How to Encourage a Love of Mathematics

Here’s Lisa Medoff from Stanford University suggesting eight helpful ways that educators can build students’ tenacity with a subject that frustrates many of them: math!

  • Empathize. It helps to imagine a situation where you are out of your confort zone and feeling frustrated and agry.


  • Know your stuff. Be sure to spend time mastering the topic and walking students through their own self-doubts and frustrations.


  •  Use a variety of activities and supports. Get students working in groups with structured, hands-on, real world activities with the teacher circulating to troubleshoot and provide one-on-one support.


  • Convey the “growth” mindset. Let the students know that some may have to work at it harder and they will approach the problem differently, but they can all master math.


  •  Answer all questions respectfully. Even if the question has been asked before, you might say, “ I am glad you asked me again to make sure you understood.


  • Be intentional about homework. Think about how many problems students need to practice, which problems will be most helpful, will help be needed, etc.


  • Reframe the purpose of quizzes and test. Make it clear to the students that the test are not to determine how smart the student is but to show how well the teacher taught the information.


  • Praise effort and reinterpret mistakes. Students should learn to see success as the result of effective effort and mistakes as a sign that more work is needed.


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