Overcoming mathematical helplessness and developing mathematical resilience in parents: an illustrative case study

Janet Goodall, Sue Johnston-Wilder

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Abstract

A consideration of parental contribution to mathematical success in terms of affect is both timely and important. Many parents suffer from mathematics anxiety or helplessness in UK; there is a risk that this anxiety or helplessness be transmitted to their children. Here we illustrate the application of the construct ‘mathematical resilience’ to developing positive parental engagement in mathe-matics. We used the method of a single case intervention study, in which the subject is a moth-er/daughter dyad and their relationship with mathematics. The object is made up of the concepts of learned helplessness and mathematical resilience. The intervention was 3 brief sessions between the second author and the mother. The mother kept a journal and after the intervention she was interviewed. As the dyad gained mathematical resilience, they were able to leave behind learned helplessness, resulting in a better relationship, raised self esteem and increased ability to engage with mathematical thinking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCreative Education
Volume6
Issue number5
Early online date7 Apr 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

Keywords

  • parental engagement
  • maths resilience
  • learned helplessness
  • growth zone

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