Everyday Maths: Empowering Parents to Support Their Children's Maths Understanding
  • Room 207, Rolle Building, Plymouth University

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Part of the Outdoor and Experiential Learning Research Network 2014-15 seminar series, this seminar discusses the findings of the Everyday Maths project which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and ran from January 2013 - September 2014. 

The seminar is aimed at academics and PGCE/BEd students.

Research suggests that support from parents and/or carers can have a significant impact on children’s mathematics learning. However, whilst parents are motivated to help their children learn, they often have little confidence engaging with mathematics as presented in the school curriculum. 

The research aimed to address this by moving beyond “school maths” toward a concept of “Everyday Maths”. Specifically, we designed and ran Everyday Maths workshops for parents of Year 3 and 4 children in four Bristol schools. The workshops were designed to help parents reflect upon and find the mathematics in their everyday lives, and support parents in developing conversations with their children around this form of mathematics. 

The findings suggest that the workshops afforded parents the opportunity to develop a “mathematical lens” which led them to identify the mathematical reasoning underpinning decisions and actions in everyday life. This inspired parents to initiate conversations with their children about mathematics and construct activities which engaged children in mathematical thinking. In the paper we detail key shifts in parental perspectives of mathematics, including a shift in language (from “I can’t” to “we do”), a shift in experience (from abstract to embodied and rooted in nature), and a shift from desiring answers to finding questions.

Come and find out how parents can help children make sense of maths. 

This seminar is preceded by the Outdoor and Experiential Research Network Christmas party at 4pm - join us for mince pies, wine and apple juice and a chat!

Email Sue Waite to confirm attendance for these events - there is no charge.

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About the researchers

Dr Tim Jay is Reader in Education at Sheffield Hallam University. He was PI on the Everyday Maths project, while he was Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Bristol. Tim's research interests centre on children's learning of mathematics. In particular, he is interested in the ways that individual differences in cognition and background affect children's experience of classroom mathematics.

Dr Jo Rose is a Lecturer in Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol. She has a background in social psychology, and has research interests in collaborative working, and in the development of aspirations. She was a Co-I on the Everyday Maths project, and took a particular interest in the ways in which parents worked together, and how that enabled them to develop their ideas around mathematics.

Dr Ben Simmons is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol. He was the Research Assistant on the Everyday Maths project and is currently involved in disseminating the findings. Before joining Bristol, Ben held research posts in the field of Education and Health at Plymouth University, the University of Oxford, and the University of Exeter (he is not presenting at this session).

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