The inspiration for our parent meeting this week was related to Math. This year, we will encourage you to help us reflect on what we believe about maths and learning so that we can best support our children on their academic journey.
Some people may have strong feelings about math. This became evident in our meeting as we began our inquiry into our beliefs about math by beginning with the personal.
What was your math experience in school?
The room became alive as parents shared stories with each other that ranged from awful to amazing, from great beginnings to disastrous endings, or the other way around. Building upon their personal educational experience, parents pondered the information they have heard or experienced related to math learning. The following messages were directly experienced by most everyone:
- There are some people who are good at math and some who are not
- Girls are less likely to be good at math than boys
- You have to be fast at math to be good at it
These deeply ingrained messages, even if we don’t consciously believe them, can seep into our day-to-day interactions and mindsets and so we watched a video called Boosting Math by Jo Boaler (watch)
in order to help us adjust our mindset. Jo Boaler is a British education author and Professor of Mathematics Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She is involved in promoting mathematics education reform and equitable mathematics classrooms. The video (aimed at a student audience) detailed 6 important messages for all of us to hear and ponder:
- Everyone can learn math to high levels.
- There is no such thing as smart people and not smart people. Anyone can work to high levels.
- When you believe in yourself, your brain works differently.
- Mistakes grow your brain. Struggle and challenge are really good for you.
- It’s not important to be fast in math. It’s important to think deeply and creatively.
- Math is a broad, creative, visual subject.
Watch a parent/teacher geared version of Boosting Math, at this link.
As a wrap up, at the meeting we got to hear from Gabi, Rafa’s mom. She talked about her personal experience going to a constructivist school as a child. She liked math at that school. Once she left that school and went to a rigorously academic high school, she failed her first math test. It was a completely terrible grade. But she noted that she wasn’t scared, like the other kids who had been schooled traditionally and got a failing grade. She wasn’t scared and was empowered to take personal responsibility and action to work toward her goal. Development gives us a readiness that “pushed down” curriculum fails to achieve.
Lena & Team TKG