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Cultural Considerations in Support of Mathematical Perseverance: The Role of Context Activation


"This paper describes the ways in which consideration of students' out-of-school practices might be related to understanding and supporting students' mathematical perseverance. It discusses a study in which children were presented mathematics tasks related and unrelated to their everyday experiences. With the tasks related to their everyday lives, in addition to showing greater success, students also demonstrated greater levels of mathematical perseverance. This paper provides a theoretical framework that explains these findings by suggesting that children draw on previous experiences outside of school when solving these types of tasks, which appear to activate norms and orientations toward math that children use in out-of-school settings. Since problem solving in these settings often has "real life" consequences, children develop higher expectations that math can be meaningful, and these higher expectations for meaning appear to result in greater perseverance. The paper concludes with implications for teacher preparation and suggestions for future research."