'We do it a different way at my school': mathematics homework as a site for tension and conflict

RM Hughes, PM Greenhough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Abstract

This chapter draws on Wenger's (1998) account of communities of practice to provide insights into the relationship between home and school mathematics practices and identities. The chapter presents and analyses an interaction between a 9-year-old boy and his mother as she attempts to help him with a mathematics homework task, consisting of a sheet of two-digit subtraction problems. The analysis reveals considerable tension and conflict at the boundary between home and school practices, as the different identities of mother and child negotiate with and challenge each other. These conflicts are exemplified by arguments about the appropriate methods for carrying out the subtractions, in which both participants justify their positions in terms of power and legitimacy instead of the underlying mathematical principles. One implication is that schools need to reconceptualise their approach to homework and parents' role in supporting homework if such interactions are to be more supportive of children's mathematics learning.
Translated title of the contribution'We do it a different way at my school': mathematics homework as a site for tension and conflict
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Directions for Situated Cognition in Mathematics Education
EditorsA Watson, P Winbourne
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
Pages129 - 151
Number of pages23
Volume45
ISBN (Print)9780387715773
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Other identifier: 0387715770
Other: Mathematics Education Library, Vol 45

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