Cultural villages as contexts for mediating culture and mathematics education in the South African curriculum

Sylvia Madusise



Some mathematics educational reform policies indicate that mathematics education should be connected to learners’ cultures. However, teaching in schools rarely brings the interconnection between mathematics and culture in pedagogically informed ways. Connections are often done superficially; the curriculum in schools lacks content and specific strategies that enable the making of the connections explicit in the context of teaching. The qualitative study from which this paper emerges worked with three mathematics teachers in an attempt to teach mathematics in ways that connect key concepts with culture. Through mathematizing culturally-based activities performed at a cultural village, two Grade 9 mathematics topics in the South African curriculum were indigenised. A teaching unit on the indigenised topics was designed and implemented in five Grade 9 classes at the same school. The paper demonstrates that the experience of designing, implementing, and reflecting on the intervention study had some positive contribution to the participating teachers’ pedagogical repertoire. Teachers saw the possibility of using cultural villages as instructional resources for connecting mathematics education to learners’ cultures in the South African curriculum. I argue that cultural villages can be used as contexts for mediating culture and mathematics education.


Algunas políticas de reforma educativa de matemáticas indican que la educación matemática debe estar conectada a las culturas de los alumnos. Sin embargo, la enseñanza en las escuelas rara vez hace la conexión entre las matemáticas y la cultura de manera pedagógicamente informadas. Las conexiones se hacen a menudo superficialmente; el plan de estudios en las escuelas carece de estrategias de contenido y estrategias específicas que permitan la realización de las conexiones explícitas en la enseñanza. El estudio cualitativo del cual este trabajo surge trabajó con tres profesores de matemáticas en un intento de enseñar esta disciplina en formas que conectan los conceptos clave de la cultura. A través de las actividades culturales realizadas en una aldea cultural, dos cursos del noveno grado del currículo sudafricano fueron indigenizados. Una unidad didáctica sobre los temas indigenizados fue diseñada e implementada en cinco clases de noveno grado en la misma escuela. El trabajo demuestra que la experiencia en el diseño, implementación, y reflexión sobre el estudio de intervención tuvo alguna contribución positiva al repertorio pedagógico de los profesores participantes. Los maestros vieron la posibilidad de utilizar las aldeas culturales como recursos didácticos para la conexión de la educación matemática a las culturas de los alumnos en el plan de estudios de Sudáfrica. Sostengo que las aldeas culturales pueden ser utilizadas como contextos para la mediación de la cultura y la educación matemática.

Palabras clave

Indigenisation; Mathematisation; Cultural villages; Culturally-relevant pedagogy; Indigenización; Matematización; Aldeas culturales; Pedagogía culturalmente relevante

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Revista Latinoamericana de Etnomatemática: perspectivas socioculturales de la Educación Matemática
e-ISSN: 2011-5474
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