No one was more surprised than I was when I won the Honors Geometry medal in high school. For the first 8 years of school I accepted the incontrovertible fact that I was “not a math person.” Reading and writing came easily to me, and I was often praised in those areas – but math homework often resulted in tears of frustration and papers full of holes from too many erasures.
Everything changed in high school. My teachers encouraged me and were patient with my questions. I grew bolder with those questions because I was attending an all-girls school and felt less intimidated by the boys who always dominated math class with their speedy mental math in my early years.
I suddenly realized that I loved math.
Fortunately, that revelation didn’t happen too late.
You can make sure your own students don’t suffer from the same math identity crisis. From @naomiharm I learned there is a website called “youcubed” that is devoted to making everyone a “math person.” It provides math resources to educators, students and parents. One section is devoted to “Growth Mindset.” If you have no time to browse any other section (though I encourage you to do so), I urge you to download the “Positive Classroom Norms” by Jo Boaler. These 7 messages are a great way to develop a growth mindset in your math students.
If you download the packet, you will receive a page explaining each norm in-depth (some of them include links to videos) as well as a summary page you can post in your classroom.