Mathematics as (Multi)cultural Practice: Irish Lessons From the Polish Weekend School

Stephen O'Brien, Fiachra Long

Abstract


In this article, the authors challenge the erroneous assumption that mathematics is universal, and thus culturally neutral, by critically investigating diverse cultural meanings and ways of knowing that influence individual/social (affective) forms of identity. The authors begin by briefly detailing the structural features of a Polish weekend school and providing an overview profile of the Polish community living in Ireland. The rationale for the weekend school is then discussed from both Polish and Irish perspectives. Empirical data suggest a greater need for parallel integration, whereby two divergent education systems attempt to culturally coalesce at some level of school policy and/or mathematics classroom practice.

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