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Mistakes in Math? So Powerful

I just read this awesome story from the Mind/Shift site.

It’s about professor Jo Boaler, who is touting the strength of visual math. And, she says, the mindset is all that matters. Everybody can learn math. We shouldn’t be tracking; we should continually push students to think, and to make mistakes–which, it turns out, helps the mind grow.

Yep. Grow.

It turns out that when your brain struggles, the brain grapples and grows.

How cool is that?

She says we should be giving “low-floor/high-ceiling” tasks that allow every student to participate. She has some examples of such tasks here.

She says we put too much emphasis on speed. (Can I hear an “amen” from the crowd with daughters and sons like my own child, who has so much anxiety around math that it’s debilitating?)

And for ELL students, I can’t think of a better push than to make students feel powerful in math.

I’ve had math teachers tell me that maybe we should wait to put ELL students in math until they have a better grasp of the language. Just this month, I was told because of “language deficits” a student was struggling with participating in math.

Yeah. I’d struggle too if you asked me to read a math problem in Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Somali, or any of the other languages I don’t speak. Heck, I’d even struggle in German, which I studied for many, many years.

I want to meet this woman.


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