Previously, I shared some book resources that might help you enhance your child’s learning environment towards maths. This time, I’ll share with you some advice about working with your child’s classroom teacher.
Working with Your Child’s Classroom Teacher
Besides the mathematics learning that takes place at the parent’s initiative, there are many opportunities for parents and teachers to work cooperatively in enriching children’s experience with mathematics. These situations are likely to be the most profitable for two reasons. First, children generally want to please both their parents and their teachers. If they see that mathematics is important to both their parents and their teacher, they will consider it important for themselves too. Second, extending mathematical concepts from the classroom to home will establish the idea that mathematics is not just a school subject, but an everyday subject that makes life more interesting and understandable.
Parents who want to become more involved in their child’s mathematical education, but who are hesitant to take the initiative on their own, may want to look to the teacher for guidance. Ask the teachers if they could provide assistance in:
- setting up a system of home study;
- helping parents understand the sequencing of mathematical skill development;
- suggesting materials and activities that are entertaining and suitable for their child’s level and which can be done in a reasonable amount of time;
- providing clear guidelines on how to use materials;
- giving feedback on the successes and failures of home activities; and
- knowing when to stop working with a child on an activity so that a good working relationship is maintained.
In working with teachers, parents should not forget the opportunities that homework assignments offer. Studies have shown that parents’ participation in students’ homework can increase achievement. Moreover, the effect of that involvement will be maximised if parents and teachers work together toward common goals. It is important for parents to understand the system the teacher is using to assign and evaluate homework, as well as the methods being used to teach mathematical concepts. Helping children with homework can be counterproductive if parents are working at cross purposes with the classroom teacher.