Workshop & Sharing Group Discussion of ICME-12

Authors: Mônica Mesquita e Alexandre Pais Submitted by November 30, 2011  

□ Workshop   X Sharing Group
Workshop or Sharing Group Name Urban Boundaries Project: Mathematics and the struggle for survival  
Organizing Team Position First Name LastName Country / Region Institute E-mail
Chair or Presenter Mônica Mesquita Portugal Lisbon University
Alexandre Pais Denmark Aalborg University
Members Karen François Belgium Free University Brussels,
Sal Restivo USA Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Fiona Walls New Zeland No affiliation
D’Ambrosio Ubiratan Brazil University of São Paulo
Description of the background & theme Participatory Description and Critical Thinking about the Urban Boundaries ProjectThe sharing movement on this group is to be developed in two moments. Firstly, we describe the process behind the creation of an academic project named Urban Boundaries. We shallexpose how, for whom, and for what this project was developed—geographical/historical/social/political contexts— and discuss the importance of the voices—desires/needs/possibilities—of the actors enrolled in the project. As part of this first moment, we also explain our choice regarding the theoretical framework adopted in the project, which is based in the “Curriculum Trivium” proposed by Ubiratan D’Ambrosio, in combination with the recent critique on multiculturalism developed by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. We also address our methodological approach, informed by Critical Ethnography.The Urban Boundaries is an academic project supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and Lisbon University, constituted by a group of researchers from different backgrounds (among others, architects, biologists, physicists, teachers, and mathematics educators) that decided to join efforts and built a project together with two communities, one situated in an agricultural land and another in a fishing community, both placed in the outskirts of Lisbon—a place called Costa de Caparica. These communities are constituted by immigrant populations from other Portuguese-speaking countries, Gipsies, and Portuguese migrants. They have been experiencing throughout half a century diverse problems of inclusion, particularly concerning schooling and the need to have their voices heard. Through the development of a critical alphabetization, a multiple cartography and life-history portfolios we seek to address the educational needs of these populations in situ, that is, in the midst of their everyday lives where survival with dignity is often the first and foremost important daily struggle. Therefore, it is the everyday problems felted by these two communities that guide the organization of parameters that support an intercultural education curriculum based on the socio-cultural and economic reality of these communities. In what concerns the second moment, we wish to engage the participants in a discussion about the importance of mathematics outside a frame of schooling, namely the role this science can have in the struggle for survival that both communities experience in a daily basis. We introduce D’Ambrosio’s ethnomathematical program as an all-encompassing societal program based on the idea that there are several ways, techniques, skills (tics) to explain, understand, deal with and live with (mathema) distinct natural and socioeconomic realities (ethnos). Against this background, ethnomathematics appears not so much as the study of “different mathematics”, but as a way to deal with different forms of “knowing”. In the Urban Boundaries Project ethnomathematics is not to be confused with a subfield of mathematics education, designed to improve school mathematics, but as a political space where new forms of emancipation can be thought and practiced. On the other hand, the philosophy of Slavoj Zizek offers us tools to understand the contradictions of current society where, despite the increasing abundance and sophistication of resources available, communities such as the ones we work with continue to lack the basic conditions for a live with dignity.  
Target Audience and ideal number of participants Target AudienceTeachers and researchers involved in the development of academicals projects.  Everyone who has interest in discussing the political role of mathematics, and the development of projects where mathematics is investigated in a non-scholarized fashion.     Ideal number of Participant: 20 participants.  
Session X one slot(90 min.)□ one slot(60 min.)□ two slots(90 min. / 60 min.)
Request for any equipment or room space -The meeting rooms will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.-A beam projector, a microphone, a podium, a screen will be provided by the local secretariat.