Day 16 (of 186) #IMMOOC Season 3 Episode 1 takeaways @gcouros @joboaler

Day 16 (of 186) #IMMOOC Season 3 Episode 1 takeaways

I admit that I love the work and thinking of @joboaler and her work on Mathematical Mindsets



I freely admit to having shared out this weeks #IMMOOC Season 3 Episode 1 prior to writing this blog because it has me rewatching and thinking about my thinking a LOT:



From Jo:


  1. math brain – there are no “math brains”
  2. to be good at math you have to be fast – fluency has nothing to do with being “good” – some of my best readings have made me slow down, so shouldn’t some of the best mathings also make good use of time?




Positive Messaging is important

Can’t just say “failure is good” need to model and celebrate it!

How many times teachers model failure: something doesn’t work (projector, video, computer) and teacher clearly says to all: I’m never doing that again.  Lesson learned: something doesn’t work right away, stop using/doing it.

Teachers need to authentically make mistakes in front of their learners to show how mistakes happen…are part of learning….are good (but not staying stuck with mistakes, but modelling the problem solving to get unstuck, and to fix mistakes along the way!) It’s not about “always having the right answer and having perfect lessons go perfectly”. Learning is a messy endeavour!




BIG Q: How do you change somebody’s mindset?

parallel modeling

inferential questioning (sharing what & how you’re thinking)



ON HOMEWORK: (which when there is personalization involved becomes “wanting to work at home” because then it is relevant and meaningful



# of math questions for homework – Jo would gladly get rid of homework esp math questions! A huge cause for inequity – many can’t (not won’t) do homework. Artificial economy of valuing right answer done independently (or with the help of Alexa or Siri) in isolation vs collaboratively working through strategies to be successful.



More homework is NOT “rigor” 



My current focus based on viewing and thinking about this: Not having students doing 20 questions, but having them do 1 question in up to 20 ways (strategy focused) For me, rigorous learning is when the emphasis is on Quality not Quantity of work!



Teachers helping kids believe in themselves….teachers learning with students to solve Big Questions!



Teachers helping teachers believe in themselves and not be reliant on the work of someone else (aka textbooks) – subplot: learning that “research” often means stealing information by looking over shoulders….in other words, working together as a community to enhance the learning of all!



Mathematical Mindsets change because when you learn something it changes how the brain is shaped – learning experiences changes are deeper than those formed with acquiring more information.



The big reminder: Our learners are going to be working to solve questions that we haven’t considered yet.




Why is Innovation of Education important? 

Jo: schooling and curriculum first designed in 1800s for the world of the time; we need to move away from training students skills they don’t need, and instead focus on what we need people to do eg. calculators solve equations very quickly, but can’t think adaptively and consider why the equation is being used



My connection: parents have complained that math being taught different today is wrong because they way “we” learned it back in the day was ‘great’.  I usually then ask: so you loved your math classes?  Almost everyone: No, I hate/can’t do math.  <— this is why we are focusing on changing math mindsets!



Jo has also experienced what many innovative educators have: bullying by traditionalists.  <— the more like minded educators have been able to connect and interact with each other, the more we are able to see that there are some great discoveries being made and shared about learning – and this is good….creating Powerful Learning Networks!



Pushback is to be expected (especially in education) since there is over a century of work being done to enhance and preserve an institution that was initially designed to provide a common set of skills to uncommon people – now we get to enhance uncommon skills by unique people and do good things to differentiate and be inclusive to ensure everyone can be successful learning!



** I love that George shared a common occurrence: no PE until you’ve finished math <— making this subject a punishment (some choose reading, some writing, etc) But can’t make the learning process a punishment-based activity! **


A good final question about Grading in Math – not effective in education – as it usually impacts authentic learning in a negative way rather than “inspire” work… It identifies ‘who they are’ (I’m an A B D student) <– my own first forays into what has emerged as Descriptive Feedback Loops started in numeracy – some early ‘tests’ I made evolved into a variety of questions at different “skill” levels with feedback provided on how to move from ‘easy’ to ‘more complex’ work <– I saw the focus shift to learning needed skills rather than comparing the number of checkmarks, so I did more (and did less “tests” over time as I focused more on formative rather than summative assessments!)



Amazing start to the #IMMOOC series this year! Looking forward to where my thinking is going to be pushed next (Sept 28th!)

About technolandy

Principaling on the Pacific in Powell River BC Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback to personalize learning!
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