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Enhancing the involvement of parents in the mathematics education of their elementary school children

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
An emergent construct in modern education is the recognition by educators and policy makers that involving parents in the education of their children is an important matter. This is clear in the policies of the British Columbia Ministry of Education and the efforts of educational leaders internationally which aim to create conditions, attitudes and supports for parents to become more instrumentally involved in schooling. The object of this study is to clarify how a principal can increase effective parental involvement in learning at home. The curricular area of focus was intermediate level mathematics. Parents were invited to attend two workshops with the goal of promoting increased parent knowledge and comfort with mathematics as taught in contemporary classrooms in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Survey and interview data helped to build the profiles of attitudes, beliefs and practices of four participants selected as case studies. The resulting profiles combined with a comprehensive literature review helped to answer three research questions: What difficulties do parents express with respect to their involvement in mathematics? What is the effect of attending parent workshops about supporting students in mathematics? What gives parents confidence and motivates them to be involved? Results revealed a greater understanding and acceptance of change and a willingness to engage with their children and their homework at a deeper level than before the workshop experience. There were subtle, yet notable, shifts in understanding of curriculum change and the education system. Since reform-minded educational leaders seek first to prepare the community in a way that facilitates change, these subtle shifts may be significant. The time limitations of this study prohibit comment on long-term effects, which points to the need for further research on the effect of parent attendance at curriculum-related workshops.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Liljedahl, Peter
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etd6384_AVanderZalm.pdf 1.29 MB

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