Learning Mathematics in a Borderland Position: Students Foregrounds and Intentionality in a Brazilian Favela

Ole Skovsmose, Pedro Paulo Scandiuzzi, Paola Valero, Helle Alro


In this article the authors introduce a theoretical framework for discussing the relation between favela students life conditions in relation to their educational experiences and opportunities. A group of five students from a favela in a large city in the interior of the state of S Paulo in Brazil was inter-viewed. The students were invited to look into their future and explore whether or not there could be learning motives relating mathematics in school and possible out-of-school practices, either in terms of possible future jobs or further studies. Four themes were identified: discrimination, escape, obscurity of mathematics, and uncertainty with respect to the future. Students in a favela could experience what the authors call a borderland position, a relational space where individuals meet their social environment and come to terms with the multiple choices that cultural and economic diversity make available to them.


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