Ethnomathematics Activities: Reflections from the Design and Implementation Process

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Özkan Ergene, Büşra Çaylan Ergene, Esin Zelal Yazıcı


Ethnomathematics is a field of mathematical ideas and activities that are embedded in the cultural contexts of societies. The present study aimed to examine the ethnomathematics activities designed by pre-service mathematics teachers in terms of the pre-service teacher variable, the implementation of the designed activities in the classroom environment in terms of the pre-service, the in-service teachers and student variables and to determine pre-service and in-service teachers’ awareness of ethnomathematics, their prior learning of ethnomathematics and their use of ethnomathematics in professional life. In this qualitative research study, the multiple case study was utilized. The participants of the study were 28 pre-service teachers, 71 students and 2 in-service teachers. The data collection tools of the study were the activities designed by the pre-service teachers, the questionnaires administered to the in-service teachers and students, the semi-structured interviews held with the pre-service teachers and the researchers’ field notes. The data collection process of the research was carried out in three phases consisting of preparation, design and implementation. The designed activities were analyzed in terms of the curriculum (related topics, prior learning) and use of material, and the data obtained from the questionnaires were analyzed by creating codes and categories according to the characteristics of the questions in the questionnaire. The fact that there are too many geometric elements in the Turkish culture, a limited number of studies in the field of ethnomathematics, an insufficient number of books, and individual characteristics of the pre-service teachers have influenced the design process of the activity. It was revealed that the activity implementation process had some advantages, such as increasing students’ interest in the lesson, making the class enjoyable, and enabling the teaching of cultural elements, as well as a disadvantage in terms of classroom management. The design of the ethnomathematics activities and their implementation in the classroom environment increased the pre-service and in-service teachers’ awareness of the relationship between culture and mathematics. In the questionnaires, pre-service and in-service teachers stated that they wanted to use ethnomathematics activities in their professional lives. Similarly, the students indicated that they wanted to do similar activities related to culture in mathematics lessons.

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