3 Ways to Develop a Math Growth Mindset in the Classroom: Debunking the Myth of Math People
“I’m not a math person,” is something that kids, and even adults, might mutter to themselves while pondering over math problems. Somehow we’ve grown up thinking that there are people that just get math and others that don’t. And this is simply a myth.
The truth is everyone can be a math person! Yes, equations, graphs, and diagrams can be overwhelming and confusing. But, your students thinking that they’re just not wired for math might actually be hindering their math abilities. Math skills aren’t fixed skills. They can be learned and, with practice, mastered. So, it’s important to do away with negative self talk and embrace a growth mindset approach to math.
Read on to learn how to encourage a growth mindset in your math classroom and find resources, like printable posters, to shift your students’ thinking.
What is a Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset refers to a way of viewing challenges and setbacks as an opportunity for growth, not a chance to fail. People with a growth mindset believe that their intelligence, talents, and skills can be improved upon through hard work and learning. So those who adopt a growth mindset are more likely to put more effort into learning, see feedback as a learning opportunity, and embrace lifelong learning.
Whereas with a fixed mindset, people will see their intelligence, talents, and skills as unchangeable. Those with a fixed mindset are more likely to give up easily, ignore feedback from others, and avoid challenges.
How to Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Math Classroom
Mindset can greatly impact student learning and engagement in math. So it’s important to incorporate these following tips to foster a math growth mindset in your classroom.
- Focus on the Process Oftentimes in math, students will solely focus on getting the right answer. But there’s so much more to learning than acing an assignment. Encourage students to practice, ask for help, try new strategies, and enjoy the learning process.
- Embrace Mistakes Making a mistake isn’t the end of the world. Mistakes are learning opportunities! Help students realize that mistakes are tools to improve their learning, rather than something to avoid, by creating a welcoming environment where students are comfortable with taking risks.
- Change Your Words Words and thoughts have power. Teach students to reframe their thinking through positive self talk and affirmations. Instead of thinking of or saying a fixed mindset statement, like “I’m bad at math,” use a growth mindset statement, like “If I work hard, I can get better at math.”
Math Growth Mindset Resources
Encourage students to approach math with a positive growth mindset with printable resources from ExploreLearning. Download these growth mindset posters to display in your classroom.
Find additional math resources to build students’ self confidence and foundational math skills through our math solutions, Reflex and Frax. Full of games that students love, Reflex (grades 2-6) helps students quickly gain math fact fluency and confidence. And Frax (grades 3-5) uses the latest research-based instructional methods to create a better way to learn fractions. Learn more about Reflex and Frax today and sign up for 30-day free trial.
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