Exploring parents' cultural models of mathematical knowledge in multiethnic primary schools

Crafter, Sarah and de Abreu, Guida (2013). Exploring parents' cultural models of mathematical knowledge in multiethnic primary schools. In: Marsico, Giuseppina; Komatsu, Koji and Iannaccone, Antonio eds. Crossing boundaries: Intercontextual Dynamics Between Family And School. Advances in Cultural Psychology: Constructing Human Development. Information Age Publishing, pp. 209–228.

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One of the key obstacles in the relationship between home and school numeracy practices is that often they are conceptualised by the school as being the same practice. There is an assumption that parents will interpret and give the same meaning to the mathematics embedded in a practice as the child's teacher and school. It is not uncommon, that schools and teachers have expectations about specific ways parents can use everyday practices to engage their children with school-like mathematics. Empirical studies, mostly conducted in non-Western cultures, have shown that different ways of dealing with mathematical practices in and outside school are deeply related with the historical, cultural and social context of these practices. However, the dynamics of these relationships in culturally diverse societies have yet to be fully investigated. Taking a cultural-developmental psychology approach in this chapter we draw on parents' interviews conducted as part of studies aimed at understanding the mediating role of parents in their child's mathematics learning in multicultural schools in England. In these studies we examine how parents represent and orchestrate practices in supporting their child's numeracy learning. We take into account both the parents 'unique' cultural heritage (e.g. Pakistani, English, etc.) and the parents 'shared' socio-cultural experiences resulting from having a child in a school in England. We are interested in exploring and conceptualising how parents' understandings are constructed in light of their interactions with the child's school learning. Perspectives of the parents are triangulated with those of their children and teachers.

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