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In: Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Multilingual Classrooms
In: Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Multilingual Classrooms
Chapter 1 Applying Critical Mathematics Education

Abstract

In this introductory chapter, we first set out our broad characterisation of critical mathematics education, drawing on contemporary issues including, for example, global climate change and rapid societal challenges. Critical mathematics education is driven by urgent, complex questions; is interdisciplinary; is politically active and engaged; is democratic; involves critique; and is reflexive and self-aware. This perspective leads us to argue for the necessity of critical mathematics education, for which we summarise three significant traditions derived from Freire, Foucault, and the Nordic School. Finally, we provide an overview and discussion of the contributions to this volume, and show how they apply critical mathematics education in unique ways that relate to the six previously described features of this approach. We conclude by reiterating the urgent necessity of applying critical mathematics education.

Open Access
In: Applying Critical Mathematics Education
Chapter 10 The Mathematical Formatting of Obesity in Public Health Discourse

Abstract

Rising rates of obesity are of widespread public concern and are targeted by public health policies around the world. In this chapter, we examine the origins of the most common definition of obesity, which is based on the Body Mass Index (BMI). We draw on Skovsmose’s concept of formatting, combined with an examination of the origins of the BMI, to show how obesity is a form of realised abstraction. In particular, we show how, while the BMI originated as a statistical descriptor of specific populations, it is now used as a prescriptive construct applied to all individuals across the general population. We discuss how mathematics is therefore used to format or define obesity in a particular way, indicate some of the consequences of the particular way that this occurs through the BMI, and suggest some possibilities for mathematics teaching arising from this work. Our analysis is an example of how critical mathematics education provides a productive perspective with which to examine topics of widespread social concern, and thus inform both public education and mathematics education in schools.

In: Applying Critical Mathematics Education
Epilogues
In: Applying Critical Mathematics Education
Volume Editors: and
There is no shortage of urgent, complex problems that mathematics education can and should engage with. Pandemics, forest fires, pollution, Black Lives Matter protests, and fake news all involve mathematics, are matters of life and death, have a clear political dimension, and are interdisciplinary in nature. They demand a critical approach. The authors in this volume showcase new insights, teaching ideas and new and unique ways of applying critical mathematics education, in areas as diverse as climate change, obesity, decolonisation and ethnomathematics. This book demonstrates that there is plenty to be done with critical mathematics education.

Contributors are: Annica Andersson, Tonya Gau Bartell, Richard Barwell, Lisa Lunney Borden, Sunghwan Byun, Anna Chronaki, Brian Greer, Jennifer Hall, Victoria Hand, Kjellrun Hiis Hauge, Beth Herbel-Eisenmann, Rune Herheim, Courtney Koestler, Kate le Roux, Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Aldo Parra, Anita Rampal, Sheena Rughubar-Reddy, Toril Eskeland Rangnes, Ulrika Ryan, Lisa Steffensen, Paola Valero and David Wagner.
Chapter 8 A Critical Mathematics Education for Climate Change

Abstract

Climate change is an urgent global challenge. Responding to climate change requires significant critical mathematical understanding on the part of all citizens. In this chapter, we consider what a critical mathematics education for climate change might look like. We draw on ideas from Skovsmose’s work, including the notion of formatting, as well as the body of work known as post-normal science. As a starting point for pedagogical reflection, we propose twelve principles, operating within landscapes of investigation, and organised into three groups relating to: forms of authenticity; forms of participation; and reflection on and with mathematics. We illustrate these ideas with an example of a possible landscape of investigation relating to historical temperature change.

Open Access
In: Applying Critical Mathematics Education