Mathematical mindsets

The difference between successful and unsuccessful students is LESS about the CONTENT they learn and MORE about their MINDSETS.

– Jo Boaler

Hello and welcome to our blog! This is Aleks. George and I will alternate writing the posts and for this week you are stuck with me and I would like to start with mathematical mindsets and with good reason. Most things in teaching will tie back to mindset. This is because no matter how amazing our curriculum is, how deep our content knowledge us, and how talented of educators we are, if students do not have a growth mindset and a positive disposition towards mathematics then all our efforts will be met with boredom, despair, and frustration.

The way I see it, we are not able to be effective teachers if we

  1. Do not know how our students feel about mathematics and/or
  2. Have students who do not think they are “math people” (no such thing, by the way)

Here are three things to help you begin incorporating mathematical mindsets into your practice.  

  1. Learn everything you can about growth mindset from Jo Boaler and others and implement it, teach it, and practice it. Start here with resources from youcubed®.
  2. Take the Mathematical Mindsets Survey and have your students take it. Yes, first we learn about it, then we take the survey, because how else will we know how to shift our students’ mindsets once we see the results? I recommend labeling the first survey “Pre” and giving the survey again, at a later date, to reflect, alone and with your students, on what you have done thus far. More about that later!
  3. Once you see where you and your students stand (as of right now), use the resources from youcubed® to give your students access to high quality tasks, and join a group of like-minded educators working hard to make sure their students have a growth mindset – youcubed® Facebook Group.

Do you already know about mathematical mindsets? Which resources do you use with your students? Share them in the comments below!

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5 thoughts on “Mathematical mindsets

  1. Last year I had the privilege to hear Dr. Jo Boaler speak and it has changed the way I teach students every day. I have incorporated Jo Boaler’s TED talk into my tutoring curriculum. She is an inspiration to math students, especially to young women encouraging them to pursue STEM fields of study. Another research/author that Dr. Boaler works with is Dr. Carol Dweck who parallels her research at Stanford. Dr. Dweck researches Mindsets from a psychological trait. Her books are inspirational also for educators. Thank you for starting this conversation that should be introduced to all children at every age.


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