chapter  5
28 Pages

The Relationship of Teaching for Social Justice and Mathematics in Context

Well, I thought of mathematics as another subject in school that I hated. And I didn’t bother to think too much about world issues or everyday issues. Now I know it all relates. And I've learned how powerful math can be to help us explain our decisions and help us express our selves, because like I said before, math makes things more clear. (Lupe, 8th grade, May 1999)

I have two purposes in this chapter. First, I analyze the interrelationship of using Mathematics in Context (MiC) and teaching mathematics for social justice. I describe MiC’s philosophy and how MiC has the potential to contribute to social justice teaching. I then analyze what I did to try to actualize that possibility and the complexities involved. I discuss the relationship between teaching mathematics for social justice and teaching it to develop mathematical power. Second, I provide evidence that it is possible to develop sociopolitical consciousness, social agency, and to achieve the mathematics goals of my framework-for students to (a) develop mathematical power, (b) succeed academically in the traditional sense, and (c) develop different orientations, from the norm, toward mathematics. I make no claim that this will always occur, and in chapter 6, I describe in detail some of the facilitating conditions and difficulties I experienced.