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ERIC Number: EJ794262
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 22
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8731
Creating a Third Space for Authentic Biculturalism: Examples from Math in a Cultural Context
Lipka, Jerry; Sharp, Nancy; Adams, Barbara; Sharp, Ferdinand
Journal of American Indian Education, v46 n3 p94-115 2007
"Tumaqcat" in the Yupiaq language literally means putting the pieces together. This case demonstrates how Ms. Nancy Sharp, a Yupiaq immersion teacher, seamlessly creates a classroom space that honors and adapts her home culture while she simultaneously meets school-based mathematical standards. Ms. Sharp's Yupiaq immersion class makes patterns during the lesson described and analyzed in this case. It explores her successful implementation, according to project tests, of a culturally based math module, "Patterns and Parkas: Investigating Geometric Principles, Shapes, Patterns, and Measurement" which is part of the "Math in a Cultural Context" (MCC) series. This math module connects Yupiaq cultural activity with school-based geometry. This study is part of a much larger long-term collaboration with Yupiaq communities and math educators in the development and implementation of culturally based curriculum, MCC. The larger ongoing implementation studies have yielded consistent and repeated results favoring MCC. This article describes how Ms. Sharp develops a classroom space that not only connects her home culture and language to the culture of schooling but also shows how she resourcefully and authentically accomplished this. Through cultural and linguistic activities, she and her students engage in work that they deem important in the context of home and school. She effectively uses modeling and joint activity as a means of teaching geometric relationships, while students learn to fold and cut geometrical patterns out of paper, and learn the Yupiaq ways of putting these patterns together. She does not use typical school-based pedagogical procedures such as nominating students and evaluating their responses. Instead, students work alongside the teacher, making pattern pieces that they further fashion into a symmetrical strip pattern. Her familiarity with the cultural and linguistic context of making border patterns made it more feasible to effectively connect her cultural and linguistic knowledge with school-based math. These authentic connections resulted in better than average gain scores for her Yupiaq second language learners.
Center for Indian Education. Arizona State University, College of Education, P.O. Box 871311, Tempe, AZ 95287-1311. Tel: 480-965-6292; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A