Pop quiz: Are you good at math? Are your kids?
The only problem is most of people just don't know it. But I know someone who can explain why you're actually good at math.
Big name, big concept
Stanford University's Jo Boaler is a rock star in the math world. When she came to talk to our math teachers in August, you would have thought Bruce Springsteen had just landed at one of our schools. There were whispers of "There she is!" and school teachers lined up to get selfies with the mathematician.
And now she's coming to talk to our families. Boaler has a lot to say about learning math and you won't want to miss it.
Contrary to popular belief, there is a massive body of research that indicates math is not about memorization or learning lots of rules. There is no such thing as "math people" or "nonmath people."
A growth mindset
You probably won't calculate a rocket launch tomorrow, but if you spend a Saturday afternoon at a county fair trying to throw a pingpong ball into a small, faraway bucket, you're doing the same thing. Turning that throw into an equation is just the next step.
Now, imagine you've picked up that pingpong ball for the first time. You throw. You miss. Do you give up if you know you have four more tries to get the prize? Most likely you'd adjust your throw on the next try.
This is what call Boaler and other education experts will tell you is a "growth mindset." It's a fancy way to describe that students (and their teachers and parents) need to understand that intelligence is developed -- it's not something you simply have or don't have. If kids focus on how they are improving instead of worrying about how smart they are, they work harder to learn more.
Read the full story in the Examiner.