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How to learn Math class at Stanford

Stanford magazine article; 2007
Stanford magazine article; 2007
Dr. Carol Dweck

Professor Jo Boaler has an online class at Stanford and it's free. The 8 or 9 task class includes videos and resources for parents and teachers that want to help kids learn Math using a different set of mindsets. The traditional fixed mindset has a lot of preconceived notions attached to it, like thinking that some can do Math easier than others because they are naturally inclined to Math or they have a greater intelligence. But Professor Jo Boaler says it's not true and she has some research and other professor's at Stanford to back her up.

Dr. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor says that the idea that many parents grasped onto when their children were growing up and going to school was to boost the child's self esteem at any cost. Always praising the child's intelligence is actually counter productive because it saddles them with an expectation that can limit their creativity and enjoyment of learning Math. Dr.Dweck says it's better to praise the strategy, focus and process rather than the intelligence of a child because you will be encouraging a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Praising children for anything and everything makes kids afraid to try different tasks because they think they have to be right and cannot make a mistake.

Kids that embrace and are not afraid to make mistakes do better in Math with a growth mindset than kids in the traditional fixed mindset. Placing students in mixed groups with differing abilities breaks the cycle of failure because the concept of effort and difficulty is embraced as a growth mindset. When kids are taken out of achievement groups that are chosen based on testing, then growth in learning with exercises like number talk and number sense can be embraced and more collective interaction between students can occur with surprising results. When students work in groups and appreciate different ways to think about how to work on a problem, there is more relational equity leading to a more connected approach to learning Math.

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