Parental cultural models and resources for understanding mathematical achievement in culturally diverse school settings

Crafter, Sarah (2012). Parental cultural models and resources for understanding mathematical achievement in culturally diverse school settings. Educational studies in Mathematics, 81(1) pp. 31–46.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-011-9359-5

Abstract

This paper proposes that the theoretical concept of cultural models can offer useful insights into parental involvement in their child’s mathematical achievement and the resources they use to go about gaining information in culturally diverse learning settings. This examination takes place within a cultural-developmental framework and draws on the notion of cultural models to explicate parental understandings of their child’s mathematics achievement and what resources are used to make sense of this. Three parental resources are scrutinized: (a) the teacher, (b) examination test results, and (c) constructions of child development. The interviews with 22 parents revealed some ambiguity around the interpretation of these resources by the parent, which was often the result of incongruent cultural models held between the home and the school. The resources mentioned are often perceived as being unambiguous but show themselves instead to be highly interpretive because of the diversity of cultural models in existence in culturally diverse settings. Parents who are in minority or marginalized positions tend to have difficulties in interpreting cultural models held by school, thereby disempowering them to be parentally involved in the way the school would like.

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