Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 7238-7244
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.1722
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
In Portuguese university where this research study was developed, Master's degree (MSc) students on "Teaching 1st Cycle of Basic Education and 2nd Cycle Portuguese, History and Geography of Portugal Teaching" (Teaching 1ºCEB+2ºCPHG) do not like Mathematics and have difficulties, but appreciate Portuguese, History and Geography, having good training in these areas. This MSc qualifies for teaching in 1st Cycle of Basic Education and 2nd Cycle in Portuguese, History and Geography of Portugal Teaching. In the 1st Cycle teachers will have to teach Mathematics (among other areas), being therefore fundamental that these students change their view of Mathematics and improve their knowledge in this area.

This study's author is the teacher of the course of Didactics of Mathematics (DM) of this MSc and is researcher in Ethnomathematics and DM. Taking into account the context presented, she decided to use a different teaching strategy considered appropriate to the characteristics of these students. She turned to ethnomathematics.

Ethnomathematics can be understood as the mathematical knowledge and know-how of various cultures, social groups, professional groups, etc. As P. Gerdes said, mathematical ideas exist in all human cultures, in the experiences of all peoples. There are ethnomathematical studies aiming:
i) preserving, valuing and making known these knowledge and know-how of specific groups;
ii) using these specific knowledge and know-how in the teaching and learning of mathematics in classes of elementary levels of education;
iii) making pure mathematical research based on these knowledge and know-how.

In the case of the study presented here, we used ethnomathematics as a teaching strategy in a course of DM of a specific MSc of teacher’s training, mainly due to the characteristics of students and ethnomathematics.

We have developed a qualitative research study based on a case study. The two research questions are: How can ethnomathematics be used as a teaching strategy? What is the impact of the use of ethnomathematics as a teaching strategy in the initial teacher’s training of Teaching 1ºCEB+2ºCPHG?

The participants in the study were eight students of a MSc on Teaching 1ºCEB+2ºCPHG of a Portuguese public university and their teacher of DM.

Briefly, the strategy used consisted in introducing to students the concept of ethnomathematics and examples of research of types (i) and (ii) above, followed by the choice by the pairs of students of ethnomathematical topic to investigate, with the final goal of writing a paper that could be submitted to a journal of Ethnomathematics.

During the classes, the various stages of a research study on ethnomathematics type (i) and (ii) were developed by the pairs of students, supervised by the teacher. At specific moments in the development of the students’ work, the teacher introduced the syllabus’s contents (because it was necessary to the progress of the works).

The results showed that these students remained involved in the work. They realized that there are different ways from those they knew to teach and learn mathematics. In addition, they recognized that mathematics had more interesting aspects than they thought. All the pairs were able to write a paper that will be submitted to a scientific journal.

The strategy used proved to be effective with this group of students and we believe that has potential in other teaching situations. More studies are needed to also assign this role to Ethnomathematics.
Etnomatematics as teaching strategy, teaching experience, initial teacher’s training.