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Conversions for Life: Transnational Families’ Mathematical Funds of Knowledge

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Abstract

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.
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