Contextual issues related to Aboriginal children's mathematical learning

Year: 1998

Author: Howard, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper draws on aspects of an ethnographic study undertaken in a rural community in New South Wales which investigated the expressed beliefs of Aboriginal children, Aboriginal educators, Aboriginal parents and non-Aboriginal teachers towards the learning and teaching of mathematics in the last two years of primary schooling. Conversational interviews were used to collect the data. The data analysis identified seventeen core categories of beliefs across all participant comments. Participant belief statements for each of the core categories were further analysed into sub-categories.

The aim of this presentation is to focus on the expressed beliefs of the various Aboriginal participants related to the core category of Context and the nominated sub categories: Aboriginal children and school, racism and discrimination, Aboriginal parents, community, discipline and behaviour, teacher's role and language. Significant implications for the classroom and recommendations for initial teacher education and teacher professional development to enhance Aboriginal children's mathematical learning are discussed.