On Gene Expression, TangoMan links to a Multicultural Math course guide from the University of Florida’s education school. The course includes oral reports on the “contributions” of different cultures, crafts, games and Multicultural Food Day, when all students prepare an ethnic dish. There are Chinese tangrams, Vedic squares, kente cloth and Norwegian Christmas baskets. It sounds like fun in an elementary school sort of way. Apparently, the course is required for a master’s in math education; only six hours of “non-graduate math” (graduate level math?) are required for a master’s.
But do students whose ancestors came from Africa, Mexico, China or India understand math differently from students descended from Norwegians, Greeks or Russians? If math is universal and learnable by everyone with a gray, wrinkly brain, then why teach culture in math class? I wonder if the education school has a class on how teachers teach math in high-scoring countries like Singapore and Japan.