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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mathematical attitudes and beliefs : reviewing the parent-child relationship Stout, Melissa C.

Abstract

The original purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of parents' own math beliefs and attitudes with their children's math beliefs and attitudes. An extensive review of the literature on the affective domain resulted in the decision to use a novel genre of inquiiy and representation. Because a few previous studies, all quantitative, had found a positive but weak relationship between the beliefs and attitudes of parents and children, it was decided to see whether a change in methods and methodology would affect or elucidate past results. This change involved the use of a case study research design, as well as variations of Ginsburg's (1981) 'clinical interview' for data collection to produce Lawrence- Lightfoot's (1983) 'portraiture' for data analysis and reporting. This current investigation showed that using these new approaches supported the results of past positivist studies: that is, parents' own math beliefs and attitudes play some role in the way in which their children feel and react to mathematics. More importantly, the changed approaches to methods and methodology also enhanced the appreciation for the complexity of the parent-child relationship by giving a humanistic touch to past statistical results, and suggested further avenues for exploring the whole area of children's mathematical beliefs and attitudes.

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