brave spaces, social justice, modeling, statistical analysis, visualization
In workshops and courses involving in-service teachers, participating teachers can engage in problem posing and exploration of difficult issues when they are asked to quantitatively model alternative scenarios, statistically analyze complex data, and visualize these data in multiple formats. Subsequent to these activities, discussions of sensitive issues, some even considered taboo in classrooms, can open up “brave spaces” in these teachers’ classrooms. Without coaching through elaborate facilitation strategies, the in-service teachers grappled openly with the nuances of such difficult issues and raised many alternatives involving quantitative reasoning as well as considering biological, cultural, economic, social, and political factors influencing social justice and civil rights decisions and policies. We have adapted this pedagogical approach from the literature on brave spaces with the important difference being that, instead of beginning with a discussion of difficulties in having such discussions, we wait for the participants to raise the issues themselves. Herein we report on two controversial examples dealing with population growth: China’s one-child policy and the tremendous increase in the population of slaves during the pre-Civil War period in the US after legal importation of slaves was outlawed earlier in the century. In the first case, the teachers modeled multiple scenarios for reducing population growth and in the second case, they statistically analyzed the historical data.
Jungck, John R., and Jon Manon. "Brave Spaces: Augmenting Interdisciplinary STEM Education by Using Quantitative Data Explorations to Engage Conversations on Equity and Social Justice." Numeracy 12, Iss. 1 (2019): Article 4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5038/1936-46184.108.40.206
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