Mathematics Education in Indigenous and Migrational Contexts

Teacher-student helping pupils- photo
(Photo: Tine Poppe/USN)

What happens in mathematics teaching, when students have backgrounds from different languages and cultures?

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Can mathematics contribute to more equality and social justice in school? And can the subject itself be enhanced by the diversity of languages and cultures?

Tensions in classrooms

The MIM research project will investigate how mathematical education develops in multilingual and multicultural classrooms, where different languages ​​and cultures can hinder, support or challenge learning in mathematics education. In particular, we want to look at classrooms with a high number of different languages and cultures, including Norwegian.

Indigenous people have, through colonization, experienced such educational challenges for generations. We also now see similar tensions in classrooms with children and teachers from other minority groups, and tensions are now occurring in Norwegian classrooms.

The backdrop for the research project is that we are living in a time of social change and migration.

Develop strengthening pedagogies

We will find out how classrooms with different languages ​​and cultures influence all students’ learning. Through analysis of positive experiences, expressed by individuals and groups in their own stories, their strengths and resources will be identified. Based on this, we will develop what is called strengthening pedagogies, and explore educational opportunities - first in Norway, and then connect it to parallel research in Canada and the United States.

Will work in partnership

We will use participatory research. This means that we work in partnership with the groups and communities that are intended to benefit from the work. The research will, with empirical, theoretical, methodological and practical results, contribute within the field of mathematics education research.

Voices of students and teachers 

As researchers, we have made some assessments about what we want to achieve. We want to promote teaching that addresses diversity in the classroom, by letting the voices of students and teachers be heard. The research will impact today’s children and future generations: their learning, their relationships, their (mathematical) identities, and their possibilities for future citizenship and work life.




«Mathematics Education in Indigenous and Migrational contexts: Storylines, Cultures and Strength-based Pedagogies».

Conference November 8th: Mathematics in Indigenous and Migrational Contexts


Funding: The Research Council of Norway (NFR) has allocated NOK 11.3 million for the project period 2020 to 2024 through the program Research and innovation in the education sector (FINNUT)

Collaborative project: MIM is a collaboration between research environments at USN, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Michigan State University (USA) and the University of New Brunswick (Canada).