Making sense of homework: parental resources for understanding mathematical homework in multicultural settings

Crafter, Sarah (2012). Making sense of homework: parental resources for understanding mathematical homework in multicultural settings. In: Hjörne, Eva; van der Aalsvoort, Geerdina and Abreu, Guida de eds. Learning, Social Interaction and Diversity - Exploring Identities in School Practices. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 53–68.

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Abstract

Parental involvement in children’s homework is strongly endorsed and encouraged by political and educational policy in the UK. However, involvement in mathematics homework is said to be particularly problematic for parents because of changes to the curriculum since their own schooling, the introduction of multitudinous mathematical strategies at school, and in the case of multicultural communities, an ever-increasing heterogeneity of learning experiences amongst parents. Using the theoretical framework of cultural models and cultural settings this chapter examines the kinds of resources parents use to make sense of their child’s mathematics homework. Two parental resources for making sense of mathematics homework are scrutinized: (a) the child, and (b) cultural models of child development. The
interviews with twenty-two parents revealed that these resources were highly intangible and often symbolic models which were open to misunderstandings, resistances and transformations. Also, the child could be an active or resistant co-constructor of these resources which subsequently informed the homework setting.

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