Mathematics is seen as the remit of ‘mad scientists’, ‘nerdy’ boys and the socially inept (Epstein et al, 2010). It is spoken about as though it is a genetic gift possessed only by a rare few and inaccessible to the general public. Believing that mathematics does not matter or writing yourself off as ‘no good at maths’ blocks improvement and is also harmful to the economy. In a technology-dependent and increasingly competitive world, the need for improved mathematics is greater than ever and the demands for people who can think in terms of maths has grown exponentially (Epstein, et al, 2010).
Attitudes in children towards mathematics is an important factor to consider. The attitude of children can be considered from several aspects such as self-efficacy, self-concept and enjoyment. All of which have different implications for children and their attitudes towards mathematics. Attitudes, positive or negative, towards mathematics can have a great impact on a person’s perceptions of their own ability, especially in children. One environmental factor to consider is the role of parents and how their attitude towards mathematics is perceived children including the lack of understanding, positivity and support they offer children.
Research carried out by YouGov, surveying over 11,000 adults revealed that almost half (45%) of UK adults have struggled with everyday tasks involving mathematics, whilst 37% have found these tasks to be stressful due to the mathematics involved (KMPG, 2018).
Parents give children their first experience of mathematics and it is important this is a positive one. Exposing children to negativity surrounding mathematics is likely to have a negative impact on the children’s attitude. Parental involvement could provide a way to facilitate children’s positive attitudes towards maths, subsequently improving learning outcomes. Lang Chen (2018) states “Attitude is really important. The unique contribution of positive attitude to mathematics achievement is a large as the contribution from IQ” (Stanford University, 2019). It is important to further research the role of parents in children’s attitudes towards maths. This study will explore the relationship between the attitude of the parent and the impact this has on that of the child. Gaining an insight into the possibility of parental attitude providing a way to potentially improve the attitude of children towards mathematics.