Teaching and Learning Indigenous Languages & Mathematics: Intercultural Perspectives on Education in Brazil

Prof. Jackeline Rodrigues Mendes will explore the teaching and learning of mathematics in indigenous communities in Brazil, analysing complex interrelations between knowledge, language and identity.

Speaker: Prof. Jackeline Rodrigues Mendes, State University of Campinas, Brazil

Welcome & Introduction: Prof. Michalis Kontopodis

Discussants: Prof. Maggie Kubanyiova & Prof. Jim Ryder

The education of indigenous children in Brazil takes place in a context marked by vast linguistic diversity, cultural frictions and tense (post-)colonial identity politics. In this frame, teaching and learning Western mathematics is contested on the one hand, and much needed on the other – for indigenous children to effectively deal with monetary exchange, technological issues and other culturally dominant forms of present-day life.

My research aimed at addressing these contradictions and exploring potential ways of resolving these tensions in practice, inspired by intercultural and decolonial approaches.

In this talk I explore, in particular, the Kaiawete meaning of “number” in everyday indigenous community practices and in practices arising from the contact with the non-indigenous society.

I focus on the process of developing a mathematics school textbook written in indigenous language by Kaiawete teachers, analysing the complex interrelations between mathematical knowledge, language(s) and identity politics.

I discuss the implications of this analysis for indigenous education, taking under consideration the contemporary local, national and global educational policies and agendas.

Prof. Jackeline Rodrigues Mendes completed her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics at the State University of Campinas. She is the leader of the Research Group Education, Language & Cultural Practices and well-known for her numerous publications on indigenous education; numeracy-literacy practices; curriculum, identity and subjectivity in educational practices.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

Kaiwawete Mathematics in Practice

Kaiwawete Mathematics in Practice