This beautifully illustrated card represents a summary of the messages from Jo Boaler’s book, Mathematical Mindsets, about ways to open up tasks and create a mathematical mindset classroom. Many thanks to Tulare County Office of Education’s Shelah Feldstein for helping with the ideas and Christine Roberts for illustrating the card. We hope you like the ideas and find this useful in your teaching.
There is a really damaging myth that pervades the US/UK and other countries – the idea that some people are born with a “math brain” and some are not. This has been resoundingly disproved by research but many students and parents believe this. It is really important to communicate “growth mindset” messages to students. Help them know that everyone is a math person and that the latest research is telling us that students can reach any levels in math because of the incredible plasticity of the brain.
There is a huge elephant standing in most math classrooms, it is the idea that only some students can do well in math. Students believe it, parents believe and teachers believe it. The myth that math is a gift that some students have and some do not, is one of the most damaging ideas that pervades education in the US and that stands in the way of students’ math achievement. This short paper summarizes five recent and important areas of knowledge that have emerged from studies of the brain and learning and that address this myth head-on. Download
A selection of videos from Jo’s student online course.
This is a short paper by Jo in which she describes what mathematics classrooms should look like from her work in classrooms and research in mathematics education. This may be useful to give out to parents / administrators and others.
Research has recently shown something stunning—when students make a mistake in math, their brain grows, synapses fire, and connections are made; when they do the work correctly, there is no brain growth (Moser et al. 2011). This finding suggests that we want students to make mistakes in math class and that students should not view mistakes as learning failures but as learning achievements (Boaler 2013a). Students do not, as many assume, need to revisit a mistake and correct it to experience brain growth, although that is always helpful; brain growth comes from the experience of struggle. When students struggle...