Making Mistakes In Math Matters- The Importance of A Growth Mindset
Successful problem solving of math word problems can be tricky and very frustrating for students from all year levels; It may even be an absolute No-Go for many! The problem is that solving math word problems requires a deeper level of understanding than the automatic recall of number facts or the memorisation of math concepts, and for these reasons many students will give up when trying to solve word problems, or even, refuse to try because they think they are not smart enough! (Just so you know EVERYONE is SMART at Maths and there is no such thing as a Math brain!)
Math Anxiety v’s Growth Mindset
Unfortunately, many children wrongly think that being good at maths is determined by how fast they can come up with an answer, horrifying right ? What we do know is that timed drill tests can actually facilitate extreme, stress, anxiety and a fear of mathematics. Bring in the Growth Mindset philosophy of Carol Dweck whose research has found that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. That means anyone, not just those who are ‘Good at Maths’ in fact she believes there’s no such thing as having or not having a ‘Math Brain!’
In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? This mindset helps us persevere, take risks and keep trying and testing out solutions rather than feeling a failure because you can’t get the answer to a problem in the first few seconds….
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Making Mistakes Matters
So having a ‘Growth Mindset’ is helpful, it will help your students realise that being good a math is so much more than being a fast fact machine. It’s also about risk-taking, making mistakes, confidence and perseverance, and ultimately teaching them that ‘Good Mathematicians’ make mistakes on the path to the right answer!
5 Steps To Problem Solving Using Newman’s Prompts…
Researchers have found that students struggle with solving word problems because it involves a higher order level of thinking and the application of mathematical understanding rather than the recall of facts; Problem solving involves a series of steps. Australian educator Dr Anne Newman’s research (1977) into successful problem solving found that students progress through 5 hurdles during problem solving… Read More & Grab a FREE Problem Solving Think-board!
Checkout our Favourite Growth Mindset Resources …