My ethnomathematics journey has been a transformative and inspiring one. Before entering the ethnomathematics graduate certificate program, I knew my values as a teacher: that the always students came first, creating meaningful learning opportunities were vital, and that my classroom was a safe space for everyone to learn and grow together. While this hasn’t changed, ethnomathematics has finally given me the proper framework and tools to truly embrace these values.
The student always has to come first in any classroom and by embracing and integrating the student’s own culture, this allows for them to feel validated in their identity and strengthen their sense of community and belonging. For me, this can be as small as just being aware of a student in who they are and where they come from to as big as crafting an entire unit around cultural or community-based theme. Additionally, throughout my time in the program, I researched differentiation and ways to best support each student individually. I now feel properly equipped to make my classroom equitable in giving each student the support they need to succeed.
One of the most exciting parts of embracing ethnomathematics has been creating meaningful learning opportunities. Including a student’s culture and identity into lessons gets the students more excited and engaged. A truly powerful way to do this has been through creating community partnerships. This allows for students to make these meaningful connections to what’s around them giving more value to their learning.
Finally, ethnomathematics has helped to make my classroom a truly safe space that is accepting of all students. Not only are students able to feel welcomed but they also feel valued and important, giving them the confidence and comfortability to take bigger risks and challenge themselves even more. This also pushes me as a teacher allowing for me to grow and learn from them as well.
Fully embodying an ethnomathematics approach is not a single destination, but a lifelong journey. As I grow as a person and as an educator, I hope to not only improve myself and my teaching, but also to encourage and empower as many others as I can along the way. Ethnomathematics has validated why I love teaching and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.