In an article for EdSurge, Shakiyya Bland, Just Equations’ math educator in residence, highlights the scientific link between culturally responsive math instruction and the parts of our brain responsible for learning.
Though some argue that mathematics is culturally independent, I can say from experience that it is anything but. Culture embodies our deepest collective social norms and beliefs, and provides the reference points for future learning. The brain makes sense of the world, and mathematics, through culture.
Brain science research is increasingly bolstering the idea that math instruction rooted in culturally relevant problem-solving helps students draw from their lived experiences and activates distinct areas of the brain, producing durable and deep learning.
Just as student engagement in creative and constructive processes when learning mathematical reasoning has beneficial effects on learning and long-term memory, culturally responsive mathematics uses culture as a scaffold for deeper connections, building students’ brain power and improving information processing skills.
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