EDUC115N: How to Learn Math (Stanford Online Maths Education Course )

I will be attending this exciting online course by Stanford on Math Education. Do feel free to join it too, it is suitable for teachers and other helpers of math learners, such as parents.


EDUC115N: How to Learn Math 


About This Course

In July 2013 a new course will be available on Stanford’s free on-line platform. The course is a short intervention designed to change students’ relationships with math. I have taught this intervention successfully in the past (in classrooms); it caused students to re-engage successfully with math, taking a new approach to the subject and their learning.


1. Knocking down the myths about math.        Math is not about speed, memorization or learning lots of rules. There is no such  thing as “math people” and non-math people. Girls are equally capable of the highest achievement. This session will include interviews with students.

2. Math and Mindset.         Participants will be encouraged to develop a growth mindset, they will see evidence of  how mindset changes students’ learning trajectories, and learn how it can be  developed.

3. Mistakes, Challenges & Persistence.        What is math persistence? Why are mistakes so important? How is math linked to creativity? This session will focus on the importance of mistakes, struggles and persistence.

4. Teaching Math for a Growth Mindset.      This session will give strategies to teachers and parents for helping students develop a growth mindset and will include an interview with Carol Dweck.

5. Conceptual Learning. Part I. Number Sense.        Math is a conceptual subject– we will see evidence of the importance of conceptual thinking and participants will be given number problems that can be solved in many ways and represented visually.

6. Conceptual Learning. Part II. Connections, Representations, Questions.        In this session we will look at and solve math problems at many different  grade levels and see the difference in approaching them procedurally and conceptually. Interviews with successful users of math in different, interesting jobs (film maker, inventor of self-driving cars etc) will show the importance of conceptual math.

7. Appreciating Algebra.        Participants will learn some key research findings in the teaching and learning of algebra and learn about a case of algebra teaching.

8. Going From This Course to a New Mathematical Future.        This session will review the ideas of the course and think about the way towards a new mathematical future.

Make Britain Count: ‘Stop telling children maths isn’t for them’


“The title comes from the central argument of the book,” says Birmingham-raised
Boaler, “namely the idea that maths is a gift that some have and some don’t.
That’s the elephant in the classroom. And I want to banish it. I believe
passionately that everybody can be good at maths. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Studies of the brain show that all kids can do well at maths,
unless they have some specific learning difficulty.”

But what about those booming Asian economies, with their ready flow of mathematically able graduates? “There are a lot of misconceptions about the methods that are used in China, Japan and Korea,” replies Boaler. “Their way of teaching maths is much more conceptual than it is in England. If you look at the textbooks they use, they are tiny.”

Professor Boaler’s tips on how parents can help Make Britain Count.

1 Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games at home. Anything with a dice will help them enjoy maths and develop numeracy and logic skills.

2 Never tell children they are wrong when they are working on maths problems. There is always some logic to what they are doing. So if your child multiplies three by four and gets seven, try: “Oh I see what you are thinking, you are using what you know about addition to add three and four. When we multiply we have four groups of three…”

3 Maths is not about speed. In younger years, forcing kids to work fast on maths is the best way to start maths anxiety, especially among girls.

4 Don’t tell your children you were bad at maths at school. Or that you disliked it. This is especially important if you are a mother.

5 Encourage number sense. What separates high and low achievers in primary school is number sense.

6 Encourage a “growth mindset” – the idea that ability changes as you work more and learn more.