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    #220605 - 08/10/15 12:43 PM Recommendations for math teachers
    ElizabethN Offline

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    I enjoyed this article (link is to pdf file) quite a bit, and I think it's worth sending it to math teachers if you can do it in a way that they will look at it.

    I had not previously put in the same place my thoughts on growth mindset vs. fixed mindset and my thoughts on fast vs. deep thinking in math. As a parent of a child who is extremely capable in math but not fast at all (and tends to make careless mistakes), it gave me some food for thought in how to talk to her about math.

    #220606 - 08/10/15 01:40 PM Re: Recommendations for math teachers [Re: ElizabethN]
    BenjaminL Offline

    Registered: 06/30/12
    Posts: 144
    Loc: Seattle
    I saw his article elsewhere and also have been thinking about it. Like all materials from Jo Boaler I tend to agree with about 60-70% of it. I'll just mention a few of my qualms. When she writes about everyone being able to do the highest levels of math, this goes hand in hand with a very strong anti-tracking/anti acceleration philosophy. Part of this thrust is also making students responsible for each other's learning. In her other writings you can find this very clearly stated. I also think she has one of the most troubling interpretations of cognitive science with respect to people like Carol Dweck and some of the material on how learning works.

    Some further video links:

    Look at the section on high achievers and availability of 8th grade algebra.

    Edited by BenjaminL (08/10/15 01:45 PM)

    #220607 - 08/10/15 01:51 PM Re: Recommendations for math teachers [Re: ElizabethN]
    ElizabethN Offline

    Registered: 02/17/12
    Posts: 1390
    Loc: Seattle area
    Thanks, Benjamin! I also have qualms about the growth/fixed mindset as applied to gifted children, which I addressed somewhat over in the Carol Dweck thread.

    I really like the idea of getting kids to present on their own misconceptions, as long as there is no ridicule attached to it (which I realize may be difficult with middle schoolers, in particular).

    #220608 - 08/10/15 01:53 PM Re: Recommendations for math teachers [Re: ElizabethN]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4202
    The pdf which you shared on the thread What would you ask Carol Dweck? and also as the OP for this thread... is from, titled "Setting Up Positive Norms in Math Class", and states, in part
    the latest research is telling us that students can reach any levels in math because of the incredible plasticity of the brain.
    However Jo Boaler does not appear to give a source for that research.

    Meanwhile mindset states, in part:
    Originally Posted By: mindset, page 50:
    The growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be cultivated. But it doesn't tell you how much change is possible or how long change will take.
    Therefore it appears that the mindset research is not the source of Jo Boaler's claim.

    Despite Jo Boaler's bold claim that "Everyone can learn math to the highest levels", in her linked "brain science" video, she appears to be back-peddling a bit:
    So we now know that ALL students, maybe except you know those with a very specific learning disability, but all other students can achieve at the highest levels of maths in all levels of school K right up to the end of high school.
    What evidence was this based on? Jo Boaler describes that she came to this conclusion based on:
    1) growth of the area of the hippocampus specializing in visual-spatial processing, in London cab drivers, and
    2) anecdotal evidence about a 9-year-old girl who regained the use of the temporarily paralyzed left side of her body, after brain surgery.
    While these cases support brain plasticity, they do not necessarily substantiate that all students can learn math at the highest levels.

    #220609 - 08/10/15 01:59 PM Re: Recommendations for math teachers [Re: BenjaminL]
    Bostonian Offline

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2593
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: BenjaminL

    Look at the section on high achievers and availability of 8th grade algebra.

    From that link:

    Algebra 1 was traditionally a high school course that only a small number of students took in middle school, but over the last 15 years there has been a push to accelerate increasing numbers of students (or in the case of California, all students) into middle school Algebra 1. As a result, record numbers of students are failing and repeating Algebra 1, especially students from underserved communities. By moving Algebra 1 back into 9th grade for all students and replacing it with CCSS Math 8—a course that explicitly develops concepts needed for success in Algebra—students will experience more confidence and success because they have time to do mathematics with each other, discussing their learning, examining each other’s work, and building a deeper understanding of concepts.

    After 10th grade, students can choose to take an Honors Algebra 2 course that compresses CCSS Algebra 2 with Precalculus, which allows them to take AP Calculus in 12th grade. Unlike the earlier practice of having students accelerate in math by skipping a course, the Common Core necessitates that acceleration only occur by course compression—learning the standards from more than one year during a regular class period over one year. The option for compression supports students who wish to graduate from high school prepared for specialized studies in STEM in university settings.

    Having one core sequence provides focus and coherence as schools and teachers implement the CCSS-M and supports equity by creating one path for all students to experience rigorous mathematics. We believe that secondary schools do not separate their students into an honors track and a regular track—or into other tracks based on perceived ability—until students choose course pathways at the end of 10th grade.

    She may think she is promoting equity, but
    (1) Many well-off parents will flee schools that do this.
    (2) Those who remain will afterschool their children in math.

    If you are good at math but your parents can't or won't do (1) or (2), you are out of luck, thanks to Boaler.


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