Centro para la Educacion de Matemáticas de Latinos/as
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Research with Parents

CEMELA is currently conducting two studies on aspects related to Latino parents and mathematics education. A unique aspect of CEMELA is its commitment to working with parents as partners in the mathematics education of their children. We build on our prior ethnographic work in Latino communities, where we gathered information on the labor and social history of Latino families as well as information on their views on education, and on the children's daily activities and chores (Funds of Knowledge for Teaching Project; Project Bridge). We also build on our work in parental engagement in mathematics education and in the resulting model (parents as parents, parents as learners, parents as teachers and parents as leaders) (Project MAPPS (Math and Parent Partnerships in the Southwest)).

Study 1
What is the nature of Latino parents' perceptions of the teaching and learning of mathematics?

This study emerges from of our prior research in MAPPS (Anhalt, Allexsaht-Snider, & Civil, 2002; Civil & Bernier, in press; Civil, Bratton, & Quintos, in press; Civil, Planas, & Quintos, 2005; Civil, Quintos, & Bernier, 2003). In our current study we use common instruments (parent profile; parent mathematical autobiography; interview protocols) jointly designed by researchers from the different CEMELA sites to gain an understanding of Latino parents' views on the teaching and learning of mathematics across the different CEMELA contexts. We use activities such as math for parents workshops to build rapport and engage in a dialogue on aspects related to mathematics education. Visiting mathematics classrooms with parents is proving to be a powerful experience for all of us. These visits provide us with a common context that we (parents and researchers) analyze together to bring up our beliefs and values about the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Some of related questions that we are looking at in our current study are:

This study started in Fall 2005 at UA and UNM; the other sites are expected to join within this coming year.

Researchers: Jesús Acosta (UA); Marta Civil (UA); Javier Díez Palomar (UA); Mary Marshall (UNM); Beatriz Quintos (UA); Erin Turner (UNM).

Study 2
What is the nature of Latino parents' use of mathematics in everyday contexts?

This study emerges directly from prior work in Projects Funds of Knowledge and Bridge (Civil & Andrade, 2002; Civil & Andrade, 2003; González, Andrade, Civil, & Moll, 2001), as well as from research conducted by Goldman, Pea, and colleagues at Stanford University, as part of their Family Math Study through the LIFE Science and Learning Center. In fact, this study is being conducted in collaboration with Goldman, Pea, and colleagues. Instruments include interview protocols from the Family Math Study, as well as protocols adapted from prior work in project Bridge. For a small group of participants, we anticipate conducting household visits and possibly ethnographic fieldwork to capture parents' / families' uses of mathematics in everyday contexts.

Some of related questions that we are looking at in our current study are:

This study started Fall 2005 at UCSC and is expected to start Spring 2006 at UA.

Researchers: Jesús Acosta (UA); Marta Civil (UA); Javier Díez Palomar (UA); Judit Moschkovich (UCSC); Beatriz Quintos (UA); Anne Rios (UCSC). This study is conducted in collaboration with Shelley Goldman and colleagues (Stanford University and LIFE Center).

The significance of these two studies goes beyond documenting Latino parents' perceptions of the teaching and learning of mathematics and their uses of mathematics in everyday contexts. This documenting is certainly important as it will highlight the knowledge and resources of a group of people, low income, Latino families, whose knowledge has historically not been recognized or valued by institutions such as schools. But, furthermore, by engaging in these studies with the parents themselves we seek to transform situations of exclusion that may affect Latino families and restrict their children's learning of mathematics.


Anhalt, C., Allexsaht-Snider, M. & Civil, M. (2002). Middle School Mathematics Classrooms: A Place for Latina Parents' Involvement. Journal of Latinos and Education, 1(4), 255-262.

Civil, M. & Andrade, R. (2002). Transitions between home and school mathematics: Rays of hope amidst the passing clouds. In G. de Abreu, A.J. Bishop, and N.C. Presmeg (Eds.), Transitions between contexts of mathematical practices (pp. 149-169). Boston, MA: Kluwer.

Civil, M. & Andrade, R. (2003). Collaborative practice with parents: The role of the researcher as mediator. In A. Peter-Koop, V. Santos-Wagner, C. Breen, & A. Begg (Eds.), Collaboration in teacher education: Examples from the context of mathematics education (pp. 153-168). Boston, MA: Kluwer.

Civil, M. & Bernier, E. (in press). Exploring images of parental participation in mathematics education: Challenges and possibilities. Mathematical Thinking and Learning.

Civil, M., Bratton, J., & Quintos, B. (in press). Parents and mathematics education in a Latino community: Redefining parental participation. Multicultural Education Journal.

Civil, M., Planas, N., & Quintos, B. (2005). Immigrant parents' perspectives on their childrens mathematics. Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, 37(2), 81-89.

Civil, M., Quintos, B., & Bernier, E., (2003, April). Parents as Observers in the Mathematics Classroom: Establishing a Dialogue Between School and Community. Paper presented at the NCTM research presession, San Antonio, TX.

González, N., Andrade, R., Civil, M., & Moll, L.C. (2001). Bridging funds of distributed knowledge: Creating zones of practices in mathematics. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 6, 115-132.