Saturday, October 6, 2018

There is no such thing as a math person...

ANYONE can be good at math! And MISTAKES actually help your brain grow!

Has your child told you that yet? Hopefully this has come up, as we spent the first few weeks of school learning all about how having a growth mindset in math is key to success in this subject area.

We watched (and then discussed) a series of videos created by Dr. Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematical Education at Stanford University, which translates Stanford Pyschologist Carol Dweck's theories of growth vs. fixed mindset into math practices. These practices are designed to promote a growth mindset in math, banish math anxiety and bust some age-old myths about math. Ideas like: you have to be fast at math to be good at it; and: math is a boring subject all about rote memorization which does not require any creativity. At Seabury, we know different!

We have learned how the STRUGGLE to understand difficult math concepts, which can sometimes feel overwhelming and frustrating, is just a part of exercising your brain to "build your brain muscle."  Students who look at that struggle as an exciting challenge, and persevere in trying to solve problems in different ways, demonstrate much higher levels of achievement in math than students who have memorized algorithms or processes without fully understanding what they are doing with the numbers. This idea of struggle being a GOOD thing is an important concept for gifted perfectionists, who often are not used to being challenged in their areas of strength, and often give up rather than take on a challenge they might not soar through.

Thank you, Youcubed, for setting us up for a successful year of math exploration and growth! We are already enjoying "inspirational" math challenges like the Four 4's -- part of the "week of inspirational math" curriculums available through Boaler's Youcubed website. Truly, how often do you see smiles like these when kids are working on difficult math problems?

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