“There are two versions of math in the lives of many Americans: the strange and boring subject that they encountered in classrooms and an interesting set of ideas that is the math of the world, and is curiously different and surprisingly engaging. Our task is to introduce this second version to today’s students, get them excited about math, and prepare them for the future.” – Jo Boaler
Jo Boaler is kind of the biggest thing in math education right now. She presents a straightforward, no-frills, kind of approach to the world of research around math teaching and learning. This quote is from the introduction of her best-seller, “What’s Math Got To Do With It?” from 2008 (link to purchase on Amazon). The book is brimming with meaningful perspectives! A must read, if you ask me.
What Dr. Boaler has been able to accomplish recently is no small feat. She launched an enormously successful Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called “How to Learn Math.” She then followed it with a specific short course for students…and it’s free! Some teachers, including Oklahoma’s own Teacher of the Year Heather Sparks, use the short course with their own students and report enormous dividends in their attitudes toward math.
I would definitely suggest reading more about Jo Boaler. To kick things off, give her new foundation a visit at YouCubed.com. Find your way to the Knowledge Center and the Short Papers…pick one that interests you and give it a read. If you like what you see, which you will, keep exploring! My favorite is “Fluency without Fear.”
Honorable Mention Quotes by Jo Boaler:
“Imagine how dull and uninspiring it would be if teachers gave tests of math facts and everyone answered them in the same way and at the same speed as though they were all robots.” (from Fluency without Fear)
“A problem with both old and newer mathematics approaches that has emerged from my research is the ridiculous problems that are used in mathematics classrooms. Just like stepping through the wardrobe door and entering Narnia, in math classrooms trains travel toward each other on the same tracks and people paint houses at identical speeds all day long. Water fills tubs at the same rate each minute, and people run around tracks at the same distance from the edge. To do well in math class, children know that they have to suspend reality and accept the ridiculous problems they are given. They know that if they think about the problems and use what they understand from life, then they will fail. Over time, schoolchildren realize that when you enter Mathland you leave your common sense at the door.” (pp. 50 – 51, What’s Math Got To Do With It)
Leave a comment
You must be logged into post a comment.