IBL SIGMAA · Asking Questions Together

Inclusivity Statement

Statement on Inclusivity and Equity by the membership of IBL SIGMAA

The charter of the Special Interest Group of the Mathematical Association of America for Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL SIGMAA) articulates connections among inquiry, inclusivity, and equity and makes them central to this group’s purpose. The charter applies these themes both to students and to the community of educators by inviting a diverse group of educators to use a broadly defined set of educational tools to serve a diverse population of students through mathematical inquiry. Many mathematics educators have been doing this work for years using multiple labels and coming from multiple traditions. However, some of these educators have not felt welcome in discussions of teaching with inquiry, or their work has been rendered invisible by the way parts of this community write their history, and this exclusion impoverishes the community as a whole.

In this Resolution, we make both an explicit commitment by the SIGMAA membership and a statement for those who have not felt welcome in this part of the community in the past and present.

We, the members of IBL SIGMAA, believe that learning through inquiry is important for all students because such experiences support growth toward vital learning objectives, can empower students to participate broadly in communities of inquiry, and have been shown to close some achievement gaps. Therefore, we believe all students have equal rights of access to inquiry experiences. We also believe that teaching with inquiry can be challenging as well as rewarding for educators. Therefore, we believe all educators should have easy access to resources and community support for teaching with inquiry.

We acknowledge the persistence of discrimination and exclusion in mathematics based on race, gender, and other factors. As a result of this structural discrimination, students and educators do not all have the access we believe they should. We acknowledge that many people have played active and implicit roles in this discrimination. Given the position of R.L. Moore in the history of teaching mathematics with inquiry and our position among the inheritors of intellectual traditions partially of his making, we specifically acknowledge the direct and symbolic roles that Moore played in excluding students and educators from experiences with inquiry in the mathematics classroom. Such acts by anyone run counter to the central value of inclusivity in this community.

We set aspirational but serious goals for IBL SIGMAA. We dedicate ourselves to making inquiry-based learning experiences accessible to all mathematics students. We pledge to make the professional development and ongoing support needed to teach effectively with interactive and inquiry-based methods accessible to all mathematics instructors. We take responsibility for the work of lowering barriers so that this access is practical and equitable. We resolve to listen and learn and to act in order to make this community proactively welcoming to all educators.

This Resolution is a statement of values, an acknowledgement of some of the challenges, and a commitment to doing better. This commitment can only be borne out through the actions of the IBL SIGMAA and its members going forward.

Resolution adopted by vote of membership in May 2017.