Overcoming Mathematical Helplessness and Developing Mathematical Resilience in Parents: An Illustrative Case Study


A consideration of parental contribution to mathematical success in terms of affect is both timely and important. Many parents suffer from mathematics anxiety or helplessness in UK; there is a risk that this anxiety or helplessness be transmitted to their children. Here we illustrate the application of the construct “mathematical resilience” to developing positive parental engagement in mathematics. We used the method of a single case intervention study, in which the subject is a mother/daughter dyad and their relationship with mathematics. The object is made up of the concepts of learned helplessness and mathematical resilience. The intervention was 3 brief sessions between the second author and the mother. The mother kept a journal and after the intervention she was interviewed. As the dyad gained mathematical resilience, they were able to leave behind learned helplessness, resulting in a better relationship, raised self esteem and increased ability to engage with mathematical thinking.

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Goodall, J. and Johnston-Wilder, S. (2015) Overcoming Mathematical Helplessness and Developing Mathematical Resilience in Parents: An Illustrative Case Study. Creative Education, 6, 526-535. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.65052.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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