Tuesday 23 August 2016

Thinking about Maths-Mathematical Mindsets

Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative TeachingMathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching by Jo Boaler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mathematical Mindsets is a thought provoking book about ways to improve teaching of maths and to produce pupils who love and explore the subject rather than fear and shrink from it. This book has inspired me to think about more open ended tasks and not to be afraid of setting tasks which involve maths that I have not yet taught. There are helpful ideas to avoid children developing a mindset where they think that they are failures at the subject and on a positive side, aiding them to see the creativity of maths.

The second chapter is devoted to the value of mistakes and how they can be a powerful learning tool. This makes sense but often isn't the way that maths is approached.

Common maths procedures such as speed drills receive short shrift in favour of deeper thinking around open ended maths tasks.

As a result of the book, I hope to introduce more open ended problems and to take my children to some sessions which involve exploring maths ideas.

Why the three stars?
-It isn't always easy to see how to integrate this book into a home education context. It is embedded in a classroom culture rather than the more tutorial style learning which is usually used at home.

-The book contains information about the dangers of tracking/setting which makes sense but from a personal point of view, I remember being in unset classes and the boredom and frustration this caused. Maybe, with proper tasks things would have been different.

My final comment is that I have been trying to mentally integrate these ideas with the discussion, in the UK, over this summer about superior results from mastery curriculum (on the Singapore maths lines). If anyone can direct me to answers about this, I would be very grateful.

Definitely worth reading, digesting and then deciding how to act.

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Disclaimer: I borrowed this book from my local library. The opinions are all my own.

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