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

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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.
cover of the book Choosing to See: A Framework For Equity in the Math Classroom
Dr. Pamela Seda
Dr. Pamela Seda
Author of Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom

About Dr. Pamela Seda

Dr. Pamela Seda is an educational consultant with over 30 years of educational experience.  She is the owner of Seda Educational Consulting, creator of The VANG Game math card game, and co-author of the book, Choosing to See: A Framework for Equity in the Math Classroom. Dr. Seda has held various positions in mathematics education including high school mathematics teacher, math instructional coach, college math instructor, and district math supervisor.  She currently serves as the Professional Learning Director for NCSM Leadership in Mathematics Education, and Treasurer for the Benjamin Banneker Association. Dr. Seda is passionate about changing how students experience mathematics, especially those from marginalized groups, and advocates for mathematics instruction that develops all students as mathematical thinkers and problem-solvers.

About The LP: Literature in Practice

UnboundEd's goal is to instill the GLEAM™ (Grade-Level, Engaging, Affirming, and Meaningful) instructional framework into classrooms across the nation with professional development, curated programs, and now with a brand new podcast series, The LP: Literature in Practice. Host Brandon White interviews the authors of today’s thought-provoking educational literature and connects the text to GLEAM.

About Brandon White

Brandon White is a former middle school ELA teacher and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District. He has worked for seven years as a servant leader intern and site coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs in Rochester. He has also advocated for these practices through his participation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory Council and through providing professional development at BMGF-sponsored Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) Conferences.


Episode Extras

Purchase the book here



Podcast: The Mindful Math Podcast by Chrissy Allison
Blog: Strategies for Instituting Equitable Math Instruction by Rolanda Baldwin and Dionne Aminata
Video Presentation: Equity, Inclusion, and Antiblackness in Mathematics by Danny Martin
Book: The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics by George Gheverghese Joseph
Article: Rehumanizing Mathematics for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx Students by Imani Goffney, Rochelle Gutierrez, Melissa Boston