Doing it wrong, Dept.

traditional math

Talking about teaching math opens one up to choruses of “You’re doing it all wrong” among those who have been indoctrinated into the various catechisms of math education. One of those is “Never tell a student they made a mistake”. I guess this is because it affects their confidence and self-esteem and therefore is anti-growth-mindset. (On the other hand, we have Jo Boaler telling us that students should be encouraged to make mistakes because it makes their brains grow.)

I have no problem telling a student they made a mistake, though I do it by saying “That’s not what I got. Anyone else get an answer?” When many students make a mistake I capitalize on this and say “OK, so far we have …. ” (I rattle off the various answers), and then many hands go up among those who want to be part of what is now perceived as…

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