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parent maths classes- teaching calculation methods to parents

haylzk 04 January 2012 14:22
Posts3
Joined07/11/11
 Hello, I am currently in my third year of university and will be researching the effect of parent classes for my dissertation topic. I will be focusing mainly on teaching calculation methods to parents and was wondering if anyone had already taught or took part in a parent mathematics class. Any help whatsoever would be amazing. Thank you.
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Christine_Jones 04 January 2012 15:11
Posts735
Joined09/10/09
Perhaps I'm in the minority here but I live in a part of Wales that borders three counties and none of them offer parent classes and I'm not sure how common it is for a school to teach parents 'calculation methods'. Also what methods do they teach and why?
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haylzk 04 January 2012 16:33
Posts3
Joined07/11/11
I have heard many parents explain that they feel that they are good at mathematics but they do not understand the methods that their children use. so basically the classes are to teach parents who are either not confident at mathematics or those who wish to help their children further the methods that their children are taught. The classes can teach parents about using empty number lines, partitioning, the column method, coutning on and counting back. Many parents will understand these methods but may not know the correct names or how to use them with their children. I know of some schools that already teach these classes and I am hoping that through my dissertation research I will find that they are successful. I will then aim to teach parent numeracy classes once I am qualified.

I am unsure where to find academic research on parent classes though and was wondering if anyone could help.

Also if anyone could inform me of any strategies they use in their schools to support parents in mathematics.

Thank you.
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Christine_Jones 04 January 2012 17:05
Posts735
Joined09/10/09
Whilst I can understand what you are saying I'm not sure about the ideas behind this. For instance I had no idea what the 'bus stop' method was and yet I have a very good understanding of the long division algorithm so how would 'parent classes' help me? I really don't see why I have to learn it is called the 'bus stop' method when there is a perfectly good name for it already. I would question ideas like 'the correct names' because I'm not sure who the agreeing body is on the names used. What's wrong with using the names already available?
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alea 04 January 2012 18:17
Posts2
Joined28/02/10
I have put on a couple of courses for parents' - I think I called them workshops! I'm not sure what help you are looking for haylzk? I'm not aware of any research and don't have set resources, I just teach  the methods to them in a similar way as I would explain to the kids.

 I haven't covered the 'bus stop' method for division (I've no idea what other names are used!?) as parents tend to be familiar with this! I went through the expanded methods that we use now but which aren't familiar to parents. I also included number lines and why you don't add a nought to multiply by 10. The reason is simply that the way maths is taught has changed since many parents were at school.
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lhooper 04 January 2012 19:47
Posts6
Joined05/01/07
I was involved in the development and piloting of the early Family Numeracy courses (in the year 2000) and we developed a course for parents which was focused on creating maths resources for use within the school. We met in the school, one day a week, and covered all the basic calculation methods used within the school. We created posters, cards and dominoes, clock faces etc and covered all the maths that could be taught using the resources created. It was attended mostly by young mothers and a couple of grandmothers. At that time the most controversial session turned out to be subtraction and the decomposition method. There was one grandmother who insisted that there was only one method (her method!) and she had confused her grandchildren by trying to impose her method on them when 'helping' with homework.

I asked the parents to choose what topics they wanted for the last two sessions (out of ten) and they all chose algebra as their first choice, and mostly percentages as their second choice, reflecting the subjects they had never mastered at school and felt least confident with. All the feedback was very positive and some parents gained enough confidence to enrol on an adult numeracy course and achieved a qualification.

Best of luck with your dissertation and I hope you stimulate some further research and work in this area.
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Christine_Jones 05 January 2012 08:52
Posts735
Joined09/10/09
There was one grandmother who insisted that there was only one method (her method!) and she had confused her grandchildren by trying to impose her method on them when 'helping' with homework.

This problem is fairly common and we have touched on it before. The real question to ask is why were the children confused? If they had understood the method taught to them in school they would not have needed help; so, perhaps, the real question is why didn't they understand the school method? The grandmother, after all, was only trying to help her grandchildren to accomplish the homework they were unable to tackle on their own.

I have also found that many of the children I tutor become confused by all the different methods presented to them to accomplish a particular mathematical task. We often see this as providing the children with a rich environment from which to pick a particular method; alot of children just view this as too much choice and have no idea what to use to tackle a particular problem. Perhaps the grandmother just wanted them to experience success rather than confusion.

My experience tells me that most parents/grandparents will let a child tackle their own homework and only 'interfere' when the child asks for help. It is the act of asking for help that signals to their parents/grandparents that the child hasn't understood the tasks well enough to tackle them on their own.
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