Section Five, is dedicated to artistic expression in Africa. Th is
constitutes a vibrant and dynamic aspect of the lives of Africans which continues to be integrated
into the daily and ceremonial life of peoples of the continent. Rituals and festivals for example, offer a rich platform for the performance of a communal aesthetic and ethos. Chapters in the
section are on the literary arts (Chapter 17), visual arts (Chapter 18), as well as on dance (Chapter
19), musical traditions (Chapter 20), and popular entertainment (Chapter 21). Th e authors seek
to both lay out the features of a range of art forms and to demonstrate the contexts of their use
and performance, while also emphasising their importance in expressing the universe of ideas
and beliefs developed by Africans. Th e arts are shown as assisting in understanding African
societies better while some art forms also play the role of social commentary and intervention.
In today’s world, economic access and full citizenship depend crucially on mathematics and science literacy.
—Robert Moses, Civil Rights Leader
While schools have embraced the response to intervention (RTI) model for reading and behavior, implementation of RTI for mathematics continues to lag (Buffum, Mattos, & Weber, 2009, 2010, 2012). Several factors may contribute to this lag in implementation for numeracy.
First, we have valued written and spoken language abilities over mathematics. It is also not uncommon or unacceptable for adults, including elementary educators, to say, “I never liked mathematics as a student” or “I’m not really good at mathematics.” It is less likely, however, that an educator would comfortably state, “I never liked reading” or “I’ve never been a good reader.”
In addition, schools’ hesitation with the implementation of tiered instruction for mathematics may be impacted by educators’ levels of confidence with mathematics, mathematics instruction, and intervention. Often, the teachers with whom we partner freely express feeling less confident teaching mathematics than they do teaching language arts, and they often tell us they feel less professionally satisfied with the mathematics instruction in their classrooms. This may result not only from teachers’ lack of confidence in their own conceptual understanding but also from lower levels of confidence in instructional and intervention practices for mathematics. When we ask educators to reflect on their own mathematical learning, their memories include extensive experiences with worksheets, textbook pages, timed assessments, and round-robin competitive games designed to practice automaticity. Story or word problems are often omitted. The reality is that many of us experienced mathematics instruction that was abstract, procedural, and computational. While elements of those instructional practices may continue to have some value, the overdependence on them has likely contributed to educators’ lack of confidence teaching mathematics. Adults may compute and apply formulas proficiently; however, many find the fluid application and interconnected strategies of mathematics challenging simply because those elements have not traditionally been emphasized in classroom instruction—we are products of the very system we want to reform (Ball, 2005).