Monday, March 14, 2016

Mathematical Mindsets: The Math Balance

A small group of colleagues met today to discuss Boaler's book, Mathematical Mindsets. It was great to hear educators' reflections and commentary related to the book and the many ideas presented.

The one discussion point that I'm taking home from the talk is how do we best balance and design math programs so that students are getting the building blocks of mathematical learning in ways that invigorate their desire to learn math, engagement, empowerment, and ongoing math study.

To do this well, we have to continue on the math path with the following efforts:
  • Educators' continued professional learning, conversation, and good design of math learning experiences.
  • Continued outreach to families and the community with regard to promoting a positive mindset towards learning and studying math. It's no longer appropriate or helpful in any way to say, "I was never good at math." Instead one might say, "I never realized the truth that everyone is capable of learning math--I wish I had known that because I would have invested more time in finding the best teachers and processes to learn the subject."
  • Multimodal, meaningful learning experiences where students develop understanding by building, drawing, creating, discussing, reflecting, revising, presenting, and compressing utilizing multiple online and offline resources in order to gain rich, deep understanding and interest in math concept, knowledge, and skill.
  • Signage and language that continually teach students what it means to be a skillful, successful learner including the strong message that everyone is capable of learning.
  • Flexible grouping, "floor to ceiling learning exercises," and collaboration.
As with any good teaching and learning module, it's not going to be a stagnant process. Instead utilizing the research in this book is going to be a catalyst for ongoing study, reflection, and revision of the math classroom--revision that will change as our resources and tools continue to change.

If you're interested in this study, please join us next Tuesday night, March 22nd from 8pm to 9pm as Massachusetts' educators and others discuss the impact of Mathematical Mindsets with the author, Jo Boaler, via the #edchatma Twitter chat. Let's keep the conversation going.