REFLECTIONS ABOUT “MATHEMATICAL MINDSET” (JO BOALER)

I am reading this book because I know it is another way to teach Maths and also the importance of making mistakes: Making mistakes does not mean you are a failure. It just means you are trying and learning.

In Chapter Nº 2 “The Power of Mistakes and Struggle” he says:
“…Studies found something fascinating. When we make a mistake, the brain has two potential responses. The first is increased electrical activity when the brain experiences conflict between a correct response and an error. Interestingly, this brain activity occurs whether or not the person making the response knows they have made an error. The second response is a brain signal reflecting conscious attention to mistakes. This happens when there is awareness that an error has been made and conscious attention is paid to the error”

Later,in Chapter 5 “Rich Mathematical Tasks” she comes to the following conclusion:
When mathematics tasks are opened for different ways of seeing, different methods and pathways and different representations, everything changes. Questions can move from being closed, fixed mindset math tasks to go growth mindset maths tasks, with space within them to learn.

These are the five suggestions that can work to open mathematics tasks and increase their potential for learning:
1. Open up the task so that there are multiple methods, pathways and representations.
2. Include inquiry opportunities.
3. Ask the problem before teaching the method.
4. Add a visual component and ask students how they see mathematics.
5. Extend the task to make it lower floor and higher ceiling.
6. Ask students to convince and reason: be skeptical.

When teachers are designing, creating and adapting tasks, they are the most powerful teachers they can be. Any teacher can do this, it does not require special training. It involves knowing about the qualities of positive math tasks and approaching tasks with the mindset to improve them.

Carmen Hormiga
Secondary Mathematics Teacher 

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