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Why People are Afraid of Math

Why People are Afraid of Math

With fear in their hearts, so many people view math as a series of complex skills they'll never be able to understand. The first step in overcoming our fears is understanding why we have them in the first place.

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Bukunmi Adewumi
@Janna, thanks a lot for this informative article. I found the point about neuroplasticity particularly useful: "Kids who learn ho... Read More
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:32
Chad Lower
I will even tell my students at the end of a lesson that they are now "heavier" than when they started class and if they were go g... Read More
Friday, 21 April 2017 15:22
Janna Peskett
Hi Bukunmi, Thanks for your response! Certainly we can tell our students a lot more about how to harness the power of neuroplastic... Read More
Friday, 21 April 2017 15:20
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The Calculus Project: A Growth Mindset Success Story

The Calculus Project: A Growth Mindset Success Story

While most American schools include messages of equity and the belief that all students can develop their abilities, too often these sentiments exist only on paper and fall short of schools' growth-minded goals.

Adrian Mims, a former dean at Brookline High School, noticed an alarming trend in African American students who attempted high level math courses as freshmen at the mostly affluent Boston suburban school; the attrition rate for these students was nearly 100 percent by the time AP Calculus was offered in their senior year.

Mims quote

What Mims began unearthing was a fixed mindset about math among the African American students who began to steadily drop out of high level math courses. In other words, the school's mission statement of equality was just that - a statement without policies or procedures in place to support academic excellence for all.

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Chad Lower
I love hearing about the work Mims is doing in this project. All them mentions of students, though, was always, "African American ... Read More
Friday, 18 March 2016 16:33
Chad Lower
Dr. Mims, thank you for the personal response. The Electrical Engineering program I mentioned was in response to your own college ... Read More
Sunday, 20 March 2016 19:13
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“I don’t understand this…yet.” Combating Fixed Mindsets in Math Classrooms

“I don’t understand this…yet.” Combating Fixed Mindsets in Math Classrooms

 As a high school math teacher, I hear over and over from families that their struggling student has "always" struggled in math and isn't doing well because they themselves didn't do well in math. This information that families share has shown me just how deeply rooted fixed mindsets can be and how people who exhibit a more growth mindset in some areas can hold very fixed mindsets about math. Many families are unknowingly telling teachers that math ability is based purely on genetics and not on the effort and experiences of their students. When working with students with a fixed mindset in math, in particular, I have found some strategies to be helpful in gaining some ground towards a growth mindset.

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Joyce Rizzo
I am a firm believer that the most important "E" word in education is Effort & instill that & the power of "Yet" within each new c... Read More
Sunday, 04 October 2015 06:05
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A Work in Progress: Growth Minded Assessment

A Work in Progress: Growth Minded Assessment
Sam had a big smile on his face as he turned in his math test. Sam is in my Intermediate Algebra course, which is a developmental, prerequisite course for College Algebra. Students enroll in this course due to low SAT scores. Based on the big grin, I was optimistic about Sam's test.

"How'd you do?" I asked enthusiastically. "Well," he sighed, "I totally bombed it. But I feel really good about what I learned! Don't take it personally; this is the most I've ever understood in math."

After I graded it, I was devastated to see that he had scored a 30%. I thought about how I was going to have to give this test back to him. I thought about how I would try to soften the blow by telling him I was proud of his hard work, progress, and growth. I thought about the personalized feedback I would give him to help him learn from his mistakes. But mostly, I thought about how I felt like a hypocrite.

How could I develop and maintain Sam's growth mindset while simultaneously informing him that he is still failing in math?
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Kevin Campbell
Great article
Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:41
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