Parents' past experiences as a mediational tool for understanding their child's current mathematical learning

O'Toole, Sarah and de Abreu, Guida (2005). Parents' past experiences as a mediational tool for understanding their child's current mathematical learning. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 20(1) pp. 75–89.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03173212

Abstract

This article explores the ways in which parents use their own past experiences as a mediational tool for understanding their child’s current school learning. Following a sociocultural approach parents’ past experiences were examined drawing on the notions of (i) heterochronicity, which looks at the partially overlapping histories of the individual and society and (ii) prolepsis whereby the imagined future mediates and constrains the world of the present. The analysis draws on 22 interviews with parents whose children were from three primary multiethnic schools in a town in the Southeast of England. The findings brought to light the means by which parents can either intentionally or unintentionally use the past to inform their current representations and practices. Thus at times they use their past experiences to mediate internalisation (reproduction of the experience), at other times they use them to promote externalisation (change brought about by the experience). It is within this process that parents projected a future ideal for their child, which was either congruent or discordant with their own past.

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