Title

CHINESE MOTHER-CHILD INTERACTIONS DURING MATHEMATICAL TASKS

Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Child and Family Studies

Advisor(s)

Robert P. Moreno

Keywords

Chinese mothers, Early math education, Maternal teaching, Mother-child interaction

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

This study investigated Chinese mothers’ teaching strategies and practices by

examining mother-child teaching interactions during informal mathematical activities.

Specifically, this study explored how parental instructions differ across different tasks, and the association between parental teaching behaviors and the transfer of responsibility, as indexed by children’s independent engagement in the task at the end of the teaching activity. Forty-eight 5-year-olds and their mothers were recruited from 4 kindergartens from Northeastern China, and participated in two informal mathematical tasks (one geometry puzzle task and one map task). Mother-child teaching interactions were videotaped. The results revealed that Chinese mothers modified their teaching strategies based on the task, and these behavior may reflect their understanding and cultural interpretation of the task. the findings also suggested that there might be a stable structure pattern of maternal teaching across tasks, and the relations between maternal teaching behaviors and children’s activity seems to resemble the white-middle-class pattern, which suggested that open-ended and positive teaching strategies might be more important in promoting children’s independent engagement than directing and focusing teaching strategies.

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