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Being Disconcerted in Nigerian Classrooms: On the Ethnography of Number Concepts

Helen Verran (Charles Darwin University)

Nigerian classrooms are generally quite basic in the facilities offered to support teaching and learning. Usually made of concrete bricks, often with pot-holed stamped earth floors, glass windows are not the norm. A blackboard is provided, but pupils sometimes need to provide their own seats and desks, and teachers must generally supply any teaching equipment, for example chalk. Such surrounds are of course disconcerting for those who come from places where classrooms more resemble comfortable family homes, and where it is the unexpected things that children do that often disconcerts. In my story it is the unexpected things that teachers do in teaching children to know and use numbers that is disconcerting. The lecture elaborates how a novel number that came to life in such classrooms provoked epistemic disconcertment and how that led to imagining possibilities for ethnographies of number concepts.

November 28, 2018

Internationales Kolleg Morphomata
Weyertal 59
50937 Köln