Even though the appearance of a rainbow gives away the location of the pot of the gold, you have to catch the leprechaun first in order to find it. Since leprechauns have the magical ability to disappear, it is next to impossible to actually find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Becoming a successful math student might feel like catching a Leprechaun!
Math students might seem like that sometimes….it’s next to impossible to succeed because you don’t have the ‘math gene’. “I’m just not good at math.” “I’m not a math person.” “I’ll never get this.” “My brother is good at math but I am not.'” “My mom / dad wasn’t good at math so I won’t be good at it either.” Unfortunately, as math educators, these phrases are all too familiar to us. Kids go through school and life being bombarded with messages that imply some people are good at math and some people aren’t. For some, math
But what if it doesn’t “click” right away? Well, you might as well give up. You’re just not a math person. The problem with these messages, whether stated or implied, is that they’re false. This “cultural baggage” towards math is not based on truth about how our brains are wired. It’s based on adults’ years of misunderstanding math and passing these negative attitudes and beliefs onto children.
Let’s give the kids some tools to help them ‘Catch A Leprechaun’!
1) Teach Kids About the Brain’s Ability to Grow: brains can and will grow and change as they continue to explore math. Grit, perseverance and practice allow brains to adapt and flourish!
2) Model and Praise Mistakes as Opportunities for Growth: Because math is often taught as a fixed subject with one goal – get the right answer – kids are often afraid to make mistakes because it feels like a failure. The only thought is to find that one correct solution, and when they don’t, they shut down and quit. But math is about so much more than getting the right answer. It’s about exploring big ideas, making connections and learning to be creative problem-solvers.
3) Be Mindful of Your Own Math Attitude: Kids are watching,listening and learning from our example (whether we’re aware of it or not) and even subtle fixed mind-set messages will come across to kids.
Help instill math confidence in kids by providing the mathematical methods for their toolbox so that
‘Catching a Leprechaun’ doesn’t seem impossible!
Becoming a successful math student might feel like catching a Leprechaun! We have a variety of toolboxes to fit the needs of every student. What tools does your child need? Visit us at www.calculatingminds.org to learn more!
Here are some additional tips for instilling math confidence: https://math-learning-center.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=7769&action=edit