Growth Mindset with Mathematical Dispositions

During our professional learning, our leadership team challenged us to develop our own PBL style driving question and mini project to present. In developing the driving question, it made me stop and evaluate exactly what I wanted to achieve or change with students from the beginning of the year. Throughout my teaching so far, I’ve noticed that mathematics anxiety is possibly the single most achievable change I can make to students mindsets. To develop be able to develop my students’ attitudes towards mathematics, I have dabled in the “Growth Mindset” use before within my classrooms, but I wondered what would happen if I was persistent in the use of the Growth Mindset disposition all year. 

At the beginning of the year, we started our mathematical learning in the classroom with the Jo Boaler – Youcubed website. To be honest it was an extremely eye-opening experience not just to teach, but to experience as a learner. It is based on growth mindset pedagogy and its influence on a learners ability in Mathematics. The main idea being that Jo Boaler challenges the myth of “I’m bad at math“.

The Youcubed work falls under these categories.

  1. The many ways we see mathematics.
  2. Mistakes are beautiful things
  3. When you believe, amazing things happen
  4. Conjectures, Creativity and Uncertainty
  5. Engaging Visual Pathways
  6. Strategies for Learning Math
  7. Speed is not important.
  8. Our brains constantly change and grow.
  9. Believe in yourself

There is a lot of evidence based on information and research behind the work students do. This can be broken into two different realms.

Displaying student voice and experiences

It is important to show students voice throughout this learning experience and display their work.

The Two Approaches

The first approach in terms of activities are either mathematical puzzles (1 cut geometry) or challenging questions such as Peter Sullivan’s approach, where students prefer math when you let them figure it out. These are fantastic learning opportunities for students to improve their knowledge and a deeper understanding of mathematics. 

The second approach is providing students with evidence-based research; videos that are student friendly explaining having an open mind or growth mindset. 

I believe it is the key to the whole learning experience.

The tasks are challenging, not just a little challenging, they are quite challenging for myself. So much so when we’ve posed these problems it has been totally and utterly important for the students to be able to walk away understanding that they don’t know the answer (Remember speed is not important)  That said I’ve gone of and then either worked on it for hours afterwards at home or asked some of my friends that are mathematicians how we solve the problems. 

Part two