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Mathematics teaching as a tool for building student independence: Notes from a refugee classroom

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Abstract:

Increased human mobility is a characteristic of our globalized world. It includes the heterogeneous groups of refugees, representative of the continuous political and social unrest across continents. The involuntary resettlement of individuals forced away from their native lands involves thousands of people, and about 40 percent of them are children. The United States are the largest refugee resettlement destination in the world, and the successful involvement of refugee children in the educational process becomes a powerful and critical avenue for their long-term inclusion in the social milieu.
The goal of this research was to explore the efforts of one educator to effectively teach mathematics to a heterogeneous group of young adolescent refugees. Mathematics is a gatekeeper for a significant number of other educational and job-related opportunities, and proficiency in mathematics could greatly affect the quality and variety of lifelong possibilities available to individuals in the U.S. Proficiency in mathematics would provide young refugees with greater access to quality life opportunities in their new home country.
The framework of the study included theories of culturally relevant pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching, and literature on refugee education. The interpretive case study design utilized multiple participant observations, in-depth interviews, and documents in the form of educational materials used by the teacher. The initial data analysis indicated that the process of teaching mathematics to refugee students need to reflect teacher’s understanding of a multitude of background factors that affect their participation in the educational process. A focus on a smaller number of important mathematical ideas that support students’ advancement to mathematical problem solving and allow for building proficiency in a sufficient English language vocabulary for the subject matter should be sought as the solid base for growth as mathematics learners.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p491740_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ilieva, Vessela. "Mathematics teaching as a tool for building student independence: Notes from a refugee classroom" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p491740_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ilieva, V. , 2011-05-01 "Mathematics teaching as a tool for building student independence: Notes from a refugee classroom" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p491740_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Increased human mobility is a characteristic of our globalized world. It includes the heterogeneous groups of refugees, representative of the continuous political and social unrest across continents. The involuntary resettlement of individuals forced away from their native lands involves thousands of people, and about 40 percent of them are children. The United States are the largest refugee resettlement destination in the world, and the successful involvement of refugee children in the educational process becomes a powerful and critical avenue for their long-term inclusion in the social milieu.
The goal of this research was to explore the efforts of one educator to effectively teach mathematics to a heterogeneous group of young adolescent refugees. Mathematics is a gatekeeper for a significant number of other educational and job-related opportunities, and proficiency in mathematics could greatly affect the quality and variety of lifelong possibilities available to individuals in the U.S. Proficiency in mathematics would provide young refugees with greater access to quality life opportunities in their new home country.
The framework of the study included theories of culturally relevant pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching, and literature on refugee education. The interpretive case study design utilized multiple participant observations, in-depth interviews, and documents in the form of educational materials used by the teacher. The initial data analysis indicated that the process of teaching mathematics to refugee students need to reflect teacher’s understanding of a multitude of background factors that affect their participation in the educational process. A focus on a smaller number of important mathematical ideas that support students’ advancement to mathematical problem solving and allow for building proficiency in a sufficient English language vocabulary for the subject matter should be sought as the solid base for growth as mathematics learners.


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