Language, culture and learning mathematics: A Bourdieuian analysis of Indigenous learning

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Title Language, culture and learning mathematics: A Bourdieuian analysis of Indigenous learning
Author Jorgensen, Robyn Levenia
Book Title Multiple Perspectives on Difficulties in Learning Literacy and Numeracy
Editor Claire Wyatt-Smith, John Elkins & Stephanie Gunn
Year Published 2011
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Abstract Indigenous students in Australia perform poorly on testing measures (MCEETYA, 2009). This is of national concern and a priority for government, as evidenced in the 'Closing the Gap' initiative (FaHCSIA, 2009). Geographical location and poverty compound issues of indigeneity, so that Indigenous students in remote locations are most at risk of performing poorly on measures of literacy and numeracy. In this chapter, I seek to challenge the orthodoxy that poor performances among remote/Indigenous students are a consequence of construct sof ability or learning difficulties per se. Rather, I seek to illustrate how the mathematics curriculum delivered to Indigenous students represents a particular cultural form.This is particularly poignant as Australia moves to a national curriculum (National Curriculum Board, 2008). The difficulties in learning mathematics experienced by many Indigenous students can be thought of as a confrontation of language differences (and, by implication, culture). From this perspective, coming to learn mathematics is about 'cracking the code' through which mathematical concepts and processes are embedded and relayed, so that learning difficulties are viewed as structural difficulties rather than individual difficulties. By reconceptualising the 'learning difficulties' experienced by Indigenous learners in mathematics/numeracy, a more inclusive approach to educational reform can be envisaged and enacted.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8864-3_15
Copyright Statement Copyright 2011 Springer. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. It is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Please refer to the publisher's website for further information.
Chapter Number 15
Page from 315
Page to 329
ISBN 9781402088636
Date Accessioned 2011-01-31
Date Available 2011-09-09T07:05:57Z
Language en_AU
Research Centre Griffith Institute for Educational Research
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Mathematics and Numeracy Curriculum and Pedagogy
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/40736
Publication Type Book Chapters
Publication Type Code b1

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