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Ethnomathematics and education : Some thoughts


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Horsthemke, Kai:
Ethnomathematics and education : Some thoughts.
In: For the learning of mathematics : an international journal of mathematics education. 26 (November 2006) 32. - S. 15-19.
ISSN 0228-0671


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In 1996, Barton wrote: ‘Very little of the ethnomathematical literature is explicit about its philosophical stance’, which he considers to be ‘one of the areas’ that ‘must be addressed if the subject is to gain wider legitimacy in mathematical circles’. In 2003, Barton, Adam and Alangui took issue with a recent, critical investigation of ethnomathematics, especially of its relationship with academic mathematics regarding teaching and learning. They dismiss the largely philosophical questions raised by Rowlands and Carson by suggesting that ‘the role of ethnomathematics in mathematics education is now predominantly an empirical matter’. What has happened in the interim that has contributed to this alleged shift? Is it true, now that the political and philosophical questions have been taken care of, that ethnomathematics is used successfully ‘as a framework in the teaching of mathematics’? This view appears to rely for its plausibility partly on the work discussed in the two International Congresses on Ethnomathematics, and partly on the ‘promise’ of studies in indigenous knowledge. The underlying idea is that a philosophical, conceptual inquiry regarding ethnomathematics is now passé – and that any critique must address the empirical issues around curricular reliance on ethnomathematics and evaluate the results. In this paper, I argue that any dismissal of philosophical engagement with the plausibility and viability of ethnomathematics on the grounds alluded to above smacks of mere verbal legislation. Furthermore, I illustrate, through an analysis and critique of recent perspectives, that the philosophical debate around ethnomathematics is both alive and warranted – indeed, crucial.

Weitere Angaben

Schlagwörter:Ethomathematics; academic mathematics; mathematics education
Institutionen der Universität:Philosophisch-Pädagogische Fakultät > Pädagogik > Lehrstuhl für Bildungsphilosophie und Systematische Pädagogik
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Titel an der KU entstanden:Nein
Eingestellt am: 20. Sep 2017 13:38
Letzte Änderung: 20. Sep 2017 13:38
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