Like all curriculum learning areas, if students believe they can learn new skills and concepts, apply them to a problem and work towards a solution, they will in fact improve their understanding and concept development.
We promote Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindset strategies across all classes at Magill School. Utilising a growth mindset (Carol Dweck) approach our teachers build confidence across all learning, but particularly in mathematics, to enable students to dive in and give it a go.
There is a really damaging myth that pervades the US/ UK and other countries – the idea that some people are born with a “maths 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 maths person and that the latest research is telling us that students can reach any level in maths because of the incredible plasticity of the brain. (J. Boaler, Norms Paper, 2015)
In our classrooms you will find the following Mathematical Mindsets for learning:
Students are encouraged to believe in themselves. There is no such thing as a “maths” person. Everyone can reach the highest levels they want to, with hard work.
Mistakes grow your brain! It is good to struggle and make mistakes.
Always ask questions, always answer questions. Students are encouraged to ask themselves: why does that make sense?
Maths is a very creative subject. It’s full of visualising patterns and creating solution paths that others can see, discuss and critique.
Maths is a connected subject, and a form of communication. Representing maths in different forms, such as in words, pictures, graphs and in equations helps students to link ideas and concepts. Colour coding is a great tool to use!
Top mathematicians think slowly and deeply. Being fluent in a concept does not mean you can do it the fastest, but that you have a deep understanding of the mathematical concept.
Maths is a growth subject, it takes time to learn and it is all about effort. It’s important that students know they are not being judged on their ability to perform mathematics but to learn and apply in appropriate contexts.
Looking for more information about mathematical mindsets? Head to the Parent Resources link on the YouCubed website by clicking the link below.