Thank you Carol Dweck and Jo Boaler from Stanford's insightful course:XEDUC115N How to Learn Math
Everyone can excel at all levels of maths, including teachers, parents and students (Carol Dweck). In many cases, there is a detrimental community of adults who fear and/or dislike maths that surrounds our impressionable students. It seems inevitable that children today will grow up disliking maths, unless they somehow manage to beat the odds and impress us with their natural aptitude (how sad!). Since we now know that everyone can excel in maths, we need to harness the power of the community and shift mindsets on a larger scale.
For parents, I would love to encourage parents to enjoy math explorations with their children. There are some great initiatives already starting to tackle this very issue, such as Figure This! Wouldn't it be great to make all kinds of materials like these available to families? Wouldn't it be fun to invite parents into the classroom to explore some of these together and then send them off armed with maths activities that their children will really enjoy? I would love to wave goodbye to those painfully common stories of struggles at home getting children to practice math.
We need to explore teacher self-perceptions as mathematicians in an effort to shift our own self-talk toward the positive. How can we inspire students to be excited about math if we secretly loathe it ourselves? I know that I am in the minority of Elementary teachers who genuinely enjoy math but there is no excuse for teachers to say that they are not good at math anymore. We know that everyone can be good at math and we can start the revolution of enjoying the creative, playful side of mathematics. This needs to start in our schools, professional development and personal studies. This book has been a great starting point for me to understand just how simple and enjoyable open-ended math questions can be.
Would you like to be creative, explore new ideas and places, contribute to the world and make your own meaning? Then math is definitely for you! There are so many exciting opportunities in the world of math. Just think about how much fun it would be to study the stars, explore space, really understand climate change, create robots, make animated films, invent medicines, or work on national security? (Source) That's all math! Want some more inspiration? Check this out. . . or become like this!
Math is an art! If you don't believe me, check out Lockhart's Lament.