Exploring math anxious parents’ emotional experience surrounding math homework-help
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Title: Exploring math anxious parents’ emotional experience surrounding math homework-help.
Authors: DiStefano, M., O’Brien, B., Storozuk, A., Ramirez, G., & Maloney, E. A.
Journal and DOI: International Journal of Educational Research, 2020, Vol. 99, 101526. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijer.2019.101526
What is math anxiety?
Math anxiety includes feelings of fear, tension, and apprehension towards math, and it has been found to predict a host of negative math outcomes. Recent research highlights that role models’ math anxiety (i.e., teachers and parents) can affect how students learn and approach math.
What did we ask?
When higher math anxious parents frequently help with their children’s math homework, these children learn less math over the course of a school year and develop math anxiety themselves. Our team asked why homework help may backfire: Do higher math anxious parents perceive a more negative homework-helping interaction?
How did we test it?
We surveyed parents of children in Grades 1–6 across North America on the time they spend helping their child with their math homework and the level of confidence, conflict, stress, frustration, and emotionality that they feel during math homework interactions as a function of their math anxiety.
What did we find?
As predicted, parents who were higher in math anxiety reported feeling a more negative emotional experience surrounding the homework environment when helping their child with math homework.
Why is it important?
In this study, we took important steps towards understanding the factors contributing to parents’ maladaptive behaviours during their math homework helping interactions with their children. Because higher-math-anxious parents are experiencing much more negative emotions during this interaction, they are potentially hindering their child’s math learning experience. Understanding this dynamic has important implications for educational practices and the development of scaffolding tools, especially given the push for parents to be involved in their children’s learning.