Mathematics Curriculum Change: Identifying Parental Expectations

Abstract: Parents’growing concerns about the current approaches to learning mathematics in elementary school have drawn public attention in Canada. Rather than dismiss such concerns, understanding parent perceptions and garnering their support is essential to ongoing curriculum transformation and students’ success in mathematics learning. Using phenomenography, we examined parents’ perceptions of the current mathematics curriculum and their children’s experiences as expressed in community-based focus groups and individual interviews. Parents responded based on their past experiences, their views of children’s current experiences and their future aspirations for their children. Our analysis of parents’ perspectives revealed that their concerns and critiques were grounded in the expectations they held for their children’s mathematics learning. In particular, parental expectations fell into three categories: students need the opportunity to reach expected goals of mathematics learning; essential supports must be in place to reach expected goals; and, home-school communication is necessary for parent understanding and engagement. We suggest that by understanding the specific expectations that underlie parents’ concerns, teachers can engage in conversations that begin with affirming mutual expectations and respecting parents’ personal experiences to lead to partnering with parents as they realize their agency in their children’s learning.

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Download: 41, size: 0, date: 07.May.2020