Projects conducted in two Australian schools point to parents as being important advocates in promoting mathematical reform and contemporary practice. Consistent with other research, the parents that were involved with these projects showed that they were willing to participate in their child's mathematical education, but needed more information about current mathematical practices and the rationale behind these practices.
As parents become more informed about mathematics education issues and more exposed to sound approaches to mathematics teaching and learning, it is hoped that they will become more active advocates for a quality mathematics education for all children.
Informing parents was done through creating the opportunity for them to engage in information sessions, and in numeracy related activities with their children in the home environment. Parents responded positively, with many questioning their own experiences of mathematics education: “How come we were not taught this way when we were in school?”
A lack of information about new methods of teaching mathematics can lead to parents feeling unable to help, as well as reinforcing any maths anxiety they may have. National Numeracy currently has a wide range of information on our website that seeks to provide support and advice to parents, and we hope to feature guidance around new mathematical approaches in the future.