Nate, the fifth grader, dreaded these days at school. It was another math class where a chapter test was being handed back. Nate did not even want to look at his score as Mrs. Miller handed him his test. There at the top of his paper was a big fat grade of "F". Read the book to find out what Nate learns during an engineering design project that helps him to do well in mathematics.
In my book, The Natural?, Nate holds the assumption that some students are just naturally good at math and others cannot do it. This is a message that is too prevalent in schools and is something that students latch on to. This message is too often reinforced by parents who may say, "I never got math." It is vital to emphasize that all students are capable of doing well in mathematics. The table below has phrases to avoid and what to state instead. We want students to hold a growth mindset, that they can learn new things and improve, as they approach mathematics.
Positive math messages
Math like life takes effort
Math is not a spectator sport!
Have a growth mindset—you can always learn new things and improve.
Persevere- Find your grit.
Math is important for understanding life and graduating from college.
Stay positive and optimistic. Everyone can do well in mathematics!
Deliberate practice is purposeful and systematic. In mathematics it is important that students learn from their mistakes. They need to realize what they know and what they need to work on or understand better. The quality of the time spent practicing is more important than the quantity of time.
4 Components of deliberate practice
Stohlmann, M. (2019). The natural? Seattle, WA: KDP.
Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit. New York: Scribner.
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.