Throughout elementary school and High school math was always my least favorite subject, I didn’t like how it was black and white and there was not creativity. I used to feel like I was being punished when my teachers would randomly call upon me for the answer, or to recite multiplication tables by memory. I would often go to my teachers and ask for extra help because I did not understand and they would repeatedly use the same method, or tell me to focus and I would eventually understand. One part of my math studies growing up that I would consider oppressive, is how my teachers would decide what way to find a solution was ‘right’ or not. I would spend hours at home trying to figure out my math homework and study and I would sometimes look online on websites like Khan Academy to try and find help for myself. When I came to class and offered different ways to solve these equations that made sense to me, that helped me in the way that I learned I would be shut down or told that these methods were not appropriate because they were not the way my teacher had said to complete them. I was and still am not the only one with these problems, and I think that’s why math can be seen as ‘cold and unbending’.
According to the article Teaching Mathematics and the Inuit Community, Louise Poirier (2007), the Inuit take a different approach and reasoning to mathematics. That not only are the fundamentals different like the math being in base twenty instead of base ten, but also instead of using a written out system and placing importance on patterns and equations, they use a more hands on approach using oral language and story telling over written word. Instead of drilling equations and repetitive practice the Inuit place more importance on the environment, life skills and relationships. I think applying some of these concepts to the way that curriculum and teachers approach math could have a positive effect on not only the way students perceive math but it could make math more flexible and less black and white.