Why Equitable Math Instruction Matters with Pamela Seda | The LP: EP 4

February 8, 2023

To many, the numbers, procedures, and concepts covered in the average mathematics course are completely neutral and require no cultural considerations. But if you ask somebody like Dr. Pamela Seda, she would say that that conclusion just doesn’t add up. Dr. Seda takes some time to discuss her book Choosing to See: A Framework For Equity in the Math Classroom, and we cover the best practice, worst myths, and the urgent need to deepen mathematical strengths through leveraging assets that students already have.

Key Takeaways:

  • Equality and equity are cousins, not twins. When discussing meeting students’ distinct needs through math instruction, it’s important to know the difference.
  • Math is about patterns: seeing them, describing them, generalizing them, and creating them. Stepping back and looking at math from this angle (no pun intended) can help us avoid narrow beliefs about how it should be taught and help us identify multiple pathways to build mathematical skills and identities.
  • Math also shouldn’t be about mimicking routines. Despite being done for generations, procedures in math shouldn’t be about parroting, and they shouldn’t steal all the instructional attention away from conceptualizing, problem-solving, and pattern recognition.
  • Releasing control and including others as experts is important, but hard to do, especially if fears are high and expectations are low.
  • Fears about how math is taught can best be addressed by asking questions and reflecting on what is needed for our children to find personal and professional success in the next phases of the 21st century.
  • Consistently equitable math instruction won’t happen overnight because, as Dr. Seda noted, equity is a journey, not a destination.