Inquiry-Based Math

The power of math mindsets

In conjunction with the release of her new book Mathematical Mindsets, Jo Boaler and her Youcubed team at Stanford University have released an 8-minute video on how to learn math.

The video focuses on 4 key messages that preservice teachers should reflect upon while they prepare to teach mathematics.

  1. Everyone can learn math to high levels: every person can be a math person!
  2. Believe in yourself: your brain operates differently under a growth vs. fixed mindset (See Carol Dweck’s book Mindset)
  3. Struggle and mistakes are really important: they challenge your brain in a good way.
  4. Speed is not important: forget about being fast in math, and focus on deep understanding (Youcubed at Stanford, 2015).

These basic tenets highlight the notion that “math is a broad, creative, visual subject” (Youcubed at Stanford, 2015). It is not about rote memorization and quick recall. In contrast, math is about finding patterns in space and developing new ways of seeing things and connecting ideas.

I’m keen to check out the math tasks on the Youcubed website, and I will definitely be investing in Jo Boaler’s new book. One of my teaching goals will be to reduce the number of students who think, “I’m not a math person,” because every student has the capacity to succeed in learning math!

Youcubed at Stanford. (2015, Nov.2). Boosting Math [Video file]. Retrieved from

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