The following graphic captures the essence of what matters about teaching and learning mathematics:

Though the concepts here are listed, there is not a hierarchy in terms of priority. The components are interwoven and the approach is cyclical.

Establishing a Mathematically Rich and Safe Environment

  • Interacting and collaborating during learning;
  • Emphasizing mathematics as a human endeavour;
  • Fostering relationships;
  • Providing an academically safe environment to take risks and make mistakes; and
  • Sharing power, voice, and choice

Honouring Indigenous Ways of Knowing

“Mathematics and culture come to be seen as integral components of one another.”1 (Barta et al., 2014, p.4)

  • Honouring the four directions/teachings of the Medicine Wheel;
  • Creating care and connectedness – relationship within one’s self, with others, and with the natural world;
  • Developing multiple pathways to learn and show what you know;
  • Emphasizing the importance of story and place; and
  • Sharing power, voice, and choice

Practising Holistic Assessment

  • Triangulating data: conversations, observations, products;
  • Honouring the learner (emotional, spiritually, academically and physically); and
  • Using assessment for, as, and of learning via a variety of strategies.

Responding with Effective Instructional Practices

  • Creating experiences for students to engage with number relationships;
  • Sharing power, voice, and choice;
  • Making sense through dialogue and interactive experiences; and
  • Teaching responsively (scaffold).

The Math teaching strategies in this Mathematics resource provide teachers with many options to weave ideas using indigenous ways of knowing/learning into their math lessons. (Myrna Turner, Cultural Coordinator, Muskoday First Nation Community School)

“The concept of life in numbers describes a relationship between the action, personality, and animation of numbers with the people using them in a given situation.”1 (Barta et al., 2014, p.3)

  • Relationships exist between and within numbers;
  • Multiple instructional approaches are used to build student understanding of number relationships; and
  • Comparing, composing and decomposing, estimating, visualizing, and representing are used in connection with each other and are vital for developing number sense
  • Bibliography
  • Resources to Share

“Over the last 15 years, researchers have shown that learning is not just about accumulating knowledge; it is about the formation of an identity … not a stable construct … but as a set of ideas, beliefs, and behaviours that may be performed in specific domains, such as the learning of mathematics”2 (Boaler & Selling, 2017, p. 82).

Questions for reflection

How are these concepts interwoven?

How will you simultaneously develop these big ideas into your practice?

1Barta, J., Eglash, R., & Barkley, C. (2014). Introduction. In J. Barta, R. Eglash & C. Barkley (Eds.), Math is a verb: Activities and lessons from cultures around the world (p 3). Reston, VA: National Council of a Teachers of Mathematics.

2Boaler, J., & Selling, S. (2017). Psychological imprisonment or intellectual freedom? A longitudinal study of contrasting school mathematics approaches and their impact on adults’ lives. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 48(1), 78-105.