Mathematics Mindset

February 13, 2019

Year 7 have just experienced their first Growth Mindset Week in Mathematics. Instead of beginning the year with what you may recall from your high school days as ‘the history of number’ with Roman numerals and the basics of our Hindu-Arabic system of numbers, we began with a week of Inspirational Mathematics lessons developed by Professor Jo Boaler from Stanford University.

In previous years we have used these lessons during the STEM Festival or at other times, but they were so successful and engaging we wanted to give teachers and students the chance to start the year exploring and being inspired by mathematics. The unit of work is used as an introduction to Mathematics in high school. Year 7 students have all had different experiences with Mathematics before coming into the classroom and unfortunately a lot of them bring negative views and misconceptions about this subject. It is important to change these misconceptions as soon as possible. One of the biggest goals that we aim to achieve is changing students’ language (particularly their internal ‘mindset voice’) so that they believe they should keep going even when work is hard, and they make mistakes (that is a wonderful thing)!

So, ask your son about number patterns in Pascal’s triangle or the 4-Fours game or honouring other people’s ideas and building on them. Mathematics should be open, creative and visual. If you would like to read more about the importance of mindset and other messages from brain science, please explore the many resources available on Professor Boaler’s website

Doug Vass      Genevieve Hays
Head of Mathematics      Assistant Head of Mathematics