience in math.
From Gail’s lecture, it was very apparent that there are many ways in which Inuit math is taught differently. The three that stuck out most to me were based around relationships, personal experiences and teaching it orally. These are important because if math was built based around relationships, children would be able to connect and engage with the subject much more easily. Personally, that was always something I struggled with which is why I believe I struggled so bad with math. Along with this, if personal experiences were mixed into their math experiences, they would be much more engaged. Having engaged students allows them to have a positive experience with the subject and they won’t have the unnecessary anxiety around it, which I believe many of us have experienced. Lastly, if math was taught more orally rather than having everything written down, then the educator would be able to teach math based on their students. If one student isn’t working for one student, change it, then teach them differently. As Gail said, as soon as it’s written down, it makes it seem like that is the only way to do things, especially math. Teaching it orally can allow students to understand differently, become actively engaged and just overall make it so that it isn’t only one type of student to understand and thrive in the class. The way we learn it has such a big impact on how we understand it and our relationship with the topic, which for those who have anxiety like me with math, it is not very liked.