Published at Friday, 10 May 2019. math worksheet. By Fabienne Langlois.
Dr. Dweck has found that people who have what she calls a “fixed mindset” think that success is based on an innate ability, while people with a “growth mindset” think that success is based on hard work, which means that your abilities are malleable and can always be improved. People with a fixed mindset perceive failure as proof of their limits — obviously they can’t succeed at this. People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that their abilities can improve with hard work, and may interpret a failure as a sign that they should try harder next time. In 2007 a group of researchers including Dr. Dweck studied the math achievement of students with both fixed and growth mindsets at the start of junior high. They found that the students’ scores were comparable at the beginning of the study, but as their coursework became more difficult, the students with a growth mindset showed more persistence and got better grades.
“I think we have to teach kids from a very young age that it’s okay to make mistakes,” says Dr. Pagirsky. “It’s okay to be open to the experience of not knowing, it’s okay to not always have the answer. The best thing parents and educators can do is be there for those times when kids do struggle and reinforce that, hey, you’re working hard, you’re trying to do well, and I’m going to provide some help.”
Researchers have two ideas about how math anxiety might develop. One idea is that children who struggle with learning numbers when they are very young are more likely to develop math anxiety when they start going to school. This idea has not yet been tested in children. Another idea is that math anxiety develops in children who experience certain kinds of social situations that influence the child’s thoughts or feelings. This means that the child’s emotions, opinions, or behaviors are affected by things that other people say or do. One study that gives an example of this showed that teachers with high math anxiety were more likely to have students with poorer math achievement at the end of the school year . This study suggests that the way the teacher acted somehow affected the math ability of the students. Although researchers have not yet answered the question of what comes first, math ability or math anxiety, there have been many important discoveries that have given us hints about when and how math anxiety appears.
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