Centering Family Knowledge to Develop Children’s Empowered Mathematics Identities

Ann M. Ishimaru, Filiberto Barajas-López, Megan Bang


Researchers and educational leaders have long debated the appropriate roles and forms of family engagement in education. Although, in recent years, scholars have sought to understand how racially and linguistically diverse communities should participate in their children’s education, the field has struggled to recognize and engage families’ expertise and disrupt the dynamics of inequity that shape disengagement. In this article, we highlight recent understandings regarding the development of disciplinary identities and cultural practices in learning to offer new approaches to the field of family engagement for conceptualizing the untapped potential of nondominant family knowledge and cultural practices in learning settings. By highlighting examples from mathematics learning that center families as legitimate sources of knowledge, we suggest avenues for engaging diverse family leadership in co-designing equitable learning environments that foster students’ empowering disciplinary identities and learning.


Educational equity; family expertise; disciplinary identities; family cultural practices; mathematics

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