You may have heard the term “growth mindset” quite a bit lately. The true power of establishing a growth mindset revolves around the idea that an individual’s abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work, dedication, and the right kind of mentoring.
This idea contrasts the traditional “fixed mindset” approach to learning, which says intelligence is static and we are pretty much born with what we have, for better or worse.
A fixed mindset can be toxic in the classroom, especially in a subject like mathematics. Students can quickly become frustrated or discouraged if they make mistakes, which can lead to a loss of confidence and motivation.
Teachers who embrace a growth mindset will often find students coming out of their comfort zones and achieving more than they ever thought possible.
Learning mathematics is like learning a foreign language, one that is ancient and universal. It’s difficult! Students should know that everyone makes mistakes, especially in math class. It’s crucial that mistakes are normalized in order for math students to learn from those mistakes instead of dwelling on them.
Do your students have adequate time to work through problem sets without feeling rushed? Sensing the time crunch hurts many math students, especially those who are already frustrated.
Have you reminded your students that pretty much everyone struggles in some degree with math problems?
Have you told them that mathematics is a subject that requires significant trial and error and what matters most is understanding the process?
Ever make a mistake? You’re in good company! Here are 10 inspirational quotes on mistakes from some of the greatest thinkers of human history. Share them with your students and colleagues or use them as a personal reminder that mistakes really are okay.
The next time you feel bad for making a math mistake–remember, you’re never alone. Keep trying!