Liberation Math, the course, starts next week. We’re going to be doing a wide variety of readings and critical reflection about mathematics education, and we would love to engage and interact with you (yes, you). You can see my outline for the class here — everything is in flux and the participants will have a big influence on what we actually do, especially in the second half of the semester.

One of the things I want to do with Liberation Math is to give a voice to people who wrestle with mathematics, especially those who feel like their voice doesn’t belong in a conversation about math or math education. I want to hear the voices saying that something doesn’t fit about math, that math is oppressive, that math has no relationship to people’s lives, that math education doesn’t fit their needs, that something is broken. That means I need your story of wrestling with mathematics, no matter what form that struggle has taken. You could write your story in any medium you want. Comment on this post with your story. Tweet it with the hashtag #liberationmath. Fill out the form at the top of the page to “Add Your Voice.” Write a post with your story and give a pingback or tweet your post with #liberationmath hashtag. Do a story on Cowbird. You get the idea.

Starting next week, I’ll be posting readings and conversation starters each Monday. These should give you something to wrestle with and talk back to. By Friday, notes will be posted from the in-person class that might provide further fodder for discussion and reflection. By early Monday morning, there will be a roundup posted about the activity of the week, including, perhaps, some of your ideas and thoughts.

(P.S. For those of you in #etmooc, I’m looking at ways to grow my students PLNs and using this course as a tool for social change. Anyone have ideas about more ways to do that?)

###### Related articles

- From Math Shame to Math Liberation (liberationmath.org)
- Mathematics Liberation and MOOCs (liberationmath.org)

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> I need your story of wrestling with mathematics…

For me, the wrestling was during my undergrad years. I went into the University of Michigan honors math program loving math, and left U of M thinking I didn’t care much for it.

7 years later, I wanted a masters degree because I was enjoying teaching at community college (math and computer science courses) and wanted to do it full time. I gritted my teeth and took two math courses – they turned out to be wonderful. I fell back in love.

The good thing is that now I can put myself in my students’ shoes. I also have come (over 20 years later) to claim my identity as a mathematician, even though I will never get a PhD.

Thanks, Sue! Do you think it was something about the climate at U of M or something else that made it not the best experience?

I should have added the part I told you. I tried a PhD program at UCSD, and knew within a month that it would be terrible for me, just like U of M. Both threw too much at me too fast, with no context. (I don’t mean ‘real-world’ problems when I say context. But I like feeling a connection between the topics, a reason why we might want a certain result.) I was overwhelmed.

My masters’ program was at Eastern Michigan University. It’s not elite. It used to be a ‘normal’ school (that was the name long ago for teachers’ colleges). I had great teachers, and I was at the top of many of my classes. It was fun. I could study enough that there was space for me to ask my own questions, trying to tie bits together more. I wasn’t overwhelmed.

Looking forward to following this project, Angela!