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Citation:Huntsinger, C. S., & Jose, P. E. (1997). Cultural differences in parentsÕ facilitation of mathematics learning: A comparison of Euro-american and Chinese-American families. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. ED410026.

This longitudinal study looks at how Chinese American and Euro American parents facilitate the mathematics development of their young children. Findings showed that Chinese American children continued to perform higher in mathematics than Euro American children. Chinese American parents used more formal methods to teach their children, and their children spent much more time on mathematics homework. Overall, more similarities than differences emerged in the comparison of Chinese American and Euro American parent-child dyads engaged in problem-solving interactions. The Chinese American dyads made more use of written representation of the problems than did Euro American dyads. In mother-child dyads, Chinese American children were rated as more self-reliant than Euro American children, and Chinese American mothers explained new concepts to a greater degree than did Euro American mothers. In father-child dyads, Chinese American fathers sat closer to their children. Parents in the two groups were rated as equally warm, directive, clear, and involved in problem solving. The sample consisted of 76 first and second graders comprised of 36 second generation Chinese American children and forty Euro American children from well-educated families in the suburban Chicago area. Seventy mother-child dyads (32 Chinese American, 38 Euro American) and 68 father-child dyads (31 Chinese American, 37 Euro American) were videotaped. To measure math development, children were individually given the Seguential Assessment of Mathematics Inventories (Reisman & Hutchinson, 1985) and several other measures. Eight-page questionnaires assessing parental beliefs, attitudes, and practices were mailed to mothers and fathers. Home visits were also made to interview each childÕs parents as a couple. All the methods parents reported they used to facilitated mathematics learning at home were coded on a Likert scale from 1 (informal, simple, incidental) to 3 (more formal, complex, systematic). Videotapes were also made of the father and mother individually helping their child solve word problems within the childÕs zone of proximal development. Practitioners such as teachers of mathematics could benefit from this study by understanding the differences in parental teaching styles in working with their children at home. The qualitative and quantitative methods used in the study provide rigor and robustness to the findings.

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