Identification with early primary school mathematics: a home-school activity theory conceptualisation and methodology.

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This paper offers a new methodology for researching children’s identifications in the early primary phase that makes visible the ‘seeds’ of academic dis-/identities, which typically flower later in adolescence. We focus on the ‘case’ of mathematical identifications (MI) to exemplify how children come to dis/identify from the academic curriculum more broadly. MI is defined as any act where cultural representations of being mathematical are reflected back on to the child by others or the self, as they engage in mathematical activity. We present data concerning Bilal and Nico to show identifications in a hybrid home-school mathematics activity that contradict or ‘align’ with MI elicited in school-mathematical activity. We argue that contradictions between these MIs indicate ‘potential’ development towards disengagement (the case of Nico). This contrasts with home-school alignment involving Bilal’s ‘schoolified’ home activities, which (re)validate school-mathematical activity. We argue this conceptual innovation offers potential for investigating identity in early childhood.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-368
Number of pages20
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018

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