"For as long as our people are held hostage by controllable socio-economic forces, we cannot afford to be indifferent to the ravages of poverty in all its dimensions and ramifications."
- Ibrahim Babangida
Because I am personally a member of the Mathematical Education program at Rutgers, I thought that it would be fascinating to find a way to tie math learning into current issues that students should be aware of. The following journal article, provided by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, describes educators that really transformed how students perceived math, making it a culturally relevant topic versus a school requirement. The great thing about math is that is learned by all ages, and can progressively increase in complexity, and the same can occur when making it culturally relevant. I remember in middle school learning math that involved balancing a checkbook, working with a household budget and using statistics to project values. These are all useful math skills that can help "support students in achieving a greater awareness of the extent to which mathematics is involved in day-to-day life and to prepare them for democratic citizenship" (Bartell 3).
Reading “Detracked Ninth-Grade English: Apprenticeship for the Work and World of High School and Beyond”, it reminded me of the story behind the movie “Freedom Writers”. Here you have a teacher who is faced with the “challenge” of teaching socioeconomically disadvantaged students that are considered not up to par in their language arts education. Rather than fully succumbing to her initial thoughts and fears that her students may never achieve full success, she pushes forward to efficiently use the time she has with them, relating English subjects to current events and their daily lives. “I am establishing that reading is a meaning-making activity and that writing assists us in making meaning – not only of the text itself but also of ourselves as readers” (Kernan Cone 57). There are different methods that Joan Kernan Cone implements in her classroom to encourage participation by her students and ensure that no one feels left out. Realistically speaking, as she mentions towards the end of the article, she understands that not every student will gravitate to her teaching methods. A question that arises for me here is, “Does a teacher ever get to a point where they can feel comfortable with their teaching methods, or is it a constantly dynamic teaching process?” Although it would be easier to answer yes to the first part, I now am under the impression that ways of teaching never stop changing or evolving, just as our lives never stop changing or evolving at any given moment. The classroom cannot be dated in the 18th century when we live in the 21st century.