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Understanding African immigrant families’ support for their children’s mathematics learning in Canada Yaro , Kwesi


This research investigates African immigrant families' experiences and perspectives of their children's (10-15-year-old) mathematics learning in the home, community and school settings within the Greater Vancouver area. The study employs the concept of cultural capital framework and Afrocentric worldviews to understand how African immigrant parents support their children’s mathematics learning at the upper elementary and middle grade levels (Grades 4 - 8) in Canada. Specifically, the study addressed the following questions: i) which socio-cultural strategies and understandings do African immigrant families living in a large metropolis draw upon to support their children’s mathematics learning? ii) what are African immigrant families’ experiences and perspectives with respect to their (10–15-year olds) children’s mathematics learning in the home, community and school settings, within the Greater Vancouver Area? The study’s findings indicate that, African immigrant parents 1) were aware of the gatekeeping function of mathematics and its role in reproducing or disrupting race or class hierarchies and 2) perceived their support for their children’s mathematics fluency as a sure way for securing a status for counterbalancing their social exclusion and positioning themselves as people of education and intellect. The study’s findings also indicate that immigrant families leveraged various forms of capital in support of their children’s mathematics learning: Cultural, linguistic, aspirational, technological/digital and navigational capital. These forms of capital extend the narrowly conceived definitions of capital as accumulated wealth, resources, and experiences of white middle-class families. The results of the study are significant in that they provide much- needed insights into ways to build culturally responsive mathematics education informed by African immigrant students’ and families’ funds of knowledge.

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