Heal Math Trauma This Very Year
In my experience of this world, most people do not like math. The general consensus among kids and adults is that they hate math and they can’t do it. I believe that this is learned. Whether it’s an elementary teacher who hated math, a high school math teacher who got pulled over from their “real” subject to fill a vacancy, or a family mantra that “we aren’t math people,” negative math experiences leave their mark.
We need great teachers to teach math! Kids need healing experiences of success in math – of fun – of joy!
- Our enthusiasm can be infectious.
- Our attention can be healing.
- Our inspiration can be life changing.
Don’t believe it’s possible? Check out the wonderful work that Jo Boaler is doing over at YouCubed:
Here are some ideas for how your class can be a place of math healing this year!
- Make your classroom a happy place to be. Share your personality!
- Give every student a chance to be right as often as you can. Success = Hope in math!
- Give your students tools that they can take with them to future, possibly less positive, math classes: Practice the mindset that Math is Figureoutable – the Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice can be a powerful confidence booster.
- Consider switching to Standards-Based Grading. I found that it shifts the focus from instant-perfection to actual learning. It takes a lot of the pressure off, as well as the shame, which makes math so much more accessible for everyone.
- Connect students with resources for when they’re stuck on homework. Remind them that mistakes are our friends and that practice (homework) is the best place to make them. (Or consider banishing homework altogether!)
We may not be able to convert every student to love math, but we can help them believe they can do it!
Try this Scavenger Hunt for a low-risk review of rounding, integers, & fractions.