It was a pleasure for our Research Centre to host Professor Jodie Hunter from Massey University, New Zealand on 3rd October. Professor Jodie gave a presentation titled ‘Using a strengths-based approach to decolonise mathematics education’, and she shared a variety of research activity connected to culturally sustaining pedagogies for Maori and Pasifika learners of Mathematics. We had a diverse audience across research groups, including many of our growing graduate student cohort.

Research abstract: Internationally and within New Zealand, diverse groups of people including indigenous, migrant, and other minority communities are under-represented in mathematics with an accompanying narrative or ‘gap story’ in relation to achievement within school systems. A subsequent outcome is a lack of awareness of the rich mathematics and strengths that students from these communities bring to mathematics classrooms. To challenge the ’gap story’ requires recognising the resources of diverse communities including values, mathematical funds of knowledge, and everyday experiences. In this presentation, Prof Jodie draws on data collected as part of a larger professional learning and development project “Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities” which focuses on culturally sustaining pedagogy and ambitious mathematics teaching to develop equity for Māori and Pacific students and to decolonise mathematics classrooms. The findings highlight how teachers and students can change institutionalised practices by drawing on strength-based approaches. They argue that a shift to honouring different knowledge systems provides opportunities for students to learn mathematics in ways that support the development of strong mathematical dispositions and identities. 

Speaker: Prof Hunter is a New Zealand-based researcher of Cook Island Māori decent. Jodie is a Fulbright Scholar, a Rutherford Discovery Fellow, and most recently, the recipient of the BSRLM Janet Duffin Award. Jodie has a broad range of research interests in Pasifika education, with a particular focus on the teaching and learning of mathematics. Both in the UK and in New Zealand, Jodie has been involved in collaborative work with teachers and students across the country to facilitate change in the classroom. While working at Plymouth University, her work included a strong focus on developing early algebraic reasoning in primary classrooms. This included a focus on teacher professional development, classroom and mathematical practices, and student perspectives. Since returning to New Zealand,  Jodie’s has developed a growing interest in the development of culturally responsive teaching for Pasifika students in the mathematics classroom. Central to this area is the need to consider the cultural, linguistic and social contexts of Pasifika students and to develop stronger home/community and school partnerships.

 

Please find the link of the seminar recording for more details.

 

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