Positive Maths Mindsets

Dear Parents/Carers,

Over the last few years, we have been focusing on developing and nurturing positive 'growth' mindsets in Maths with our children at The Ridge Primary School - but we need your help with this approach at home too!

Unfortunately, there is a damaging myth about maths that has become ingrained in the UK, US and other countries and it is the idea that: 'Some people are born with a maths brain and some are not.' This has been resoundingly disproved by research.

However, many pupils and adults still believe this! So it is really important that we dispel this myth and communicate "growth mindset" messages to our children. We need to help them know that everyone is a maths person and that the latest research is telling us that pupils can reach any levels in maths because of the incredible plasticity of the brain.

This approach embeds the research of mathematician and educator, Jo Boaler who has created '8 Positive Norms' to support children in developing a growth mindset and to support in addressing their Maths anxieties.

There are the '8 Positive Norms' we want to promote to our children and we need your help to spread this message at home - let's change the false messages we grew up with!

Many thanks for your continued support!

Kind regards,

Mrs Hadley

Deputy Headteacher / Maths Lead

Jo Boaler's Maths Mindsets - 8 Positive Norms

1. Everyone can learn maths to the highest levels

Encourage children to believe in themselves. There is no such thing as a ‘maths’ person. Everyone can reach the highest levels they want to, with hard work.

2. 'If you can't do it' - 'You can't do it yet'

We need to encourage our children not to give up at the first hurdle! It’s not that they can’t do it and never will be able to. They need to understand that with practise, perseverance and support they can achieve their goals.

3. Mistakes are valuable

Research shows that when pupils make mistakes, synapses fire and brains grow. Brain activity is particularly strong in individuals with a growth mindset. It is good to make mistakes!

4. Questions are really important

Encourage children to always ask questions and to ask themselves: why does that make sense? Research shows us that questions asking is linked to high achievement. If you don’t ask – you’ll never know!

5. Maths is about creativity and making sense

Maths is a very creative subject that is, at its core, about visualising patterns and creating solution paths that others can see, discuss and critique.

6. Maths is about connections and communicating

Maths is a connected subject, and a form of communication. Represent maths in different forms eg words, a picture, a graph, an equation, and link them.

7. Depth is much more important than speed

Top mathematicians, such as Laurent Swartz, think slowly and deeply.

8. Maths lessons are about learning not performing

Maths is a growth subject, it takes time to learn and it is all about effort.





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