Unfettering discussions about social justice: the role of conversational prompts in discussions about mathematics education for Indigenous students
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMeaney, T., Fyhn, A. B., & Graham, S. R. W. (2021). Unfettering discussions about social justice: The role of conversational prompts in discussions about mathematics education for Indigenous students. Educational Studies in Mathematics. 10.1007/s10649-021-10089-2
To increase possibilities for listening respectfully to Indigenous educators, there is a need to identify conversational prompts which are used to raise alternative views of social justice about mathematics education for Indigenous students. Using Nancy Fraser’s description of abnormal social justice, an analysis was made of transcripts from round table sessions, at an Indigenous mathematics education conference. This analysis identified a number of conversational prompts that enabled shifts from normal to abnormal discussions about social justice. Normal discussions exhibited assumptions in which mathematics was valued as a Western domain of knowledge; cultural examples could be used as vehicles to teach mathematics; and decisions about education for Indigenous students should be made by external authorities. In abnormal discussions, these assumptions were queried and alternative possibilities arose. The conversational prompts, which initiated this querying, occurred in a number of ways, including the telling of stories and the asking of questions that either directly or indirectly challenged normal justice discourses about Indigenous students’ learning of mathematics. Identifying conversational prompts can assist non-Indigenous mathematics educators, who wish to be allies, to challenge their own and others’ assumptions about normal social justice issues related to mathematics education for Indigenous students.