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Math Mindset includes learners' self-concept and self-efficacy beliefs as well as their mindset toward failure that shape their willingness to get involved with mathematics. The beliefs that students have about themselves as a math person and their ability to do math often have a cyclical relationship with achievement (e.g., previous academic achievement fosters particular beliefs which in turn predict future achievement). Student attitudes and beliefs can be shaped by their Math Learning Environment and experiences with mathematics.
Math Mindset includes students' beliefs about their own ability and about the meaning of struggle and effort with regard to mathematics.
Children with better Math Mindsets are more likely to persist, for example, re-working challenging problems and discarding incorrect strategies. These positive attitudes toward figuring math out are beneficial for learning and making connections across concepts. However, beliefs about the self and math are not always based in truth: girls' performance in math is similar to boys, yet they often express lower confidence and more negative attitudes around math compared to boys. This "confidence gap" emerges during middle school. Because students are actively interpreting educational events in their lives (e.g., a challenging math activity, a low grade in math class, a comment by a parent), it is important for teachers and parents to help students understand what leads people to become efficacious in mathematics.
Providing math tasks with high cognitive demand conveys high expectations for all students by challenging them to engage in higher-order thinking.
Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes.
Teachers can help students understand that learning involves effort, mistakes, and reflection by teaching them about their malleable brain and modeling their own learning process.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
Providing feedback that focuses on the process of developing skills conveys the importance of effort and motivates students to persist when learning.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
Children's literature can be a welcoming way to help students learn math vocabulary and concepts.
When students give themselves positive self-statements after reaching a goal, they acknowledge their progress and reward their small successes.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Untimed tests provide students the opportunity to flexibly and productively work with numbers, further developing their problem-solving abilities.
Analyzing and discussing solved problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of abstract mathematical processes.
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