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Conversions for Life: Transnational Families’ Mathematical Funds of Knowledge



In this chapter, I highlight mathematical funds of knowledge unique to transnational families, by introducing a study conducted in an urban area of Japan, which is becoming linguistically and ethnically diverse. This chapter builds on sociocultural theory and the perspective of funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992), while paying attention to power dynamics, which is critical to interrogate the legitimacy of knowledge exchanged in school contexts. Based on the framework of tool-and-result methodology (Newman & Holzman, 1993), this study was designed to better understand the needs of Filipino transnational families and also to explore potential actions to collectively address these needs. In the interviews, Filipina transnational mothers commonly undervalued their knowledge and their involvement in school education for their children. Based on this finding from the interviews, workshops with a group of these mothers were organized. The interactions during the workshop revealed one of the mathematical practices that they used daily: calculating international currency conversions. The workshops also uncovered Filipina transnational women’s mathematical reasoning in carrying out these conversions. Interviews with their school-aged children suggested how these children were able to apply the knowledge of international currency conversion and ratios learned through discussions with their mothers. I conclude this chapter by discussing the possibilities of adding the lens of power to the study of funds of knowledge and also by providing pedagogical implications for mathematical teaching and learning in the context of globalization. Keywords: funds of knowledge; power; transnational families; ratio; parental involvement; globalization and diversity
Takeuchi, M. A. (2018). Conversions for life: Transnational families’
mathematical funds of knowledge. In T.G. Bartell (Ed.),Toward equity
and social justice in mathematics education(pp.127-143). Cham,
Switzerland: Springer.
... Mathematics learning; game design and redesign; board games; English language learners or emergent bilinguals; embodiment Fully recognizing cultural and linguistic plurality in the classroom calls for expanded notions of languages and participation in mathematics learning (Barwell et al., 2019;Langer-Osuna et al., 2016;Parks, 2011). Especially for learners with limited language proficiencies in instructional languages, embodied discourse that includes symbiotic use of gestures and language can be a salient part of the semiotic tools for mathematics teaching and learning (Arzarello et al., 2009;Dominguez et al., 2014;Fernandes et al., 2017;Takeuchi, 2018;Takeuchi & Dadkhahfard, 2019;Turner et al., 2013;Zahner & Moschkovich, 2011). Yet in classroom spaces, such non-normative embodied mathematical thinking could be masked (Takeuchi, 2018). ...
... Especially for learners with limited language proficiencies in instructional languages, embodied discourse that includes symbiotic use of gestures and language can be a salient part of the semiotic tools for mathematics teaching and learning (Arzarello et al., 2009;Dominguez et al., 2014;Fernandes et al., 2017;Takeuchi, 2018;Takeuchi & Dadkhahfard, 2019;Turner et al., 2013;Zahner & Moschkovich, 2011). Yet in classroom spaces, such non-normative embodied mathematical thinking could be masked (Takeuchi, 2018). In their review, De Araujo et al. (2018) maintained that a learning environment drawing on diverse cultural and linguistic resources, especially for emergent bilingual students, can effectively facilitate students' participation in mathematical discourse. ...
... In this process, both Ms. Lennox and Jian engaged in embodied discourse as an integral part of mathematical and game design conversations. By attending to embodied mathematical practices, competences and resources embedded in informal cultural practices can come into contact with school mathematics practices (Civil, 2007(Civil, , 2016González et al., 2001;Takeuchi, 2018), especially for students from non-dominant backgrounds. ...
In this article, we discuss embodied mathematical practices in the context of learners’ board game (re)design activities. By focusing on redesigning a board game as a pedagogical approach, rather than designing one from scratch, we intended to limit the vast creative design possibilities and engage learners more deeply with the discipline of mathematics. We conducted a design-based research project in a culturally and linguistically diverse Canadian school. Our video analysis identified embodied discourses wherein a student with limited English language proficiency came to be a designer of a board game, while meaningfully engaging in mathematics learning. Our findings demonstrate how the conversations between a newly arrived immigrant student and the teacher in the process of redesigning an existing board game helped the student fully participate in the classroom practice, maximizing the available cultural and linguistic resources.
... Bishop (1990), for instance, shows how through dominant conceptions of mathematics, Western explorers sought to replace Indigenous mathematics through regimes of trade, administration, and education, which mediated a process of cultural invasion by dominant methods of measurement and numerical procedures and by a value system grounded in rationalism. Takeuchi (2018) finds that hierarchies created by dominant conceptions of mathematics led Filipina mothers to undervalue their mathematics knowledgeparticularly with respect to calculating international currency conversions-and involvement in school education for their children. As Takeuchi (2018) This process of erasure of Indigenous ways of knowing is not a mere accident of history but rather one of historicized and ongoing colonization (Bernales & Powell, 2018;Iseke-Barnes, 2000;Stathopoulou & Appelbaum, 2016). ...
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