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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2018

From academic performances and learning in mathematics to a transcultural knowledge ? An example in Martinique cultural environment


The educational sciences as a theorical model are mature in order to investigate the situations of teaching-learning in mathematics. The anthropological theory of didactic (Chevallard, 1991), the social representations of the disciplines and the relationships to academic knowledge contribute to contextualize the interactions realized relating in mathematics. The comparative approach of the educational systems underlines the necessity to the awareness of the cultural diversity (Klieme & Baumert, 2001). Tough the analyze of the variables, which could explain the differential academic performances observed at the national French tests of diagnostic evaluations, remains to be developed in particularly within the French Overseas departments. Since more of thirty years, important inferior performances are observed regularly in the French overseas departments comparatively to the continental French academies (hexagonal France included the Corse) to standardized evaluations tasks in mathematics and in French, as teaching language. Some studies interpret these results with the specific socioeconomic conditions of the pupils (Si Moussa, 2005), and others studies investigate the impact of sociolinguistics variables (Miehakanda, 2011). Arneton, Bocéréan and Flieller (2013) studying with an historical perspective those gaps, indicate that the inferior performances of the overseas pupils are most important in mathematics that in French. These results invite to examine most closely the teaching-learning situations according to an intercultural perspective in which, the macro-, the meso- and the micro-environments are studied. As a part of the explanation of those quantitative gaps, we interest us in the place of the culture in the construction of the mathematical knowledge in scholar environment and in the status associated to this knowledge. Could we talk about a multicultural, intercultural or transcultural knowledge? French departments since 1946, Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana are located in the Latin-American area and in the Caribbean region. The present contribution uses Martinique as a contextualized example. We conduct our research in a historico-cultural perspective (Vygotski, 1934/1997). Our analyses refer to two complementary studies in order to explain the quantitative analyses of low academic performances in mathematics of the French Caribbean pupils. The first study, conducted in a comparative way, analyses continental and Martinique academic projects under ten years. It aims to identifying the representations of the mathematics promoted in those administrative documents. As contractualization with the French ministry of education, these documents provide the strategies to set up to improve the achievement of the pupils. As results, a panorama of the academic assumptions about the overseas’ pupils is established and the orientations purposed by the school institution are described. These analyses of the macro- and the meso-levels give elements to investigate the teaching-learning practices, in particular in mathematics. The second study, conducted in a research-action-intervention way, discusses the relationships to mathematics and cultural knowledge of the pupils mobilized in class when the awélé is used (Numa-Bocage, 2010). The results of interviews and observations in class conduct to take over the assumption of Farraudière (2008). According to this author, the inferior performances of the Martinique pupils are due to the not-inclusion of the “culture of the Mornes” (creole terms referring to mountains) in the French school system, which is proposed uniformly and in universalizing manner to everyone. The discussion comes back to the question of the inclusion of the own culture of the pupils by the French school system, which is a part of the recognition of the diversity in school environment (Bruner, 1998; Freire, 1993). Even if the French overseas’ academies have common characteristics with the French continental academies; it remains to take into account the historico-cultural environment in which learnings occur. It is also a necessity to investigate the representations of the pupils and those of the teachers about the mathematics; the educational literature often considers this academic field as less impacted by cultural effects. Our contribution invite to consider the mathematical expertise built at school as a transcultural knowledge, which contribute to increase, the equity between learners, according to the diversity.
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Dates et versions

hal-01867001 , version 1 (03-09-2018)


  • HAL Id : hal-01867001 , version 1


Mélissa Arneton, Line Numa-Bocage. From academic performances and learning in mathematics to a transcultural knowledge ? An example in Martinique cultural environment. Stacey Blackman; Dennis Conrad. Responding to Learner Diversity and Difficulties, Information Age Publishing Inc., 2018, Caribbean Discourse in Inclusive Education. ⟨hal-01867001⟩
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