This article discusses the research around teaching and learning mathematics conducted by Catherine Good, a professor who studies social psychology and growth mindset. Good found that growth mindset—the idea that one can improve understanding and performance by building neural pathways through repeated work—is especially important for students studying math. Teaching growth mindset may protect against stereotype threat—the perception that certain students, especially girls and minority students, are not good at math. Good found that student’s personal beliefs in their brain plasticity can be undermined by a classroom culture that reinforces fixed intelligence. By instead creating a classroom culture which emphasizes growth mindset, teachers can have a positive impact on students.
Any math teacher will find Good’s specific recommendations useful. These include the use of problems with incorrect solutions to discuss growth through mistakes, working to help students “think like mathematicians” by solving real problems, applying a mastery approach to assessments and rewarding growth, providing multiple entry points to higher level math courses, and using growth mindset strategies with all students, not just those who are struggling. To read more, this article by Ashleigh Ziehmke offers practical suggestions for building growth mindset in an upper elementary level math classroom which could be adapted for any grade level.
Source Organization: KQED